Mistakes are part and parcel of life and it is sometimes unavoidable. We are not raising ‘Perfect Kids’, we are here to empower them with essential life skills to support them in bouncing back when faced with a negative situation- Help them live their best life! STOP nagging, constantly pointing out mistakes and bringing up past mistakes.
My oldest has entered a phase where he messes up and gets frustrated with himself, to the point he sulks in a corner for an extended period. How do we use good judgment in a situation and help our kids get past these situations? Here are a few tips I have learned with time and experience. Now, these tips work best with kids who are 5 years and above. For my youngest it’s "TIME OUT", i am still figuring that one out (LOL!!).
An Example from my 7 year old boy’s experience : “MOM, I suck at football, I was annoyed and i kicked the temporary goal post down when i was playing with friends”
1. Get the facts out. “Can you describe to me what happened and what led to you feeling this way? “My friends laughed when I could not pass and kick with the right techniques, it made me angry, Now they will not want to play with me ever” (my boy’s response)
It is important that we teach them the difference betweenfacts and feelings. So my response is :
You suck at football is your perception and feeling. I’ve seen you play and i think you are fabulous. You may want to get further coaching to get better at it and we can discuss and look into that ( he is going through a feeling of shame and anger at this point and i am trying to get to the root of that).
Did your friends mention to you that they will never play with you? “NO” (My sons response) . “Then again it’s your perception, hence you feel that way about them. Shake it off and on the weekend you can go back to play with them”. (mom’s response)
Address these feelings and perception withAffirmation/positive reinforcement and see how best you can help the child get better at a skill.
2. Address the mistake and help them identify a wrong behavior. Kicking the goal post down was a reaction to that feeling of anger and do you think that was the right thing to do ? “NO” (my son’s response). “Ok that is an unacceptable behavior! great you recognize that so in the future you will be mindful not to be destructive”. (mom’s response)
3. Address the feeling. Can you describe to me what exactly is the feeling that was going through you when you destroyed the goal post? and what is going on now? Does it hurt in your tummy or you feel sick, you feel like punching… What are you going to do about these feelings in the future? Hear them out.
Allow them to come up with a plan or guide them with options. My options : You should apologize for kicking the goal post down.It would be a great idea to talk to your friends and let them know that you feelings are hurt when they laugh at you . You may want dad and mom to have a word with them.
4. Address consequences. There are always consequences for bad attitude and behaviors. Discuss with kids what are the consequences to expect the next time around the mistake is repeated.
5.Teach them a life lesson and reassure them. Teach them how to manage emotions. Let them know, the next time you go through these emotions walk away, think through it and have a talk with your friends and family about your feelings. Let kids know there is always a learning to take away from every mistake. Discuss the learning from this present mistake.
Love unconditionally!!! Never withhold love from your child just because he/she makes mistakes. Remember we all do and we all deserve to be loved no matter what!
How do parents manage emotions of their kids after they have messed up? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment on the box below. Looking forward to learning from you.