Do you have a kid who is afraid of mistakes or wants to be perfect all the time?

It can be hard when you have a kid who doesn’t want to try for fear of failure or who gets upset when something doesn’t go to plan.

No need to worry though, there are things we can do to help and teach our kids that mistakes are opportunities to learn.

Acknowledge your mistakes and misbehaviors.

If you forget to do something, screw up a recipe, or spell something wrong. Admit the mistake loudly and proudly to show that nobody is perfect and it is okay to fail. “I forgot to put baking powder in the cake. That’s so frustrating. I’ll be sure to remember next time. Today we’ll be having a slice, not a cake.”

Tell stories.

Talk about times you made a mistake or misbehaved or how something didn’t go as perfectly as you planned. Did you forget to hand up a piece of homework? Miss a meeting?

Validate their feelings around the mistake.

It’s perfectly normal to feel frustrated or upset when something goes wrong and it is important that we don’t dismiss those feelings.

Help them come up with solutions.

You can ask curiosity questions to explore the consequences of their mistakes and possible solutions and how to be more resilient in the future. What can you do to fix this mistake? What can they do when they feel scared they’ll make a mistake? How can they have the confidence to leap even if they don’t know that they’ll land solidly?

Embrace mistakes as opportunities to learn in your family.

Sometimes at dinner or during family meetings encourage each family member to talk about times you made a mistake and what you learned from it.

Mistakes are a part of life, none of us are perfect, but sometimes we feel like we should be. This can be especially tough for kids who are used to excelling at many things.  This is because the moment they find something that doesn’t come easily fear can set in. If this sounds like your kid, there are still things you can do:

  • Get them laughing. This helps reduce the feeling of stress rising in them.
  • Validate their feelings as mentioned above and then talk about how everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and it’s okay.
  • Teach them about having a growth mindset – our minds are always growing and changing, learning new things. We can learn from our mistakes and improve in areas we struggle. Our intelligence and capacity in different areas are not fixed.

Mistakes are both wonderful and discouraging at the same time. We hope this helps you teach your child to embrace the messiness of mistakes and imperfection. If you still need more help with your child, please reach out and schedule a 1:1 consultation with us. We’d love to help.

child behavior coach
Building resilience in kids