Children make mistakes; all the time! They fall down, they spill things over, they forget chores, they mess up at school and so on. And they are always expected to apologize. Because we want them to learn to say sorry. While that’s not incorrect, it’s incomplete! The only way to ensure children learn to accept mistakes and realize it’s not the end of the world, is to apologize when you are at fault too.
Psychologists have observed that children absorb, absorb, absorb and then reproduce all of it. Unfortunately, one can’t tell when the reproduction happens, and when it does it might be too late to reverse the learning. Children are observant of every little thing they see and are watching all our actions. And without our knowledge they are picking up nuances from our behaviours.
When children make mistakes, they feel embarrassed, guilty and scared. Hence, when they see adults make mistakes and accept them, it reduces the fear of a mistake. They start to see that mistakes are common, and could be made by anyone; adults too. Apologizing for a mistake and moving on gives them the courage to do the same.
At times, parents are worried that if a child makes a mistake and is subjected to name-calling by other people, it could damage the self-confidence of a child. It could, but temporarily! Because how you deal with it at home could decide whether the child can gain his/her confidence back.
The more attention you give to such details, the more aware you will be of your child’s feelings. However, it’s important to simplify things for your child so he/she doesn’t believe that every mistake is a disaster! While they shouldn’t be ignoring mistakes and moving on like nothing happened, they shouldn’t also be collapsing after having made a mistake. Picking them up, moving ahead and regaining confidence – an essential process for a child to grow into a strong adult.
So, if we behave as strong adults and showcase sensible behaviour, we are helping in building a strong, confident generation.
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