Making Mistakes is a Parenting Strategy

 

Should you admit your mistakes to your kids? It’s the age-old parenting question!

Elaine:
So, a lot of times we have families that struggle with making it okay to make mistakes. Right? They create this environment, maybe it's perfectionism, maybe it's anxiety, maybe it could be a lot of different things. It's, "This is what I should be doing as a parent." There are a lot of things that can motivate it.

I was just talking to a parent in a group coaching call the other day who was really struggling with some issues with a kid, and it became really clear when the kid said to her, "Well, you're perfect. What does it matter to you?" Actually it wasn't a group call, it was an office hours call. And the mom's like, "I'm not perfect." But there was something this mom was doing that created an environment-

Diane:
Where the kid felt like they needed to be perfect.

Elaine:
That anything other than perfect wasn't okay.

Diane:
Part of that is being really transparent. A lot of times our kids don't see our mistakes because we don't want to admit them to ourselves, so we don't even say anything about it. Mistakes are a normal part of life. Sorry, they are. Your relationship with mistakes, for yourself, is going to directly reflect your kids' ability to learn from their own mistakes.

Elaine:
Right. So really, really taking the time to think about how you're handling mistakes. In coaching we tend to call it failing forward. What worked, what didn't work, what do you want to do differently, is a great strategy around it. The magic three questions. But to really look in terms of creating an environment that allows for mistakes to be a normal part of life without making kids wrong for it. And that's the key, is to be able to make a mistake without being wrong.

Diane:
It's okay to be human.

Elaine:
It's okay to be human. In fact, I like to call it: permission to be human, granted.

Not only is it okay to admit your mistakes to your kids -- it’s actually a really helpful idea to humanize yourself in their eyes.

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