There's this point where most children mistakenly draw on their hands with permanent marker, break an object or knock a glass of milk over and immediately blame someone else. We do this as adults, too. Something goes wrong and we blame it on technology, traffic, a cold, anything, but us. Why do we do this? Somewhere along the way, our society said it was wrong to make mistakes. We were expected to be perfect and that's a whole lot of pressure on all of us!
So how do we change that? What if rather than saying, "What were you thinking?", we all said, "It's ok, it happens, what can we learn from this?"
Most of the time, this is what is said in our house. Sometimes it's said right away, sometimes it takes longer to get our emotions as parents back on track to get to that point. Either way, we are working hard not to let mistakes become the worst thing in the world. We are doing this, in part, because everyone makes them. We're also doing this because they are the best learning tools there are!
This week, I'd like to propose that we all do a little learning from our mistakes! If you mistakenly send an email to someone you weren't supposed to, don't get too hard on yourself. Ask yourself why it happened and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.
If your child gets most of the answers on his homework wrong, don't get too hard on him. Go through it and figure out how to get to the right answers. When he's less frustrated, ask him what may have happened and how to prevent it from happening again.
If you yell at your children for arguing with each other -- again -- and feel guilty later. Don't come down so hard on yourself. It happens. Take a minute to figure out what triggered it and work to prevent it or to create a calming technique to keep yourself from getting too angry the next time they're arguing.
On a bigger scale, I believe life gives us the same lessons in life until we learn them. Think about the big life lessons you've had. Mine have come in the way of budgeting and money as well as relationships. Some lessons were learned the hard way, meaning, I was forced to ask myself what went wrong and put some things in place to prevent it. I didn't have the luxury of asking myself until I had made the mistake so many times, life forced me into it. What have your major life lessons been? What did you learn from them?
This week, what lessons will your children learn. I saw a fantastic idea on Pinterest (of course) that said a great topic of conversation at the dinner table is to ask everyone what mistakes they made that day and what they learned from them. What a brilliant way to make mistakes less of a bad thing!!
If you aren't sure of the lesson in your mistakes, schedule a session with me and we'll work to prevent them from happening again! Share your lessons with me here.
Karen Becker is an author, speaker and family coach. She has a Master's Degree in Counseling and applies these skills when coaching clients. She has years of experience coaching clients in all areas of life: parenting, co-parenting after divorce and in personal growth/wellness. She can be reached at email@example.com.