I’m sure all of us would love to leave our children a farm and squillions of dollars when we croak. The reality is not many of us will be able to do that. But we can all leave them with an awesome attitude that will help them become successful in every aspect of their life – relationships, mental health, finances – perhaps enough success to get their own squillion-dollar farm!
Part of this success attitude comes from how we respond to their mistakes when they are little. If your kid drops a juice jug and spills a mess all over the floor, you could yell at them and tell them they are stupid. From this, they will learn that mistakes should make you feel bad, and if no one else yells at you, you should yell at yourself.
Alternatively, you could, “That’s all right, honey. I’ve got more juice in the cupboard and I’ll get you some as soon as I’ve cleaned up this mess for you.” This response will teach them that if they make mistake in life, someone – probably mum or dad – will always rescue them and bail them out.
Instead, you could look at the spilt juice and say, “Oh, honey. You’ve got a problem,“ giving them ownership of the mess, “But you’re a clever kid, and I know you can sort this. Here’s a sponge – you have a crack at cleaning it up and I’ll come back and see how you are getting on.” You’ve not been angry. You’ve let them know you believe they can fix their mistake and have also given them tools to solve it. They probably won’t do a good enough job of it – it’ll still be sticky – but that’s not the point. The point is that they will learn.
You can adapt this way of thinking as your kids as they get older. For example if they are short of money, you could get angry with them for making poor financial mistakes or not saving, give them money or help them make a plan to rectify the situation.
They will learn most mistakes aren’t lethal. “I own up, and then I fix it.”
What an awesome attitude – a real attitude for success!
By John Cowan, The Parenting Place
Improving and equipping families to thrive.
Read more from John and The Parenting place here.