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Teaching kids about mistakes

As adults we tend to get upset when we make mistakes. I have heard clients, friends and family be really hard on themselves when they make a mistake. What we don’t realize as parents is that our kids hear what we say and watch our non verbal behaviors and every time we get upset at ourselves for making a mistake we are teaching our kids that it’s not ok to make a mistake which is not the truth. We should teach our kids and ourselves that mistakes are good, they are actually teachable moments. We learn so much from our mistakes. Our mistakes lead us to our best path.  It’s time that we change our perspective on mistakes and admit we make them, admit it’s ok and then move forward with a smile and all the knowledge we just learned.

Here are some tips on teaching our kids about mistakes

  1. Teach your kids that we all make mistakes. Yes, everyone makes mistakes including mommy and daddy. Mistakes are a part of life. Give some examples of mistakes you have made. Tell your kids what you have learned from your own mistakes. If you have benefited from a mistake let your kids know.

  2. Teach your kids that its’ good to make mistakes.

  3. Teach your kids about persistence. Teach your kids when they make mistakes but keep trying that they are winners. Hard work is all about the effort.

  4. Teach your kids to make their own definition of success. Don’t let the media portray that success is all about money, fame and beauty. Kids need to know there is much more to success and that we all define success differently. Let your kids know money doesn’t equal happiness.

  5. Teach your kids the reward of the Journey. Accomplishment is not about winning or losing, it’s about persistence and the journey to get there. Teach your kids all the good that comes out of mistakes. I met some great friends out of my biggest mistakes. I learned how strong I was each and every time I made a mistake. I learned to laugh at myself. I could go on and one but you get the point.

  6. My mistakes have directed me into my true path. I made lots of career mistakes but they all lead me to where I should be and where I’ am now, this is an important lesson to teach your older kids. As a college professor, you see a lot of kids get so hard on themselves for going to the wrong college, going for the wrong major, etc. It’s ok; you learn from it and end up in the right direction it’s all about the big picture.

  7. Mistakes don’t define who you are.

  8. Talk about mistakes and not giving up at family time. Discuss the topic at dinner. Make sure your child knows that you believe that you try and try again till you succeed. Mistakes do not equal quitting.

  9. Young kids (up to puberty) want your acceptance and approval. If you tell your kids it’s ok to make a mistake and make light of it, they will feel better about mistakes. Don’t pressure your child about making mistakes. Kids feel stress.

  10.  Follow your own advice and really accept that it’s ok to make mistakes. Remember, kids are visual learners. The best way to let them know mistakes are ok is to show them through your own actions.

  11. Explain to your kids there is no such thing as perfection and trying to reach it is an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for failure.

  12.  Teach your kids to be resilient. Teach them to laugh at their mistakes, to write down what they learned from their mistakes, discuss ways they can correct their mistake.

For more information please visit Diane’s website at: or e-mail Diane at

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