What is your usual reaction when your child makes a mistake?

Do you respond by showing disappointment, or shaming, or blaming or yelling?

If you do, has this helped your child learn from the mistake?

As adults, we understand the importance of learning from our mistakes, but we don’t seem to understand that children need to learn from their mistakes too without feeling bad about it.

When we pass on negative messages about mistakes to our children, we don’t mean to; we usually mean well.  We are usually trying to motivate our children to do better for their own good.

The problem here is we actually haven’t taken time to think about the long-term impact of the methods we use and how the decisions our children make stay with them for the rest of their lives.

A lot of us are parenting from a place of fear. We are scared that we aren’t doing a good job if we don’t get our children to behave in a certain way. Some of us are more concerned about what our neighbors think than about what our children are learning.  Others are afraid that children will never learn to do better and will become bad children if they don’t humiliate them, make them scared, blame or shame them and cause them pain through punishment.

Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn and learning from mistakes is an integral part of our children’s development.

When you take time to teach, you should let your child know that mistakes happen, and he should pay attention to them to know what to avoid when doing the task again.

Parents often use negative reaction as motivation when children make mistakes, but negativity causes self-doubt. Encouragement works better.

Teach children to be excited about mistakes and to see them as wonderful opportunities to learn because that’s what they are. Mistakes should inspire improvement and not create a sense of doom or failure in our children’s heart.

Sometimes children make mistakes from bad choices. When this happens, it is important to let them learn the consequences (whether natural or logical) of their actions.


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Here are some ways to help our children learn from their mistakes:

  • Acknowledge that you don’t expect them to be perfect.
  • Let them know the mistake does not define them. Don’t encourage a child to say negative things about themselves like “I am clumsy and unorganized, I don’t know maths”.
  • When a child makes a mistake, ask curiosity questions like “what happened”, “how did it happen” and “what he has learned from it” and so on.
  • Don’t rescue kids from their mistakes. Instead, focus on the solution.
  • Admit that you make mistakes too. Provide examples of your own mistakes, the consequences, what you learned from them and how they have impacted you.
  • Encourage children to take responsibility for their mistakes and not blame others.
  • Avoid pointing out your child’s past mistakes. Instead, focus on the one at hand.
  • Praise children for their efforts and courage to overcome setbacks.
  • Mentor your child on how to apologize when their mistakes have hurt others.

It is important to encourage children when mistakes happen because they can find it embarrassing. Learning from mistakes and failures isn’t easy.

Remember to connect before correcting; when you have connected with your child, they will trust you enough to open up to you. All children need encouragement to learn and succeed.

I hope you have learnt something. If yes, would you like to join me on the Parenting for Jannah Academy? You should join the Waitlist HERE to be notified when next we are open.