Developing Good Judgment from Failures
When Failure Leads To Success. How parents can teach children to learn from mistakes.
What You Need To Know
‘Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgement.’ Making mistakes is part of life, for both adults and children. But whereas adults learn that most mistakes can be corrected, first graders can feel like a spilled soda is the end of the world. It’s really important that parents encourage their child to adopt a positive view of mistakes – children who are willing to fail will take risks and learn. Children who react to mistakes by withdrawing, may develop more slowly.
How You Can Help
- Never mock. Making fun of children’s failures will humiliate them and perhaps stop them trying again. Yes, first grader Mike’s bike crash might make America’s Funniest Home Videos. But is it worth it when Mike gives up learning to ride?
- Make mistakes learning opportunities. Which of these would a child learn from? “Don’t grab the pepper, Abigail.” Or, “Abigail, when you want the pepper, wait for your brother to finish with it. Then ask him to pass it.” Choose your words carefully to encourage learning, rather than punishing or highlighting errors.
- Distinguish between failing and being a failure. Consider these two reactions to a cooking collapse. “Looks like your raisin cake failed to rise, Liz. Don’t worry, we’ll try to beat the eggs more next time.” “Look at this cake, Liz. It’s ruined, now what will we eat for dessert? Can’t you do anything right?”
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