Parenting mistakes come in all shapes and sizes. There are the low impact mistakes, like running late to collect your kid and forgetting to buy the paper they need for their project and then there are the other types of stuff up. The time when you can’t stop thinking about your actions, wish you hadn’t said the things you said to your child. The critical mistakes like saying something mean, yelling at your kids or reacting in a way that you wish you hadn’t.
Mistakes are either intentional or accidental, and sometimes they even occur and as you are making them, you cannot stop yourself – the ultimate question is how do you fix this?
Get over yourself – you too are human
My number 1 message to you here is – you too are human! – Yes, you’ve stuffed up, you are undoubtedly going over what you did wrong, and you probably feel really bad. Well that is normal, but how you resolve the problem is where you, as the parent, hold your greatest power of positive influence over your child.
Honestly though, everyone makes mistakes even those who pretend that they are perfect because in my opinion, there is no such thing. Luckily your human imperfection, can teach your child some incredible life lessons.
5 key steps to make the most out of your mistake
1. Show your child that perfection does not exist and you too are human
We are so quick to accept faults in others, but often refuse to accept them in ourselves. Brene’ Brown shares that by allowing yourself to be vulnerable and show your imperfection to the world, you can move away from trying to live up to your impossible goal of perfection. In this way, you grow and make room to stop telling yourself that things did not go “perfectly” because you are not perfect.
When you show you are vulnerable, you can give up pretending to be someone else, and live your life as your true self. The real you letting others see you, “warts and all” as they say. You show your child that they do not need to be perfect either – an empowering realisation.
2. Forgive yourself & show your child how to do the same.
Show your children that you are compassionate to yourself, not only to them and they will follow your lead accepting that they too can get it wrong. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend.
Your children watch and observe your every move. They learn from what you do. If you are not kind to yourself, they will not be kind to themselves – your parenting power is in your actions.
3. Demonstrate that it is good to reflect on your actions
Recognise that there might be an underlying reason for what you have done. Reflect on your current status. Are you under too much pressure, is something worrying you? Do you believe that your child’s actions are targeted at you?
If it is an isolated incident, you will be able to move on, however if it recurs, your relationship will be best served and enhanced by spending some time and effort understanding the underlying cause, and taking action to resolve it.
Showing your child that you deal with things as they occur, teaches them to do the same and when you work through a problem with them, I believe, they will see you as supportive. Resilient people know that they have the ability to resolve things, so when you do this, you show children that they have the power to resolve things too.
4. Don’t pretend it never happened, take action and fix it.
Doing the wrong thing happens; it is what you chose to do next that counts. If there is an underlying problem, deal with it, do not pretend it never happened. If the problem is recurring, get help. Identify what you can do so that it does not recur. Talk it through so you’re your child knows you feel bad and that you are doing what needs to be done so that it does not happened again. Discuss it with your child and identify a plan to avoid it happening again. And if it does, find a better plan.
5. Say sorry
Apologise for what you did wrong, and do it without the word but. Add the words from now on I will do what you have agreed upon. Do what needs to be done, so that it does not happen again. Show them how you can be better than you were yesterday and they will strive to be their best selves too.
When you teach your children you are vulnerable and that this is okay, they learn the world is a friendly place filled with human beings who do make mistakes, recognise their mistakes and then change their ways to do better next time around.
My question for you: What do you do when you make a parenting mistake? Does it paralyse you or empower you to do better?