Children are going to make mistakes — a lot of them. That is what will teach them to be mature and become responsible young adults. Making mistakes, seeing the right from wrong, learning and moving on.
Getting their math problems wrong, making spelling mistakes in their English comprehension, being so careless as to miss an entire side of questions in their exam paper, losing their swimming kit, breaking their glasses and sometimes even their bones. It’s all a part of growing up.
Given that these days people have fewer kids, they tend to journal and literally photograph every hurdle and every win of their child.
Recently while coaching a young girl who had a string of bad experiences at school with peers and had formed an extremely negative view of the world so much so that her parents had after changing three schools were homeschooling her. During the coaching sessions she recalled every tiny detail of teasing or mean thing that had been said to her. She was not only replaying everything ever said to her but also feeling more and more disheartened with her life. She had lost the spark of a teenager under the weight of all her negative experiences and challenges.
As part of the coaching programme I had a session with her parents on how to support her while she was building self-confidence and positivity. They said that as parents they praised her and pointed out all the things she was doing well. But when I started to go deeper into coaching them half way through the session the father raised his hand in exasperation and said, “Her negativity is so much that it defeats our positivity.”
If parents who are their child’s first worldview hold such negative views about their own child, then it is near impossible for the child to overcome their mistakes and move on.
I coach children to acknowledge their mistakes, apologise, learn and then let go of those mistakes. However, if as parents you do not allow the child to let go by calling forth those mistakes every time she makes a new mistake (just like you and me) you are digging a deeper chasm for your child to fall into, one that she might never get out of.
Parents tend to take their child’s mistakes personally, either that the child is trying to get back at them or that they have failed in their parenting. It is an opportunity for you to take responsibility and modify what can be done, but you need to let go of everything else. No journaling no photographs. Your mind need not recall the words or the pictures of the event in the past so that no words slip out to remind your child.
Starting the new year, as parents, allow your child to learn and let go of his past mistakes but also remember to work on yourself by letting go of your child’s mistakes. Hold that vision of your child how you would want him to be. Speak to him from a place of encouragement holding a vision of him that he would want to strive towards.
This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to www.athenalifecoaching.com or call 056-1399033.