Practice Makes Better…Not Perfect

by Melanie Edwards on October 13, 2012 · 6 comments

in Baby Boy, Parenting

Practice Makes Better...not Perfect

Practice makes perfect.

We all know the saying. We heard it growing up and we’ve probably said it to our own children. The intention is good: don’t give up and keep practicing, you’ll eventually get it or be better. But, are we inadvertently sending our kids a message that perfection is desired?

My baby girl has recently been having a hard time coming to terms with mistakes she makes. She wants so badly to do things the right way (on the first try ideally) that she gets frustrated if a mistake is made or she doesn’t quite get it on that first try. We’re working on it and she’s slowly, but surely coming to terms with the fact that no one is perfect or born knowing everything.

It’s hard teaching a child to not be perfect. It’s hard explaining that it really is ok to make mistakes and that it can even be a good thing at times. We’ve talked and talked about how many mistakes her father and I have made in the past. We’ve shown her examples in history of mistakes leading to greater things and inventions. We even model and point out when we currently make mistakes and show her what we do to try to fix them. Yet, she still holds on to a bit of the idea that she would like for it to be perfect. Sometimes, it seems it even stops her from trying, for fear of “failing” in her mind.

I suppose when you’re six years old, it’s difficult to balance the desire to do your best and simultaneously accept the fact that your best may not be perfect. It’s a process, learning not to be perfect. A process that requires us to put our own flaws out on display in order to show her that even those she looks to for answers are nowhere near perfect.

These days, instead of saying, “practice makes perfect,” we say, “practice makes better.” It’s our new mantra.

How do you help your kids overcome the fear of failure and accept that mistakes are ok, or even good?

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1 Philippa Lorne Channer October 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

Thanks for sharing. I can already see my son at just 3 has a very hard time when he can’t do something ‘perfect’. We have to really coach him down and let him know his attempts are all learning.

2 Liz Thompson October 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Learning from our mistakes is a life-long process, it’s never too late IMHO. I love your new mantra 🙂

3 Dayana October 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Great message! We have a competitive society which places pressure on our kids. I am printing this and sharing as more moms should also commit to ensuring their kids embrace and learn from their mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of the growing process, striving for perfection is not.

4 Courtney Schmidt November 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

It’s so true- we all do make mistakes. I love that you share yours with her so that she can really embrace the freedom of making a mistake and then trying again the next time.

5 mochadad January 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I will have to start use this phrase. When my daughter is neglecting her music practice, I always say “Practice makes perfect.” Saying practice makes better might be more encouraging for her.

6 Melanie Edwards February 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I hope it works out better for you and her! Sometimes we don’t realize that what we say has a hidden meaning for our kids.

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