“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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