Pessimistic kids often give up at the first sign of difficulty, never recognizing that mistakes are a fact of life and a big part of how we learn. Of course, one of the quickest ways kids will learn to erase thinking that mistakes are fatal is feeling our accepting response to their errors, so make sure you do. Here are a few more ways to help your kids keep a more optimistic outlook about setbacks:
• Stress that it's okay to make mistakes. The first step in helping kids realize errors don't have to fatal is to simply say: "It's okay to make a mistake." Make sure you do.
• Admit your mistakes. Obviously, we make mistakes, but too often we keep them to ourselves. So admit your own errors to your kids: it helps them recognize that mistake making happens to everyone. When you make a mistake, tell your child not only your error, but also what you learned from it because you will be sending a more optimistic message: "I was late for work because I couldn't find my keys. I learned to put my keys in the same place every time so I can find them."
• Call it by another name. A common trait of optimistic kids is that they often call mistakes by other names: glitch, bug, a setback. Renaming helps curb any pessimistic, discouraging thoughts in the middle of their learning. Help your child come up with a word to say inside his head whenever he encounters a mistake. Any word will do—-just make sure to help him practice saying it over and over so he'll remember to use it when he has a setback.
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