An important Back to School conversation for parents and children

oops! One of the biggest challenges for parents is to be able to tolerate their children’s mistakes and failures, giving them the necessary space to fail. Avoiding experiences in which you might make a mistake may be the biggest mistake of all. The ideal to strive for is not to avoid making mistakes, but to be able to admit them, smart enough to learn from them and strong enough to correct them.

“To shelter children every step of the way is to raise “failure deprived” college students and entitled and anxious 20-somethings who can’t function in a world that’s sometimes cold of cruel or indifferent, “says Megan McArdle. Talking with children about failure,sharing your ideas and feelings aboutmmistakes can be helpful for all.

A book to jump start a family conversation about failure and mistakes is Mistakes that Worked by Charlotte Jones. The books tells how ordinary objects, from an ice cream cone, the zipper, seeing eye dogs, ivory soap, & the post-it-note came to be from failures. Mark Twain’s introductory quote, “Name the greatest of all the inventors. Accident.” says it all.

The books begs the questions—
~ Can you go through life and never make mistakes?

~ Do you think it is possible to be perfect? 

~ Is perfection boring? Is there risk, fun, and adventure in perfection? 

~ How do you feel when you make a mistake—embarrassed, foolish, stupid?

~ Do you try to deny or defend your mistakes? 

~ Does the fear of making mistakes make you less wiling to try new things or take risks?

Additional books on failure for parents—
Gift of Failure, Jessica Lahey, How to Raise an Adult Julie Lythcott-Haims & The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success” Megan McArdle


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