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Are You Letting Your Son Learn From His Mistake?

Here’s a story that shows how boys either learn from their mistakes or from our responses to their mistakes. Which do you think is better?


Johnny (not his name) threw his controller and broke it after he lost a video game. His mom yelled at him, shaming him for his behavior. It’s obviously upsetting that he can’t manage his anger or respect his (expensive) belongings.


She said things like:

“Why would you do that?”

“What’s wrong with you?”

”Are you crazy?”

“You’re not gonna make it in this world with that kind of B.S.”


So who’s the teacher in this story and what is the lesson?


At first, the broken controller was the teacher and the lesson was “When I throw my controller, it breaks, and then I have to figure out the next steps.”


But Mom’s response TRUMPED ALL OF THAT as soon as she started insulting him. She became the teacher and the lesson became “There’s something wrong with me and I can’t win.”


We like when kids experience “natural consequences” but for some reason, we feel the need to harp on them further, distracting them from the original, more meaningful lesson at hand.


Don’t let your negative reactions to your child’s mistakes trump the valuable lessons he gets from life itself. Otherwise, he’ll fear your response more than the mistake itself, and that will lead to him:


-- shutting down

-- sharing less

-- feeling worse, and

-- avoiding you


If you want him to become more resilient, responsible, and reflective, let him learn from his mistakes, not from your intense reactions to them.


What are your thoughts?


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