Dads, Handle your Kids Mistakes

One of the most difficult parts of being a father is learning to accept your children's mistakes. It certainly can be easy to be loving, supportive, and helpful when your children are mistake-free, but most fathers who are paying attention don't find too many mistake-free periods of their

children's lives.

Let's be clear about our kids and their mistakes. There aren't too many kids who get up in the morning, rub their hands together and say," I wonder how I can screw up today and really bother my dad!" Kids don't enjoy or want to make mistakes, it's just one of the ways that they learn about the world.

Kids usually try to do their best; but they're doing their best considering the resources they have at the time. Sometimes they're tired, sometimes they're easily distracted, and sometimes they're strong-willed, but they generally do the best they can. It's quite easy for us to unfairly judge them according to their best efforts in the past.

When our kids make mistakes, we have choices to make. Fathers can either make choices that help to create kids who are defensive and who lie to them ?or they can make choices that help to create kids who can learn from their mistakes and improve upon them.

Kids who fear punishment or the loss of love in response to their mistakes learn to hide their mistakes. These children live in two different places--one place where they have the love and support of their father (parents), and another where they feel that if their mistakes were discovered, they would be undeserving of that love. It's hard for these kids to fully accept their parents' love and support even when it is expressed. It's also difficult for these kids to set high standards for themselves, because they tend to be fearful of failing.

These are some ideas for fathers who are committed to helping create kids who can learn from their mistakes, and who are not afraid of making a few:

Absolutely accept the notion that your kids are doing their best, and that they'll learn faster about their mistakes if they are in an environment that accepts mistakes.

Understand that your difficulty with your kids' mistakes is in fact a reflection of your difficulty dealing with your own mistakes; be aware of this and deal with your own issues first.

Know the shaming messages that we can all give so easily to our kids--messages that can do a lot of damage to them and help them to feel unworthy. Here's a few of them:

- How could you have done that?

- You don't listen to me!

- You can do better than that!

- What's the matter with you?

Keep providing your kids with learning experiences, but at the same time structure their environment so they can't make too many mistakes (having expensive glassware around the house where children might break it is not their fault).

Provide a great model for your children by the way you react to making mistakes: do you get defensive and stretch the truth, or do you own the mistake and learn something from it? Create a culture that's based on learning from mistakes.

We only have one chance to show our kids the patience and discipline necessary to allow them to learn from the mistakes that we've all made. Your opportunity to improve just started now; give your kids the room that they need and deserve.

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone; ebooks, courses, articles, and a FREE newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com. or email him at mark@markbrandenburg.com.

In The News:


Christian Science Monitor

Room to roam? 'Free-range parenting' proves contentious
U-T San Diego
My own parenting style was “attachment parenting” where babies sleep in a family bed and are typically breast-fed far longer than their counterparts. When my daughter Katie reached fifth grade, it was hard for me to let her walk home from school alone, ...
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Free-range vs. helicopter: What does it mean to be a good parent?Yahoo News

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RollingStone.com

Taking Child to Pink Concert Not Bad Parenting, Says Judge
RollingStone.com
Pink P!nk performs at Newark's Prudential Center on December 11, 2013. This concert was at the center of a custody battle as a woman's ex-husband accused her of bad parenting for bringing their 11-year-old daughter to the show. Dave Kotinsky/Getty ...
Judge: Taking Girl to Pink Concert Not Bad ParentingNewser
Judge rules Pink concert trip wasn't bad parentingNew Zealand Herald
NJ Judge Rules Woman That Took Daughter To Pink Concert Isn't Bad ParentingCBS Local
NBC 10 Philadelphia
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CBS Local

Free-Range Parenting: Teaching Independence, Or Child Neglect?
CBS Local
Jessica Kartalija with an in-depth look at a small, but growing movement called “free-range” parenting. On a recent afternoon, two Maryland children are doing what they typically do–walking by speeding cars, crossing busy streets. And while they're ...
Montgomery seeks clarity stemming from 'free-range' parenting debateWashington Post
Free-range parenting: Is it neglect?Delmarva Daily Times
Megan McArdle: 7 reasons Americans can't stand free-range parentingDallas Morning News
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Pioneer Center offering parenting class in McHenry
Northwest Herald
McHENRY – Pioneer Center for Human Services is offering a new parenting group that provides a safe outlet for moms and dads to openly discuss parenting issues with other parents dealing with the same concerns and problems. Participants will also learn ...

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Military Times

Parenting hints from families of achieving kids
Military Times
Parenting hints from families of achieving kids. The parents of this year's Operation Homefront's Military Child of the Year award recipients talk about their families' philosophies. Loading… Post to Facebook. Parenting hints from families of ...


WGME

Liberating or unsafe? Maine families debate 'free range parenting'
Bangor Daily News
PORTLAND, Maine — A family in Portland says they're taking on what's called a free range parenting style to give their daughter more independence growing up. While some say the style gives kids too much freedom, Sarah Cushman and Robert Levin say ...
Taking on 'free-range' parentingWGME

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'Adult Onset': the joys and terrors of single parenting
The Seattle Times (registration)
To that end, it's the most accurate description of solo parenting I've ever read, not so much juggling a number of tasks from the seemingly simple (answering one email) to crucial (keeping scissors away from a toddler) as trying to keep from drowning ...


Montgomery County council members tackle 'free-range' parenting issue
WTOP
“Individuals feel like their own parenting choices are being criticized,” says George Leventhal, president of the Montgomery County Council. Leventhal says he and his council colleague Marc Elrich have come up with a list of questions for police and ...

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Chicago Tribune

Speaker at parenting breakfast has first-hand experience
Chicago Tribune
Personal insight can lend credibility to a speaker, such as it did when Val Warner, co-host of ABC-TV's "Windy City Live," talked to a crowd of more than 100 attending a breakfast in Merrillville about parenting. Parenting is a balancing act, she said ...


The Research on Same-Sex Parenting: “No Differences” No More
Heritage.org
In its 2004 endorsement of what is commonly referred to as the “no differences” theory, the American Psychological Association (APA) declared that “there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation ...

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