Turn mistakes into repairs to empower children

Turn mistakes into repairs to empower children
Turn mistakes into repairs to empower children

“When your child has made a mistake, he also needs to be heard without being judged, in order to be able to take his own responsibilities…” This is how Agnès Dutheil expresses herself in her book La positive psychology with children.


I completely agree with her. Because mistakes are the best way to learn. If we systematically bully (or worse) a child for each "misstep", a very relative notion, we expose ourselves to several consequences:

  • lower self-esteem
  • a crippling fear of failure for future initiative
  • a temptation to lie and cover up “mistakes”

While the real speech, the one that contributes to the development of the child, is probably to offer him the possibility of repairing what he has done.

The art of adjusting

This notion of reparation is damn liberating and full of lessons! Liberating because it transforms a problem into solution(s). Rich in lessons because she learns the art of adjustment.

The brain needs mistakes tomake a large enough database to move forward by adjusting the trajectory. The data comes from the attempts and the results (or rather, from the interpretation of these results). Thus, the more you try, the more experience you accumulate and the closer you get to success.

An error is really an error when we stop at that error. To offer a possibility of repair is to invite the child to think about what has just happened and to “reason” to understand the workings of the following mechanism:

intention=> action=> consequence

In short, the repair option is essential for both children and parents (less stress and a more optimistic outlook on life).

How to help children learn from their mistakes?

To begin with, let's keep calm in the face of children's mistakes. If we feel anger rising, let's isolate ourselves for a moment and take a deep breath while closing our eyes.

When you've calmed down, let's get closer and put ourselves on the same level as the child. Let us turn to him with kindness and empathy to connect.

Daniel Siegel recommends asking ourselves 3 questions to facilitate this temporization and this transition from reactive mode (impulsive) to receptive mode (empathic and helping):

1. Why did my child act like this?

2. What lesson is it desirable to pass on to him at this precise moment?

3. What's the best way to get the message across?

To get theanswers, let's ask him directly:

“What was your intention? What did you try to do? »

“How do you feel? »

« What did you learn? »

« How do you think to solve the problem/fix? »

« What happened? »« What do you need to fix? »

And let's help him visualize the situation by describing it without judging.

Finally, let's value the resolution with an “I” message:

“I'm glad to see that you understand. »« I'm glad you fixed it. »

To conclude, repair is a great vehicle for empowerment and fulfillment. What do you think?

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