Many people live with the mindset “if you can’t do it right away, then don’t do it at all.” As a rule, this principle arises in deep childhood: a child who is afraid of mistakes and considers every failure a tragedy grows into an adult with anxiety or with an “excellent student syndrome”.
How can children be taught to accept mistakes as an important life experience?
Why are children afraid of mistakes?
Children’s fear of making mistakes is not accidental. In early childhood, when the worldview of the baby is just beginning to take shape, the main guidelines for him are the parents. And if the child sees that the mother is very worried because of his success in developmental classes or in kindergarten, then the fear of error arises from the unwillingness to upset her.
Psychologists say that moms and dads with the «excellent student syndrome» (the desire to do everything «five» and receive only praise) in most cases pass this syndrome on to their children. Therefore, before you rid your child of the fear of failure, you should get rid of the fear of failure yourself.
When a baby is just learning to eat with a spoon, he fails to do it right the first time. He soils the chair, the walls, and he himself ends up in porridge from head to toe. We do not scold him and are not surprised — it is so natural — to learn something gradually. Why, then, in other cases, mistakes surprise us or upset us? Always remember that it is through trial and error that the most rewarding experience is achieved.
Fear of mistakes and parents: is there a relationship?
It is not uncommon for children to be afraid of making mistakes just because of their parents and their reactions.
When moms or dads have high anxiety and strive to be socially approved, any childhood failure hits their self-esteem: “Did my child get a deuce? Everyone will think I’m a terrible mother!» or “My child didn’t win first place in a talent competition? Everyone will think that I am an incompetent parent and do not invest in the education of my child!”
In this case, the baby feels that it is important for the mother or father that the son or daughter never make mistakes. When for parents the mistakes of children are a kind of end of the world and undermining their parental pride, then the child begins to get nervous, worry, be afraid, lose motivation and self-confidence.
The same thing happens if parents have high expectations. Moms and dads perceive children’s failures in this way, because in their illusory ideal world this simply cannot be. Their child is always the first, the best, skillful, talented. As soon as a child makes a mistake, mothers and fathers are disappointed that the baby cannot reach the high bar that they have set.
What causes fear of failure
The fear of making a mistake is perceived by child psychologists as a learned reaction, first to the actions and words of parents, and then to the school, where success is measured by grades.
Fear of making a mistake provokes the emergence of internal tension, stress, anxiety. All this can end with neurosis, apathy, low self-esteem, procrastination and even rebellion: why try if I still fail?
How to help your child overcome fears
Every parent can help their child eliminate the fear of mistakes. But for this you have to start with yourself. It is necessary to analyze your behavior, words, actions and answer the question: is it because of me that the child began to be afraid of missteps? Remember, do you criticize yourself for failures? How do you react to the failures of the baby: scold him, get upset, angry?
Another important step is to stop comparing your child to others. In an ideal parental world, such a comparison should motivate the child, but in reality everything turns out to be more complicated. Moms and dads just try on someone else’s image for their child — the one that they would like to see. However, it is impossible to force the baby to be what he is not, or what he himself does not want to be. In addition, such comparisons are simply not valid, because other children have completely different conditions for social development and other physical data.
To help the baby, you need to start listening to his words. If a child says that he is afraid to make a mistake in dictation, recite a verse at the blackboard, or not take first place at the Olympiad, do not dismiss him with the words “What nonsense!” and «Don’t make it up!». Support and the ability to listen is the main parental assistant.
How to support a child
How to support a child who is afraid of making mistakes?
First, you can’t be silent about fear.. Talk to your child about this feeling. Tell them it’s okay to be afraid, just like making mistakes. Explain that all people make mistakes and fail from time to time, and even better, give examples from your own life.
Secondly, exclude words-reproaches from your speech (“It started!”, “Again?”, “And I warned you!”). The child should not feel oppressed and consider that he is bad, unworthy because of one oversight.
Thirdly, more often focus on the success of the baby.. Mark his strengths, praise his efforts, explain that mistakes can almost always be corrected. In this way, feelings for committed mistakes will be softened and disappear.
If you understand that you are not coping with the situation, be sure to seek help from a child psychologist.