Are Your Kids Allowed to Make Mistakes?

Kitchen Table CEOs blog - Do You Let Your Kids Make Mistakes? Managing Kids, a Household and a Business Working from Home - kids facing off in hockey with a referree

February 7, 2020

Do you make mistakes? 

Do you ever have unproductive days when you’re tired, dragging your feet, and can’t quite get in your groove?

Do you ever do things you wish you could take back?

Do you play a sport? If you do, have you ever mucked up a play and made a mistake?

I’m betting that each of us could answer YES to every single one of the statements above.

Well then, if we have bad days and make mistakes, why do we so often forget that our children are entitled to bad days and making mistakes too … without their parents acting as if the earth has opened up and hell has frozen over.

I’m speaking specifically to my sports parent peers now. I hear the heavy sighs, the disappointed huffs, the hollers to ‘skate/run faster,’ the escalation of emotions if a team is not winning or can’t get going. Why aren’t your kids allowed to make mistakes when they are playing their sport?

Do you hear yourselves?

It’s like you’re staring at your child in a microscope with a spotlight on them, and if you’re like me, you’re likely watching your child the most out of all the other children on the field/pitch/ice. So obviously you’re going to notice their every decision, their movements, positioning, and abilities at every turn. 

If they fall, you see it.

They fumble a pass you notice.

When someone is faster than them, you’re a witness. 

In times when you find yourself getting upset, or frustrated, remind yourself:

This is your child’s game, not yours.

Their team, not yours.

Their journey, not yours. 

And most important, they are allowed to make mistakes and they want their parents’ love and support through thick and thin, win or lose, best on the team or worst on the team. 

What human being, including NHL/NFL/MLB/Soccer stars, doesn’t make mistakes?

Everyone does.

But for some reason as parents (often out of shape and haven’t played sports in decades parents) watch their children, they become this hyper-competitive, cutthroat observers that don’t give their children an inch. Why is that?

I always ask myself, if my kids were coming to watch me play a sport in competition, how would I want them to act if I was winning, but more importantly if I was losing or made a mistake?  Picture them acting or saying some of the things you are saying at their games – would it be okay? How would it make you feel?

Another question: if you attend your child’s school concert, speech competition, or spelling bee and they make a mistake, would you act the same way that you do in the stands? Hmmm…. why or why not?

Something to think about.

If you have a sports game to attend this week, think about the type of parent you want to be, whether you think your child should be able to make mistakes and how you would want them behaving while cheering YOU on.

(If you are looking for other family-related articles, check out our articles section … you may like my 80+ Family-Friendly Movie Suggestions!)

From my kitchen table to yours,

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