February 5, 2020

Why making mistakes and building resilience is important for your child

It’s a fact of life – your child is going to make mistakes. At times, this can be just as frustrating for you as it is for them. Whilst it feels natural to protect your child against failure, allowing them to make mistakes is actually one of the most important duties of parenthood.

At first glance, resilience poses a tricky situation for parents and carers. Encouraging your child to persist with challenging tasks (even when they are failing) can feel like the opposite of being supportive. However, it’s actually in their best interest. Don’t worry, this isn’t ‘pushy parenting’ – encouraging your child to persist helps them to learn important life skills. 

If your child is going to be confident in their abilities, it’s important that they find their own solutions to problems. For parents, this means supporting them to take healthy risks. Learning to play an instrument, joining a sports team, running for the school council – these are all good examples of activities that will encourage your child to take on new challenges which they can learn from.

Whilst you might have to endure a few months of screechy violin playing or outrageously muddy sports kits, extra-curricular activities are essential to your child’s development. New hobbies (and new experiences in general) allow them to learn skills that they can bring to other areas of their lives. The resilience that they learn when they persist with a hobby (despite playing the wrong note or missing a tackle, for example) is essential to their overall development and happiness. The learning curve is always steepest when doing something new and your child’s resilience increases as they participate in new activities, especially ones which they might not be good at.

You can think of it like this – resilience is like a muscle and persistence is like exercise. Put these two things together and you’ll get a stronger muscle, and the stronger your child’s resilience muscle is, the easier it will be for them to embrace new experiences and overcome difficult challenges. 

Resilience will help your child in almost every area of their lives – from their schoolwork and career prospects, to their social skills and home life. When resilience is explored properly, it allows your child to learn more about who they are – to understand what they are good at, to explore the different ways to deal with failure and (most importantly) to become a more rounded and happy person.