How to React When Your Child Makes a Mistake

How to React When Your Child Makes a Mistake
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It’s highly important to react appropriately when faced with the typical ups and downs of a child’s growth. One of these key moments is when your child makes a mistake.

In these cases, it’s essential to know how to react in order to avoid creating frustration or a fear of failure.

In addition, this is a vital skill to learn because mistakes make for the best learning experiences. We can use these errors in judgment to learn lessons and gain valuable insights.

Now it’s likely that you – like all mothers – feel some unease. How do you react when your child makes a mistake?

In this You Are Mom article, we’ll examine ways that you can create a positive experience for your child. Take note!

Don’t use hurtful language when your child makes a mistake

How to React When Your Child Makes a Mistake

Be very careful with the words you choose, because they can shape your child’s personality and future. If you can’t get past your anger at his or her mistake, no good will come of it.

The child will feel incompetent, which will make him more insecure and dependent. Ultimately, this does nothing but hurt his self-esteem.

In addition, insistent questioning and berating will activate and increase fears and anxieties. The child will stop trying because he will become easily frustrated. The fear of being wrong is compounded by the fear of making another mistake.

So when your child makes a mistake, you simply have to make note of it with a healthy dose of calm. Explain what needs to improve, and make sure you recognize the intention. This is the way to lay the foundation for your child to do his best.

Focus on courage and effort, not the mistake

This is the other key thing to remember when your child makes a mistake. Communicate that you see and appreciate the effort, which is always much more positive than doing nothing. There would be no mistakes without effort. So at the very least try to see the positive.

The idea is to consistently highlight your child’s efforts and sacrifices. Don’t be so “results-oriented” that the outcome is all that’s considered. Evaluate the process and the means. This way, you’ll teach your little one to light up each day with his tenderness and innocence.

We need to show our children how proud we are of their growth, and of the responsibilities they want to take on. Of course, the world isn’t always a positive place, but that would also be counterproductive.

The difference lies in the way we choose our words. Small subtleties can change the world.

Teaching the best way to do things

How to React When Your Child Makes a Mistake

In addition to the above, there is another step you can take. Having laid a solid foundation, you can proceed to teach your child in the least cruel or traumatic way possible.

How? Having avoided insults and punishments, and made special mention of the positive side of the situation, you may proceed to go into more detail. Patiently, of course.

This is where we teach the child how to improve on what he had set out to do. To this end, we show him or her how to do things the best possible way so that things turn out better. Calm, sweetness and a lot of love are the ingredients to make this recipe shine.

Always remember this great truth, one you should treasure for life: Failure is nothing but a great opportunity to learn and grow. If a project fails, this doesn’t mean the end of the world for anyone.

Try, try again

These situations remind us that it’s often a matter of trying again and again. Mothers and fathers can often lose sight of the fact that just a few words can drastically alter a child’s future.

If you don’t react appropriately, you risk damaging your child’s enthusiasm forever. Negativity isn’t the way to motivate your child to improve.

Rather, the idea is to inspire, teach open-mindedness, and preach patience, thereby building your child’s self-esteem.

You want to stimulate your child’s self-confidence, make him feel secure, and encourage his independence. You’ll be creating a go-getter who faces each day with enthusiasm.

What would you prefer? To dwell on the mistake, or to focus on the love and education of your child?







All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.