Allowing mistakes can teach your children coping skills

"'Kids need to feel badly sometimes,' says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. ‘We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn to cope.’"

Messing up, however, even in the playground, is wildly out of style. Although error and experimentation are the true mothers of success, parents are taking pains to remove failure from the equation.”1 One of the most natural instincts a father has is to protect his kids. However, it is very important for fathers to step back at times and allow them to experience and learn from adversity.


• Think back to some of the mistakes and failures you experienced as a child, and how you learned and grew from those experiences.

• Unless your son or daughter is in potential danger, consider not being too quick to swoop down and protect your child from working through a difficultsituation.

• Consider discussing with your wife the following question: Are we as parents allowing our children to learn by making mistakes, and if so, are we helping them develop coping strategies?

• Talk openly with your kids about adversity and how it can build character andmake them wiser. Share some of your tough times growing up and how theymade you a stronger person.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at

David Eggebeen at

Robert Orndorff at

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or