“He’s failing at failing” is something that will stay with me forever.
It was a comment that gave me chills when I heard it from a parent of a preschooler.
How can he already feel like a failure? He’s so terrified of making a mistake and of something going wrong – like having a magnatile out of place – that he falls apart and refuses to consider any other options.
What’s a parent to do when the child’s fear overwhelms everyone?
The fear comes from being emotionally tied to those mistakes and sensing that they are a reflection of who we are.
Being told “not to worry” or that “everyone makes mistakes,” is actually NOT helpful.
Notice how you’re making the struggle just a bit easier without falling into the habit of “but it’ll be okay.”
Your child is clearly NOT okay, so telling them that they are will set those alarms off even more. Instead, you remain regulated in your own body.
You then relate to your child’s experience. Then, and only then, can you slowly move them into considering another rational solution.
I can’t tell you how long it will take for your child to move from feeling regulated to understanding another approach.
I CAN tell you that it is the ONLY way for you to show your child that they’re felt, thought of, and heard by you.
Practice it and see how much farther attunement will take you. Share with someone who needs this too!
Neurodivergent kids view mistakes as failures because they are emotionally tied to them. Failure instills fear. The challenge faced by parents is when a child’s fear overwhelms. Discover what to do instead of jumping in to “fix it.