Diary of a Dad : Week 46 - Learning From Mistakes

by Adam Riches

Learning from your mistakes is easier said than done - you know what we’re all like, we go through life and quite often fuck things up repeatedly before having the dawning realisation that actually, you could have avoided it happening if you’d taken a bit of time to reflect.

Parents don’t have that much time though, and if you’re anything like me, my spare time isn’t used for reflecting! Added to this, being tired also doesn’t put you in the most reflective of mind states…what I have realised though is that learning from your mistakes does massively reduce stress in the long run.

Action and reaction

I sound philosophical, but every action creates a reaction. It’s like a cycle. Quite often, I respond to parenting situations, such as my children jumping off things and hitting people/others with sticks, instinctively. Similarly, when there is a tonne of little annoyances in behaviour, I react instinctively. The issue with this is that quite often, I take action or intervene when I’m annoyed.

I’ll be the first to admit that an instinctive action normally isn’t the most calculated and I find myself on the back foot following having said or doing something wrong. I’m taking a breath first now though and it’s helping so much. Little things make all the difference.

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Talking

Talking to your partner or friend about some of your parenting decisions or doing what you have done is really powerful. Sometimes, vocalising your thoughts makes things clearer and you are able to disassociate yourself from the situation a bit better.

I always find that when I vocalise my thought processes, I see the flaws in what I did, even when I got the outcomes I wanted.

Taking and ignoring advice

One of the disadvantages of talking to people is they try to give you advice. Often this advice is utter shite and isn’t of any use, but now and again, you’ll get a gem or two of good advice that will help you be a better parent.

It’s totally up to you to decide what you think is helpful and not. You have to get the balance right - you can’t do it everyone else’s way, you need to carve your own style…but there are some helpful contributions that listening to might prove beneficial.

Don’t strive for perfection

The reality of parenting is that you’ll get things wrong all the time. Even twice during the same event sometimes. It’s a mental rollercoaster of a ride and actually, you need to remember that we learn best from pour mistakes…when we realise them.

Taking note and reflecting doesn’t mean being hard on yourself. It’s tough to get things right on zero sleep, just when you are trying to rediscover your identity and simultaneously juggle everything else plus living. Small steps, always small steps.


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Written by

Adam Riches

Blogger, Teacher and Father of One
Being a parent isn’t something you can ever truly prepare for (no matter how many things you read about!) I don’t think I’ll ever really get it right, but that’s what being a parent is all about for me - effectively winging it and being totally ok with just doing your best at being a dad. I’m stumbling through life as a dad of one and between extracting coco pops from my son’s nose and trying to persuade him that dinosaurs aren’t going to get him at night, I write a bit and I teach a lot.

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