In the last few days, I’ve seen more than a handful of #ParentingFails scroll by as I read my Facebook and Twitter feeds. For the most part, they aren’t that severe: missed appointments, forgotten lunches, and the occasional I could have handled my kid better. While we don’t always share our deeper failures, these were shared, I can assume, to elicit empathy and maybe laughter.

But what about those deeper parenting failures? The ones that we aren’t comfortable putting on Facebook. These are moments that we are reluctant to share publicly because we fear that others will think that we are bad parents rather than parents juggling busy lives who are occasionally forgetful. These are times where our actions have left our children in tears or we have played into our fears that we have done lasting harm to our own child.

We perseverate on these moments and struggle to move past them. In seeming contradiction to what we tell our children, we don’t talk about learning from our failures. Yet, to be an innovative parent, you have to embrace your #ParentingFails and jump back in again.

Learning from failure as a parent requires three things:

  1. Forgive yourself & turn off your inner critic – if you keep beating yourself up, you will remain stuck in the past and unable to be present for your child’s future needs. Close the door and move on, no matter how hard it is. You are human and to be human is to make mistakes. Our kids are more resilient than we often give them credit for and they will bounce back from what you did or didn’t do.
  1. Apologize to your child – we constantly ask our children to apologize when they hurt someone else or make a mistake. It’s critical that we model this to our children. Seeing that we make mistakes and know how to apologize to them will help them develop this important life skill.
  1. Try again – stopping isn’t a luxury that parents have. We need to embrace our moments of failure, attempt to learn from them, and then we need to get right back at it. Don’t allow your fear to rule you.

Being innovative parent is about learning from your mistakes and not letting them cripple you. Your parenting fails aren’t real failure. They are opportunities to learn. Embrace them and innovate.