I find people like anecdotes here so please allow me to add: I was raised by very "tough" parents with a very "tough" form of discipline. Mistakes meant punishment. Today I have a 9 year old daughter who, like any other human being, makes mistakes. A few years ago I noticed a very strange phenomena with regards to "dealing" with her mistakes". When I would get upset with her and punish her for spilling on the couch or forgetting to clean her room I would see her make it again and as time went on she would get, either, more defensive about it or try to lie about it. At some point my fiancee asked that I try a different approach: Try being kind and loving with my response and take time with her to show empathy, to share that Im not perfect either and to figure out another way of handling whatever the mistake was.... the taking-time part is probably the toughest for me because it means work, im sure many can relate.... but, strangely, I noticed that she was making the mistakes I handled the new way a lot less... and she seemed to be ok with handling them a new way. She started to clean her room on her own and even though her coordination did not allow her to stop from spilling she was more careful about where she took her drinks and cleaned them up more quickly.... its really ass backwards to me... and to top it off, she seems less anxious around me and my responses and seems less defensive... Im not a psychologist and wont pretend to understand the how or why of it, I just know she seems less distracted and anxious and I seem to get more hugs from here and I will take that over trying to "force" her to learn anyday.