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Reacting to the Mistakes of your Teenager.

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

i need to call my mom

Hello Parents.

This quote hits me to the core. I agree wholeheartedly.

When my kids mess up, I want them to call me. If they have any fear of my reaction, may it be superseded by the larger, louder truth:

I am here for them. Always. I will help them get through challenges, even those they have brought upon themselves.

Do THEY know this? How do you ensure your kids know they can turn to you when they make mistakes?

It happens by fostering a supportive, honest relationship.

It happens by setting a precedent for dealing with your child’s mistakes in a reasonable way, so when things go wrong, it’s a natural continuation of your relationship for your child to turn to you.

To be clear, this is not about being the easy way out, a problem solver who sweeps in to make problems disappear. This is about being a safe haven when someone you love is confused, scared, or out of their depth and needs help.

Here are some questions parents can ask themselves when considering how to react to their teenager's mistakes:

Am I reacting emotionally or rationally?

  • Are my reactions driven by my emotions, such as anger or frustration, or am I able to approach the situation calmly and rationally?

  • How can I manage my emotions in a way that promotes a more forthcoming response?

Am I listening before responding?

  • Am I taking the time to listen to my teenager's side of the story before jumping to conclusions or issuing consequences?

  • How can I create an open and safe space for them to express themselves?

Is my response consistent with our values?

  • Does my reaction align with the values and principles we have as a family?

  • Am I setting a good example for handling mistakes and conflicts?

Am I allowing natural consequences?

  • Is it appropriate to let my teenager experience the natural consequences of their actions, or do I feel the need to shield them from any discomfort?

  • How can I strike a balance between protecting them and allowing them to learn from their mistakes?

Is my communication constructive?

  • Am I using language that encourages dialogue and understanding, or am I resorting to criticism and blame?

  • How can I communicate my concerns in a way that promotes a positive conversation?

What are my long-term goals?

  • What do I hope my teenager will learn from this situation in the long run?

  • How does my reaction contribute to their personal growth and development?

Do I need support?

  • Am I struggling to handle my teenager's mistakes on my own? Do I need advice from other parents, professionals, or support groups?

  • How can I seek the help I need to navigate challenging situations?

Reflecting on your reactions and continually fine-tuning your approach can lead to a healthier and more positive relationship with your teenager.

Remember, parenting is a learning process, nobody gets it right all the time!

Be the person they call, without hesitation, when they need help. And if YOU need help figuring it out? I’m here for you. Reach out, let’s chat.


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