Part and parcel of having a teenager means that they will make a bad decision or choice at some stage.
Unfortunately, part and parcel of having a teenager means that they will make a bad decision or choice at some stage. It is utterly frustrating for parents to understand what goes through a teen's mind, to act so stupidly, but it happens.
It isn’t that they are trying to be negligent, but they are finding their way in the world and it can be a confusing time for them.
Here are some tips on helping your teenager to recover from silly mistakes:
Accept you may not be able to fix everything – Parents like to think that they can fix everything but generally, they can’t. It takes some work on your teenagers’ part to get over bad decisions and you must support your teen while they figure it out. Don’t feel bad for not being able to control everything and stop guilt tripping yourself too. The truth is, most teenagers (if not all) will do something stupid in their teenage years. Didn’t we all?!
Find a way to understand but be clear – The last thing your teenager needs, is for parents to freeze them out. It will make them angrier and they will feel isolated too. So, instead of refusing to discuss it, be clear about why you are disappointed in them but be fair. Don’t forget your own teenager journey and don’t be resentful to your teen. This will only damage your relationship.
Start over – If your teenager made a bad decision it could mean they need some form of disciplinary action or not, depending on your point of view. However, the most important thing you can do for yourself and your teen, is once you have gotten over the issue, start over. It means not dragging up the problem every time your teen forgets to wash the dishes or take out the bins. It means accepting what is done, is done and moving on.
Learn from mistakes – Though it was your teenager’s bad choice that got you to this stage, you should both learn from past mistakes. Did you handle things well? Is your relationship better now or is it worse? Do you trust your teenager and do they in turn trust you? You need to have learnt from what happened and know that if something is an issue again, that you and your teenager are better equipped to deal with it.
Teach your teen to make better decisions – It sounds easy, but it isn’t. The normal teenager will do silly things, so it is up to you to try and encourage them to behave better. Don’t judge your teenager and instead, work on encouraging them to be better. Show them how to be responsible and provide them with the tools and power to say “no” to peer pressures. Keep an open-door approach at home and be willing to hear some truths that you may not want to hear. Appreciate your teen tells you stuff and work on your relationship with them to ensure you have a strong bond.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.