Every teen in the history of the world makes a mistake. Same for every parent. So why are we so hard on ourselves and our kids when the inevitable happens? Look parents, it is your teen’s job to test her boundaries and make a few missteps along the path of finding herself. And let’s be real — this parenting job didn’t exactly come with a handbook either.
So the question isn’t will we make mistakes, but rather how will we handle them when we do. It may seem counterintuitive to be open with your teens about making mistakes, but that’s exactly what I’m encouraging you to do! Role modeling the process of owning, fixing and growing from mistakes is key to your daughter’s learning how to do it herself.
- Own it. Just admit the mistake, even when it’s embarrassing. Apologize sincerely if someone was hurt.
- Fix it. Do what you can to make things right. You can’t always repair the damage, but sometimes just asking “What can I do to make this better?” is a great start.
- Grow from it. You’ve undoubtedly learned a hard lesson. Now apply it and move forward with new knowledge and maybe even a battle wound to remind you of it.
Let your girl see you walk through this process and talk to her about it. Honestly, the more you mess up, the better she will learn it. And what better way to let her know that even if her Instagram profile is forever , her mistakes don’t have to be.
It’s important for your girl to see that you make mistakes and she can too — and that you can go back and have a “redo” as long as the mutual respect and connection is there. Trust is built over time and making mistakes and rebounding from them in the safety of a family shows that first hand.
Our teens are under so much pressure to appear to have a perfect life online — the carefully posed selfies, painstakingly crafted status updates and comments — they need a chance to be real and imperfect in life. Life does not look like a Snapchat story, and she needs to know that there is someone there to guide her through the inevitable mistakes that happen IRL.
Giving her the safety net of a redo could even mean that when she does make a mistake, instead of becoming defensive, she will know that she can own it, fix it and grow from it.
Our goal is not to raise perfect girls, it is to equip them to stay strong and overcome all obstacles, even the ones they create themselves. So get out there parents, and make some mistakes. Your girls are counting on it!