5 Simple Ways to Help Teenagers Learn from Their Mistakes

11 November 2022
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Teenage is a chaotic part of every adult’s life. While teenagers demand autonomy, they may not be fully prepared to tackle every consequence that follows. Some common mistakes made by every teenager are trusting the wrong people, indulging in unhealthy habits, avoiding responsibility and so on. Most teens also tend to be rebellious and impulsively partake in situations that lead to uncomfortable emotions. At a time like this, they need to be handled with patience and support. However, this is also a time when they can consciously learn from their mistakes in life. As a parent, you are the best person to encourage recognising errors as a part of learning process. Here are a few quick pointers to aid you:

Talk like a friend, not a parent
It’s no secret that teenagers prefer confiding in their peers instead of their parents. This is because they feel supported by their friends. Talking to your child as a peer can greatly influence how they tackle a mistake. Teenagers' mistakes need to be approached with patience, unconditional love and understanding. Letting them know about your own childhood mistakes and how you dealt with them can make them feel at ease. Try not to make them feel guilty or chastise them without providing an explanation. This might alienate them from you without aiding them to learn from their mistakes.

Walk them through the situation
No teenager sets out with the intention of making a mistake. Most common teenage mistakes are the end results of impulsive innocent actions. So your kid might actually be confused about what went wrong and how. In order to help them feel at ease, talk about the situation and ask them what they think went wrong. Instead of lecturing, encouraging their active participation in dealing with the problem can help them develop lifelong skills. When they are taught to sit down with the problem at a young age, they will pick it up as a habit even when they are adults.

Discuss what else could have gone wrong
Chances are your teenager already feels guilty about their actions. Once you make them feel supported, ask them why they feel guilty. Let them know your feelings about their answers to make them feel at ease. You can follow this conversation up with what else could have gone wrong and ask them how they would have tackled it. Ensure that you create a safe and encouraging space so they do not feel cornered or punished. The best way to help teenagers in learning from mistakes is by encouraging communication around it. If they learn that there are ways to fix problems no matter how things go wrong, it can help them tackle them better in the long run.

Don’t punish them
As a parent, you might feel impatient, especially when your child makes a big mistake. However, punishing them won’t help your teenager learn from their mistakes. In psychology, punishment is believed to decrease the chances of a behaviour but without any healthy problem-solving skills. When you hit your child for a particular thing, they know not to repeat it in front of you. There is still a chance that they might do it behind your back and get into worse trouble. A better way to encourage your teenager to learn from their mistakes is to explain. If they do not have the tendency to simply understand, reinforce the desired behaviour by rewarding them when they do it.

Make sure everyone is calm
Your teenager might still be in a panic mode having seen things gone so wrong. You as a parent might also be experiencing all kinds of feelings depending on the situation. This might not be the best time to process the situation for either of you. Take some time to calm down and encourage your child to do the same. This is the best time to build trust with your young one. Take a moment to say things like “it’s okay I’ve been through the same when I was your age.” This will effectively help them feel reassured and encourage them to learn from others’ mistakes. Once you are in a better headspace to consciously reflect, sit down with your teenager and discuss. This way they’ll know that making mistakes is not a bad thing and what is important is to focus on learning from them.

Your teenager is in a very confusing phase of their life. While they want to fit in, understand themselves better, and be autonomous, they also have no experience to guide their actions. This is the best time for them to actively make mistakes and learn from them. As a parent, you can encourage healthy problem-solving and management skills by communicating and being supportive. There is no better feeling than knowing you have your parents in your corner and they’ve got your back.

Managing teens and preteens is a challenging period in every parent’s life. At Podar Education Network, we promote healthy eating habits and a mindful lifestyle for teenagers. Head to our website to know more.

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