Parenting Mistakes

I see parents who come in feeling distraught & shamed over their child’s acting out & struggles.  This is especially hard when these behaviors have come as a result of mistakes we make.  After over 30 years of working with parents of teens, I have seen parents struggle with these issues because they don’t realize the importance of children learning to deal with imperfection.  Let me start by saying making mistakes isn’t our goal as parents, but neither should we fear it.  Every other human they meet the rest of their lives will do the same thing to them.  As parents we are weak, limited, imperfect, but then welcome to the human race.  Teens are often adult enough and sophisticated enough emotionally to be aware of this.  They take us down off the God-like pedestals they have us on as children, and then the game is on.  So how do we handle our mistakes?  Admit them when appropriate & possible.  Model for them, show children how we deal with failure, how we handle it when we’ve hurt others, and how we live with limits.  These adult lessons are ones they’ll have to exercise throughout their lives.  When it’s not possible, because a child isn’t mature enough, yet, or the situation requires more discretion than a teen might be able to handle, invoke their trust as a parent who may not know everything but know enough to do their best.  Parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love, but it’s cool to see our kids get the more sophisticated emotional skills and handle things on their own.

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