Before you go off the deep end, take a deep breath.
Parents have an unspoken expectation that their children are a reflection of their most enlightened selves. All your good qualities on display in a smaller, younger person. Our children make bad choices just like adults do so taking this personally won’t help.
Number one, listen to your teen’s side of the story. There’s always many to every story (usually 3 or more) and being heard by you is critical for your relationship with them.
You only need to contact the school If you feel like things are way out of proportion. Otherwise, you’ve got to let your teen deal with the consequences and apology.
Learning how to effectively apologize is absolutely critical for success in all relationships.
They need to put themselves in other people’s shoes in order to build empathy. That’s where an apology comes from, through an understanding of how other people in the situation might have felt.
The second part is restitution.
Because this is an emotionally charged situation as a parent, we jump in with guns blazing and tell our teen what they’re going to do to apologize. Unfortunately, that deflates the power of empathy you just build and removes them from owning the apology.
How are they going to make it right with that person or those people?
A public apology, a written apology? Something that has them learn to humble themselves to make the other person and the relationship important and communicate that.
Encourage your teen through the apology process. Let’s face it, admitting wrong and know you hurt someone just plain sucks and the yucky feelings are the reason for rich conversation.
When your teen has completed the process, I need you to let it go.
Bringing the incident up in the, “remember that time you …” or “you’re not to be trusted because…” is shaming. Reminding anyone of their past transgressions is shaming and chips away at their self-esteem, along with erasing the learning you were trying to impart.
Our greatest growth in relationships comes from when things go wrong, not when we’re perfect. Let’s help our kids understand effective apologies and build great relationships.
Does someone you know need help with their child getting in trouble at school? Share this with them today, because sharing is caring 🙂