Learn From My Mistake

Why as parents are we afraid of those 4 words? 

But in reality, they are among the most 4 POWERFUL words when strung together. 

I’ve certainly had my share of mistakes. 
Unless you just landed from Mars, so have you.

In truth, being as honest as we can be with our kids on typical “growing up mistakes” we’ve made can catch their attention.

And isn’t catching our teen’s attention half the battle?

Do any of these scenarios ring a bell?

  • “I cut class”.
  • “I didn’t prepare enough when going out for the . . . . team.”
  • “I didn’t save my money as I should have for . . . . “  (here's an article on how to make their saved money grow, no matter how small the amount:  How Teens Can Grow Their Money
  • “I didn’t study for my . . . . finals.”
  • “I talked behind my best friend’s back.”
  • “I went to . . . . and I knew I shouldn’t have.”
  • “I didn’t take that summer job as I should have.”
  • “I lost my temper when . . . .”
  • “I didn’t . . . “
  • “I did . . . . “

Have you ever bothered to share these mistakes with your teen?  No, you are not giving your permission for your teen to do the same thing.  You are outlining the "mistake" results you suffered afterward.  

Obviously some of our mistakes should be dead and buried but often your teen mistakes are the typical “growing up” testing the waters type of mistakes that can be shared and used.

Who better to learn from your mistakes than your own teen.

There are 3 huge reasons to fess up to our own teen mistakes:

  1. You can get their attention and create a teachable moment.
  2. It will encourage them to come to you when they make a mistake because they know you’ve been down the mistake road a time or two.
  3. Hearing their mistakes provide amazing teachable moments because:

we want our kids to make all the mistakes they need to while growing up under our roof.  Who better than you to work them through the responsible response and life-learning lesson!

I’ll never forget the time in high school when we moved from one city to another.  I was a junior and miserable. Everyone seemed to know everyone else – except me.  I spent a year hiding in my “shell” so to speak and missed going out for organizations and clubs that would have helped me.   My personal mistake story allowed my kids to springboard into going out for class officer and so forth.  Did they always “win”?  Of course not, but they did win some and learned so much more from the elections they lost. 

How should you introduce your typical mistake to your teen? 

  1. Find that moment when they are in the mood to listen. Yes, I know.  That’s not very often, right?   Well, be patient!
  2. Relay your story AND the consequences you suffered because of it.
  3. Then, casually ask an open-ended question about how that might fit into a situation your teen might be facing. For instance, “honey, do you think that type of consequence would happen at your high school?  Or “Honey, what should I have done instead?
  4. Then, wait. Give them time to respond.  If they don’t, and it makes sense to circle back around to re-worded “can you believe I did this” story?  Then go for it.  If the time just isn’t right, know you planted a seed and look for the next opportunity to introduce your topic. 

Remember, success is often stacked on top of a series of mistakes.

So go ahead and use your 4-word POWER PLAY:  “Learn from My Mistake”.

Have a wonderful week and we hope that new teachable moment with your teen presents itself so clearly that you just can’t miss it!  We leave you with a funny quote that just has such ring of truth to it that we can’t resist:

“Learn from the mistakes of others.  You can’t make them all yourself.” 

Request:  If it makes sense, we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Have a great week.   And as we say ...

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of it ALL !

Pam and Holly
JellyGeneration Team 
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PS 2: Free Parent Guide
We've put together a free "8-Step Parent Planning Guide" that is chock-full of information you might want to teach your "nearly-flown" child.  It's a parent time-saver, and gives you concrete lessons to use at your discretion.  Developed by parents previously in your shoes, we know you will find it super helpful.  
Here's the link for it: 8-Step Parent Planning Guide
Who Is JellyGeneration?

Pam Hardison, MBA, BBA in Finance and Business Education, has created and co-owned a national mail order catalog which at one point was the 21st fastest growing customerbase in the nation.  As a mom of two college-post college daughters, considers it a privilege and to meet other students and parents along the same road.   After teaching high school and college students for years, her commitment to helping them with topics most schools can't cover is the light that drives her.  

Holly Powers, Attorney-At-Law (Jameson & Powers, P.C.) has been actively practicing law since 1985 and is a shareholder with the law firm of Jameson & Powers, P.C.  The firm specializes in transactional law, health care law, and general business law.  Holly has taught students precepts concerning the legal world for over 10 years.  With 4 children, she understands what teens need to know and has a passion to help others faced with teens and aging parents.  

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