Handling Failure with Teenagers

Published on by CMe



Win some, lose some
Some teenagers take failure - whether in sport, exams or relationships - in their stride. Some others sulk for about 20 minutes - a very short-term crisis. However, if your child deals with failure in either way, puberty and becoming a teenager are unlikely to have a dramatic impact on the way they continue to deal with it.

In contrast, however, if your child's misery lasts a day or two, boxes of tissues are used up and doors are slammed a lot more than you'd like, then failure and adolescence are likely to be a combustible combination, and you'll need to help her deal with her emotions before you help her deal with failure effectively.

What's the problem?
Some parents think it's natural for a seven-year-old to get angry and kick out when seemingly small disappointments occur. But unless your child learns another response, she's likely to continue to get angry and kick out at 16, with a higher level of destruction.

Some teens - young men in particular - have a less developed range of emotional expression to call on. They may feel the full range, but have more difficulty with the subtleties.

Embarrassment, irritation and disappointment are more difficult to find an appropriate response to and, for some, anger is the main emotion shown.

Expression and your teen
Your teen may have difficulty identifying what she's feeling. You probably know when she's a bit upset, tired or irritated.

While feelings are natural, you might have to help your teen articulate them. Asking: "Are you a bit upset?" may help you both to identify the type and the extent of her feelings, and to find appropriate responses.

However, there are alternatives. Some young people - boys in particular - find rigorous activity, such as sport, allows them to 'cleanse' themselves of emotion. Others may walk the dog, fish or climb, which again allows them to chew over events, situations and disappointments. If this works, then the ability to articulate emotions is still useful, but less essential.

Reassure your teen your love and support does not depend on exam grades. If your teenagers don't get the grades they expected, help them to keep it in perspective - everyone has some setbacks in life, whether it's failing a driving test or an exam. They can always do resits. Reassure them you're behind them 100 per cent, and help them to review all the options.

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Comment on this post

Mallika Padma 06/10/2010 15:33

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