Adolescence is a difficult time in an individual’s life, and a part of that phase of development is making mistakes. As a teenager, you can be self-righteous and believe that you know everything, but you don’t. Part of rebelling against your parents is because you want to separate from them. You’re establishing your unique identity. Part of becoming who you are is finding peers who understand you. Along the way, you might make friends with people who aren’t good influences. You may have difficulty in school because of any mental health challenges you’re experiencing. Later on, you could become a mental health advocate because of your experiences, but it’s painful for now. Perhaps you’re dealing with anxiety or panic attacks. Maybe you have depression or suicidal ideation. Some teens have mood dysregulation because of hormonal changes. Additionally, some mental health disorders appear during the teens years. Due to the different challenges that adolescents face, it can be tough to navigate these years. There will be a lot of mistakes during this time, but that’s okay. Here’s how you can learn from the mistakes that you make during your teens.
Be gentle with yourself
As a teen, it’s important to remember that you’re trying your best with the information you have about the world. You’re still learning about how to function and interact with the people around you. You’re becoming the person you’ll be for the rest of your life and formulating your identity. That can happen through experimentation, trying different hobbies or interests, and having different friends. You might think you’re interested in music, and then the next day, you put down the guitar and want to be a politician. It’s okay to change your idea of who you want to be or how you want to achieve your goal. It’s also crucial to remember that regardless of what you’re going through, there are people that care about you. It’s okay to try different things and hang out with a variety of peers. If you make a mistake and hurt someone along the way, you can apologize and try to make amends.
Saying and doing things we don’t mean
Everyone puts their foot in their mouth sometimes, but adolescents have less impulse control than others. It’s not something that they’re doing on purpose. In this stage of development, a person is struggling to regulate their emotions. So they might say or do things they don’t mean out of anger or limited impulse control. It’s important to forgive yourself if you engage in that behavior. If you’re the parent of a teen, know that your teenager is trying their best. It’s also an opportunity for them to learn if they lash out in anger at you or their friends. They’re trying to cope with mood swings, and that can be emotionally exhausting. Try to remember that they’re doing the best that they can with the emotional tools they have, and that’s all they can do. As a parent, you can be there to show them how to calm their anger and express themselves without hurting others.
Maintaining friendships during adolescence
Sometimes people have lifetime friends, and other times they grow apart. There are times in high school where you may drift apart from a friend, and that could be painful. You might fall in with another crowd, and in the process, hurt a childhood friend. It’s okay to drift apart from others, but it’s not acceptable to be cruel. If you say something hurtful to a person that you’re no longer friends with, it’s important to apologize. You can learn from your mistakes rather than simply lashing out and not dealing with the consequences of your actions. You also might become friends with someone and regret associating with them. That person may not share your values. That person isn’t helping or empowering you. Maybe they led you toward dangerous things, and that’s not okay. It’s important to remember that friendships can be long-term, or they might be fleeting. Just because you chose to be friends with someone and it didn’t work out doesn’t mean you did something wrong.
Talking about adolescent challenges in therapy
Adolescence is not an easy time. You could benefit from seeing a mental health professional discuss the challenges of being a teen. It can help to start by talking with the school counselor or social worker. After that, you can explore outside resources, such as a private individual therapist. You can do that online or in your local area. But, it’s critical to discuss the idea of seeing a therapist with your parents. They need to be aware of your choices, and they can help you find the right counselor for you. If you’re a teenager, remember that you’re bound to make mistakes. It’s a part of the process of growing up. If you’re the parent of a teen, hang in there. Your teenager will make mistakes, but it’s crucial that they have you as a guiding force in their life.