That scary moment when you realize your teen is drinking, your heart skips a beat and a flood of emotions rush through You.
Should you be upset, worried, guilty or a little of all of them? My hope is that this series of posts give a foundation to work from.
- Slow down!!! Take the beer away, make sure everyone is safe and give yourself some time to process. Tell your teen you need some time to think through things. How long you need is up to you. It could be 10 minutes, a few hours or the next morning.
- Share your primary concerns. Slowing down is going to let you get past the shock and anger and share what's most important. Most often it's a concern for their health, safety and future.
- Most teens are going to be in shock after getting caught. They might be feeling the weight of their actions in one moment, as they look at your face. Shame is huge here! Their shame may lead them to be very apologetic or very defensive.
What About the Shock and Anger
If you were a rancher and you found that someone was negligent and broke your fence you'd be shocked and angry. Why would you be shocked and angry? If the fence is broken the cattle aren't safe. The fence stands as a barrier keeping harm out and your cattle in. The expectation is if the cattle are in the fence there're safe.
The rancher can spend a lot of time focusing on the broken fence or he can check on his real concern, the cattle. The fence needs to be addressed but not at the expense of the cattle.
The fence around your teen is broken, that fence is trust. It's shocking to see a gaping hole in trust. It's angering to know that danger can now freely come and go. The expectation was if the trust stayed up my child is safe. The fence of trust needs to be repaired, but don't let the broken fence overshadow the purpose of the fence, your teen's health, safety and future.
Focusing on the fence (trust) instead of what's in the fence (concern for your child) leads to shame and you lose a trusted ally to repair the fence.
Am I more concerned about trust or my teen?
We'll continue this topic in part 2.
Like what you see? Want to see more? Subscribe by going to the bottom of this website, enter your email and name. Or like my Facebook page.
About Me: I'm a Christian counselor in Vancouver, WA. I specialize in treating male teens and men's counseling. Please contact me with any questions about my blog, counseling or to set up an appointment.
All information and opinions shared on this blog are for educational purposes only. Please contact me or another mental health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.