When you slip up with your teenage daughter, she needs you to apologize so she can see an adult in her life find opportunities in mistakes and make amends. Apologizing to your teen allows both of you to move forward and create a different future. When you apologize, you also open the door for your teenage daughter to forgive when she's ready.
Make a list of the actions you need to apologize for down one side of a piece of paper -- maybe it was just one item or you have a history of messing up as a parent. Being real with yourself is an important first step. Consider what you've done that resulted in your teen feeling hurt and put it on the list.
Consider how your daughter felt when you did what you did. On the opposite side of your list, write down how you think your actions affected your teenager. Did she feel angry, sad, like she can't rely on you? Put yourself in her shoes for a bit. Laura Markham, child psychologist who writes at Aha! Parenting, says it can be helpful to remember you're not perfect, and neither is your teenager. This isn't about beating yourself up, it's about being honest and experiencing compassion for yourself and your daughter.
Seek support if you're not fully ready to apologize. If anger is underlying what you need to apologize about, ensure that you are ready for your teenage daughter's response. If you feel as though you're not ready to listen and make amends, talk to a coach, friend, pastor or therapist first to learn ways to apologize and do something different next time you feel angry.
Schedule some time to apologize to your daughter and get started. Ask her to listen for a few minutes and apologize for your actions. Tell her how you think it might have affected her and what you are doing to do something different in the future. For example, let her know your step-by-step plan to handle anger or prevent yelling. Ask her whether there's anything she wants to share with you and if you are correct about how your actions affected her.
Listen as she shares and ask for forgiveness when she's ready. Really take in her side of the experience and note how even though you did something hurtful, you are also taking actions to do something different now. Share that you are asking for her to forgive and release any hurt or angry feelings when the time is right. If she's not ready now, accept that and continue your plan to do differently in the future.
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