As a parent or caregiver it can be hard watching your child go through the ups and downs of adolescence. Sometimes we want to be the “surfboard” and guide him or her away from the difficulties that are a part of growing up. But just like anyone who is learning to be a good surfer, it is important for your child to fall off, get back on and try again. When you give your child the appropriate space to make his or her own decisions and learn from the consequences of that decision, you are helping your child build resilience! This resilience will help them bounce back and accomplish difficult tasks and situations in not only school, but for the rest of their life.

Life is not a smooth road; let them deal with it (safely).

Mistakes happen and that is okay! Children need to learn how to deal with disappointment and that the decisions they make have consequences. Give your child the appropriate space to learn instead of fixing his mistakes for him.

Uncertainty is a part of life.

Don’t give your child all of the answers. Instead say, “I’m not sure,” then work together to solve the problem or figure out what you will do next. For example, if your child is nervous about a test coming up and asks you if you think she will fail say, “I’m not sure,” then brain-storm some ideas for how to handle it and how to change study habits if she does fail.

Ask “how” questions.

Asking “how” questions will guide your child to think about next steps and how she will deal with difficult situations. For example, if your child misses an assignment you can ask her how she is going to make up for it or deal with her mistake.

Problem solver!

Adolescence is full of new and sometimes difficult challenges. When your child expresses concern or worry about something, it is important to normalize those feelings and to brainstorm ways to handle the challenging or worrisome task ahead.

Value effort.

Value your child’s hard work instead of the outcome or natural ability. If your child gets an A on an assignment say, “Congratulations, I know how hard you worked on that and it paid off!” instead of, “good job! You’re so smart”. Or if your child did not do too well on an assignment, talk with him about what he can do next time to get a better grade.