Helping Your Teen Feel Safe to Make Mistakes


Helping Your Teen Feel Safe to Make Mistakes

As a parent of a teen, you know that they make mistakes. This is a normal part of any learning process, and learning from their mistakes can help your teen both now and in the future. However, in order to learn from their mistakes, your teen needs to feel safe to make them. This helps them to own up to their mistakes, make changes, and try again.

Sustain Recovery believes that parents play an important role in a teen’s development. As a parent, you can create both structure and flexibility that help your teen feel safe to make mistakes, learn, and grow. In this manner, you can guide your teen to a better future where they can feel okay about making mistakes and move forward.

Why It Is Important for Your Teen to Feel Safe to Make Mistakes

As a parent, you know that your teen is in the midst of developing. They are growing mentally, emotionally, and socially. Therefore, this is a critical time in their life to learn and grow into who they are going to be as adults. However, this age also comes with many ups and downs.

Fortunately, helping your teen to feel safe to make mistakes can help. When your teen feels such safety, they can let down their guard in a number of ways. They can admit when they are confused or unsure about something. This opens up a moment for you to help them learn and grow from these challenges, rather than feeling judged or embarrassed for not having it all figured out.

Ultimately, helping your teen to feel safe about such things as making mistakes or being unsure about something provides you more access to support them. When they feel safe with you, they will come to you with issues they are having or after they have made a mistake. This enables you to listen, guide, and support them while helping them to understand that mistakes are a part of life and learning.

How to Help Your Teen Feel Safe to Make Mistakes

As a parent, you know that your teen benefits from the structure and support you provide. While it can be difficult, you can help them feel safe while enforcing the necessary structure and discipline. This can be done by listening, guiding, focusing on the positive, and providing space.


For your teen, feeling safe to share and open up begins with you listening to them. When you listen, you show them that you want to hear what they have to say and that you value their thoughts and feelings. While it can be difficult not to jump in with your thoughts, listening can make a substantial impact on your teen feeling safe, including feeling safe to own up to mistakes.

When your teen makes a mistake, they are likely embarrassed and feel negative about it. If they believe that you are there to listen and support them, they are more likely to feel safe and confident coming to you for advice and support. Additionally, listening to them helps your child build skills like admitting and owning up to mistakes in a bigger social construct. Therefore, providing a safe space offers benefits for your teen far beyond the walls of your home.


Along with you listening to them, your teen will look to you for assistance. However, taking over and telling them exactly what to do can seem like interfering with a teen who is exploring their independence. Guiding your teen means listening and assisting them while allowing them to explore for themselves. This provides support and care, giving them enough space to grow and learn within a safe and supported environment.

Focus on Positive Outcomes

The adolescent years of development often come with many difficulties for you as a parent too. This may include experiencing more risk-taking behavior, a need for independence, and conflict between you and your teen. It can be difficult to see and focus on the positive outcomes, but it is essential in helping them to feel safe.

Examples of focusing on positive outcomes include complimenting them for things they have done well or even pointing out positive changes they have made. For example, if your teen shared their emotions well, you could point out that they have really gotten better at opening up and working through difficult feelings.

When you focus on these positive outcomes, it can help your teen to feel safe. This is because they see clearly that you are not solely pointing out or noticing negative moments. Parenting is a balance. Therefore, it is necessary to both support positive outcomes and notice negative behaviors that need to be adjusted.

Providing Space

There are times when your teen will need space to feel safe. At Sustain Recovery, we believe that teens need time to think things through. While the amount of time and space will vary for each teen, proving space will help your teen know that they can have time to process things when needed. This will help them to feel safe emotionally, knowing they will not be pushed to talk or share until they are ready.

Parents of a teen who has struggled with mental health and addiction are commonly frustrated – and for a good reason. However, part of growing up is learning to own up to mistakes and make changes. Feeling safe to make mistakes helps your teen to do this. At Sustain Recovery, we know that parents play an important role in a teen’s life when they are recovering from addiction, trauma, or mental health challenges. We offer multiple levels of care that incorporate improved awareness and a variety of skills that help teens to heal and move forward successfully in their lives. To learn more about our programs, call (949) 407-9052 today. We look forward to hearing from you!