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Many teens feel like they are expected to be perfect and feel shame when they're not

Posted at 9:54 PM, Nov 12, 2021

LifeLine for Youth is a family counseling and treatment center for troubled youth struggling with drug-use, school failure, family conflict, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, pornography problems and anything else that is getting in the way of them being happy and successful.

Shane Petersen, CEO of LifeLine for Youth, has more than 30 years of experience in the field, and says he believes it's more important for a parent to be an ally than a friend to their kids.

He says you want to be a resource and support that your children can come to for help navigating the challenges of life.

Petersen says it's important to have open communication without shame. "My experience with many teens in Utah is a a sense that they are expected to be perfect and feel shame for their imperfections," says Petersen.

So how can parents "parent without shame"?

Don't be afraid to apologize to your children or acknowledge your own imperfections without self-shame.

The consistent message needs to be "I love you no matter what!" If your teen tells you about a poor choice they made, like drinking alcohol, vaping or cutting school, that's a good thing. It's not good that it happened, but it is an opportunity to talk.

Petersen says to avoid the following messages that create shame:

  • Avoid reacting with panic, fear, anger
  • Avoid statements like, "What is wrong with you? What were you thinking?"
  • Avoid name calling: "You're such an idiot!"
  • Avoid sending the message that they are a waste of time, or you don't have time to "deal with them"

Focus on more positive communication, find solutions together. Be an ally.

  • "Tell me what happened."
  • "How do you feel about what happened?"
  • "What can you do differently next time you are in that situation?
  • "What can I do to help you?"

LifeLine for Youth services include 24 hour care Residential Treatment, Day Treatment, and Intensive Outpatient/ After School Program.

You can reach them at 801-936-4000 or by visiting their website lifelineforyouth.com.