Helping your teen be resilient to what life throws her way can help pull her through tough times. Dealing with false accusations or being blamed for something she didn’t do can cause stress and anxiety in your teenager. The ensuing gossip can make life even worse. Helping your child develop methods to deal with adversity, trauma, threats and uncertainty can give her the ability to thrive in the face of these challenges.
I Own It
The first step in dealing with accusations, according to Dr. Phil, is to help your teen take ownership of the situation. Acknowledge that it happened and that there’s nothing anyone can do to undo it. Talk about what happened with your teen. Relive the situation in the safe and supportive home environment. Help her accept what happened. Don’t let her get stuck in the “I don’t want to talk about it” version. This only compounds the hurt and shame. Try not to hammer it home, either. Once she has sufficient understanding of the situation, start looking at solutions.
Hold Your Head Up
Reframing the incident with your child can help him gain perspective on the situation. Have him affirm out loud that he is a good person. His life isn’t ruined, and things aren’t that horrible. Help him change his mind from negative to positive. Go over empowering phrases, like “I am a good and thoughtful person,” to help boost his self-esteem and confidence. Have him walk with his head high and shoulders back. Let him practice looking people in the eye.
Have your teen tell you what she would like to see happen to make the situation better. Is there someone who can help clear her name or re-establish her reputation? Maybe a teacher, someone at church or, if serious, perhaps the authorities can help? Don’t let her get carried away, though. This is not a vendetta. It is simply an exercise to see if there’s any type of damage control that can be done.
Rumor Mill Shutdown
Once your child has accepted his part in the situation, the time has ended to hold his head in shame. Role play situations where he faces the rumor. Help him take his power back. There is no need to defend a rumor; walk away from it. In other words, don’t let him feel the need to react. If it’s his friends who are dissing him, encourage him to move on. Assure him there will be other friends who will like and respect him for who he is.