You've been an authority figure from the time your teenager was an infant, so you've probably fooled yourself into thinking you know everything. But, as your teen is quick to point out, you really don’t. Even if you are right 100 percent of the time, there's no reason to lord it over your teenager. Part of parenting teens is offering them ways to save face -- and teaching them how to reflect on their poor decisions.
Not that we'd know, but let's say your teenage daughter drives her car to a friend's house for a sleepover. Sometime around midnight, while your teenager's hanging out in the driveway with her buddies, she decides to test her ninja skills on her car's exterior. The result? A teenage size dent in the driver's side door.
Clearly, there was some poor decision-making going on. After you've calmed down (remember what we said about giving your teenager space?), ask your teenager to write a note. It may sound hokey, but the idea is to teach your teen how to self-reflect. Where did she go off-track? What would she do differently? How could she have avoided the problem? And, here's the kicker: Based on the quality of your teen's own behavioral critique, you can heighten or lessen the consequences. A great note may result in a minor grounding. Poorly done, and your teen could be getting a part-time job to pay for the repairs.