Youth is a time of growth, and it also needs to be a time for lots of learning. I’ve explained how with “4 Magic Questions” you can help your child get stronger from successes and mistakes.

Being the parent you want to be can also mean learning for you. These same four questions can transform poorly handled situations into enlightenment and resolve going forward. When you get the feeling, Well, that didn’t go well… Give yourself a quiet time-out break and ask yourself these questions, in roughly this order:

1. What happened? Who did what? What was the sequence of events?

2. Why did it happen that way? Why did it happen? What caused the result? What went wrong – or right?

3. What were the consequences? What was the impact? Outcomes? Benefits? Costs?

4. What would you do differently in the future? What lessons did you learn?

To make the lesson stick, I suggest writing down your answers.

Good things happen, and you can build on your success. Things can go wrong, too, and you can try something different next time. But you won’t learn the lesson if you don’t think about what happened. This simple exercise is the equivalent of analyzing an event after it happens.

Being young means learning from life experiences. Being a parent can be a time of learning, too.

To learn how to handle practically any parent-child situation, I recommend using this book as a resource: