So what I really meant was…
“Why don’t you talk to the other driver and see if the passengers are okay. I’ll look up the number for the insurance company for you.”
Focus on what to do rather than what went wrong. Particularly in situations where the incident will have its own natural consequences, the lesson is powerful enough without the added burden of lectures and recriminations from you.
If the driver is your child, make sure you let him or her handle the phone calls — supervised if necessary — and pay for any increased car insurance premiums. Those are life lessons that a young adult should not be shielded from.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD