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Top Ten Mistakes That Parents Make With Teens

For all the challenges of parenting, most parents would agree that it’s the teen years that are the most difficult to deal with. Between the hormones racing around their bodies and the confusion racing around their brains, even raising the most balanced of teens can push your parenting skills to the limit. Should you find yourself struggling to raise/contain a teenager of your own, an excellent first step to take is simply learning what not to do. Here are ten of the most common teen parenting mistakes.

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Passing the Buck

Contrary to popular belief, the American school system teaches teenagers very little about the dangers associated with alcohol, drugs and sex. If you want your teen to be prepared to face such dangers, it’s therefore up to you to provide guidance. Such conversations mightn’t be particularly enjoyable but they are a vital component of teen parenting.

Mistaking Good Grades for a Good Teen

Another dangerous teen parenting mistake is to assume that good grades automatically mean a well adjusted teen. The reality is that plenty of straight A students fall victim to alcohol abuse, drug abuse and depression. While there’s certainly no denying that good grades are a positive thing, it’s important to remember that they are an indication of academic achievement and nothing else.

Offering Discipline When Help is Needed

While the importance of being an authority figure cannot be overstated, open lines of communication are equally important. This means that if your teenager has done something wrong and subsequently needs your help, they need to know that they can come to you without being judged. Finding a balance between the two isn’t easy but it’s an important balance to strive for.

Arguing Over Everything

As you’ve probably figured out by now, teenagers have a strange habit of wanting to do the exact opposite of what you tell them. It follows that if you don’t choose your battles wisely, you’re going to end up living in a war zone. Before an argument begins, always ask yourself whether or not it’s really worth it. You might be surprised by how often it really isn’t.

Giving in Too Easily

While it’s important to choose your battles wisely, it’s equally important to hold your ground when arguing about something important. Every time you give in to your teen, you are essentially encouraging them to argue even harder next time. Your teenager needs to understand that no means no.

Divided Parenting

Your teenager also needs to understand that a no from you means a no from your partner. Playing one parent off the other is the oldest trick in the book for teenagers and unfortunately, it can be surprisingly effective. Talk to your partner about the importance of displaying a united front. Make decisions together and if you disagree, try to do so in private.

No Independence

In a couple of years time, your teen is going to be expected to fend for themselves. And if you want them to be prepared, it’s important for you to offer them a certain level of independence. Wanting to keep your teen on a short lease is only natural but coddle them too much and you might find that they reach adulthood completely ill-equipped to look after themselves. Wouldn’t you rather that they make mistakes now while you’re still around to pick up the pieces?

Not Listening

One of the most common complaints about teenagers is that they never listen. Unfortunately, this is an equally common complaint about the parents of teenagers. If you want your teen to listen to you, you need to be willing to offer the same in return. This means listening to their side of the story regardless of whether or not you agree with it.

Not Getting to Know Friends

One of the many responsibilities of raising a child is keeping an eye on who they spend their time with. And never is this more important than during the teen years. Don’t underestimate the influence that a teenagers friends can have on them. Regardless of how you feel about your teenagers peers, the more you know about them the better.

Trying to be Their Friend

Finally, on the subject of your teenagers friends, it’s important to realize that you are not one of them. There’ll be plenty of time for friendship later on but what your teenager needs right now is an authority figure. When you find yourself losing that status, it’s important to take a step back and think about your role in your teens life. Your teen needs boundaries and a friend simply cannot provide them.

Martha Pattinson is a mother of two teenagers. She is a passionate blogger and indulges in blogging on parenting issues in her spare time. She has sound knowledge of language development and conducts courses on it.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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