When it comes to parenting a teenager, most parents would wish there was a guidebook to help them. Teenagers are going through a lot of changes and they are also trying to find their way in this world apart from their parents. They are trying to figure out who they are as an individual, and part of this process could be “getting on their parent’s nerves.” They are not doing this intentionally, they are just trying to navigate life, and sometimes parents, even though with the best of intentions, can seem overbearing.
This is not something most parents want, they want to guide their child through their development, no matter what stage their child is in. This means that there are certain mistakes that they may want to avoid making. We have found the 10 most common mistakes parents make with teenagers.
Over Or Underestimating Problems
According to Very Well Family, one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is over (or under) estimating a problem with their teenagers. Teenagers are bound to make some mistakes or choices that they should not, it is important to have times of self-reflection on what exactly a “problem” is to you. By establishing with yourself what is (or is not) a real problem, it can help you to provide boundaries for behavior.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
As an adult, it is easy to look at our teenagers and think that their lives are so easy. We expect them to live a carefree and fun life because that is what being a teenager is “supposed” to be all about. However, this is an unrealistic expectation of teens. It is a realistic expectation to expect teenagers to be moody and a bit distant.
Since we know that being a teenager is a lot about them learning their place in the world and gaining their independence, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be rules anymore. While mom and dad may want to give their teenager a bit more freedom in the world, there still should be guidelines and boundaries in place, because teenagers are also trying to fill in their moral compass and their ability to make smart choices.
Emotions can be high in a house with a teenager, especially a teenager who is going through a hard time. It can be easy to engage back with your teenager in a heated argument, but what can often happen is it will turn into a dance, and no one will come out the “winner.” It is much better to listen to what your teen is saying, and figure out if this is a fight worth fighting, or if maybe it is time to back down for a little bit.
According to Psychology Today, trying to identify with your teen is normal, but it can be overdone and it is important to know where the line is. When a mom over-identifies with her teen this can be an invasion of boundaries and it can force your teen to turn away from you. Empathize with your teen, but don’t act like their problems are your problems.
Take Things Personally
We keep talking about hormones with teenagers, and that is because they play a large part in their development. Hormones can also make them act irrationally and say things that they may not mean. It is important to not take what your teenager says to you personally, especially if it is said in the middle of an argument. The best course of action is to let the situation cool down and have a conversation about what happened and how it made you feel.
Predict Their Future
It can be normal to worry about our child’s future, especially when they are a teen because it seems like it is right around the corner. Experts call this “catastrophic thinking,” and it can be hindering. It makes us focus on our future child, which can make us overlook the current child we are raising right now.
Talking Too Much
It cannot be said enough that listening is very powerful, especially when it comes to teenagers. Unfortunately, parents have gotten used to solving all of their child’s problems that they just do it automatically. When your child is a teen, it is important to listen and not try and jump in with solutions and lectures.
Teasing can be seen as a fun, harmless activity that some say brings parents and kids closer. While it can be done in good fun, it is important to know when to stop. Teenagers are finding themselves and defining who they are and their self-worth. Teenagers are also very sensitive, and they may act like they are fine with it, when they actually aren’t.
Don't Lose The Connection
This may be the most important one, and that is not losing the connection. According to Positive Parenting Solutions, during the transition from being a child to an adult, teenagers still need our guidance. However, it is now more child-driven.
While parents need to start giving their children more independence, it is also important to remind them every now and then that you are still there for them. Leave them little notes or take them out for a meal or some shopping once in a while to make sure the connection is still strong.
Photo: Getty Images