Mistakes Parents Make With Teenagers

Teenagers are not typically the most talkative of people. Their natural reticence to open up means they become something of a closed book while they try on new behaviours and try to discover who they are. To this end, parents and guardians tend to let them get on with it and take a big step backwards to give them space. However, there is a fine balance. Teenagers who become lost can develop a dependency on limited thoughts or activities that provide a sort of mental safehouse – and this can even lead to addictions (see effects of addictions in teenagers for more information). Now, let’s look at some of the mistakes parents make with teenagers.

Picking up on the small stuff & ignoring the big stuff

Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook (in fact, that’s a lie, the internet is awash with guidance, you’re actually reading some right now!), and we can all only try to do our best by our teenage sons and daughters. But giving them a hard time about their choice in clothes or about their disorderly bedrooms is only going to drive a wedge between you that will make dealing with the bigger stuff even harder. 

The big things could include talking about their career prospects and overcoming any perceived barriers between where they are now in life and where they want to be. They could secretly harbour many desires regarding their direction in life, all of which would more than likely benefit from parental guidance, but by sweating the small stuff and ignoring the big stuff, you’ll never find out.

Too much or not enough discipline

If you raise your child with too much discipline, they risk potentially missing out on developing their own problem solving skills. They will almost certainly miss out on realising and building upon any leadership skills. If you make all the decisions for them, there’s nothing left for them to do but show up and keep their mouth shut. Conversely, by providing too little discipline, your teenager’s personality could stray from acceptable social behaviours – or to put it boldly, they could go off the rails. 

Decide your core values, speak about house rules and why they are in place, and chat with your teenager every day to ensure there is an open line of communication at all times. 

Last tip… don’t expect the worst in all things 

Your teenager is going to make as many mistakes as you did in your teenage years. And if you’re honest, you probably had moments where you weren’t exactly a shining cornerstone of society. But you made it. You learned from your mistakes and you carried on. It was character building. A little disorientating at times, sure, but you survived. Now it’s your teenagers turn to crack some eggs before they can make their own life omelette. If you approach every conversation with the expectation that you’re about to be disappointed, your teenager will pick up on your mood and will likely stop telling you things. And you don’t want that.

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