I have 3 teenagers and I have made many mistakes. My eldest daughter refused to inform me about where she was going most of the times. I had to call her cell phone and drive around like a detective trying to figure out where to find her. It was like a nightmare. I couldn’t get my son to stop playing computer games even when his O-Level examination was less than 2 months away. My relationship and communication were thrown out of the window. It took time and consultation with other parents but I was able to learn the hard way through introspection and an objective look at myself.
5 Most Common Mistakes in Parenting Teenagers
Mistake No. 1 – Not listening to your teenagers : I know it sounds silly, but many parents talk to their teenagers but they don’t listen to them. Either they are too busy and in a hurry or they don’t make time to listen.
Solution: Listen to your teenagers. Make time just to listen to them, put your newspaper down or stop what you are doing. Putting aside time for them becomes a habit and each time they have something to share with you, they know you are willing to listen. They may just want someone to listen and not necessarily a solution.
Mistake No. 2 – Busy Parents: You may find yourself completing your teenagers’ sentences because you assume you already know what your teenagers are trying to communicate. They will then feel that you are making a lot of assumptions. Hurried parents will experience hurried teenagers who will end up bottling their feelings. You may not realise that you are raising angry children.
Solution: Let your teenagers complete their sentences. Become aware of whether you are thinking of giving them solutions or listening to them completely. When they feel listened to, they get the feeling that they are important to you and they feel respected.
Mistake No. 3 – Using the word ‘Should’: This is a word that makes your teenagers feel that they have to take orders from you and they may resent their lack of options. The obedient ones may end up doing it to please you. You may get obedient children but a frustrated adult later in life. Frustrated teenagers become angry adults.
Solution: Avoid using “Should” when communicating with your children. Give them choices and consequences where possible and let them make a decision on their own.
Mistake No. 4 – Protective Parents: If you find yourself cushioning your teenagers at every opportunity to protect them from being hurt, they learn fear instead of courage. Fear stops them from making a choice to step up and make decisions.
Solution: Provide options – Allow your teenagers to make decisions. Talk to them about the various options and explain to them the possible consequences or outcome. They will learn the way to make decisions in the future.
Mistake No. 5 – Criticising your Teenagers: Ongoing criticism could be interpreted as a lack of respect for them and that could escalate into suspicions that you don’t trust them. When they don’t feel trusted, they lose confidence in themselves. They may end up avoiding you.
Solution: Catch them doing things right and compliment them sincerely. What you focus on positively expands to become habits. They will feel respected, appreciated and will tend to behave more appropriately to get more of your positive acknowledgments.