Parenting Teenagers: 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

I have three teenagers and I have made all these mistakes. My eldest daughter does not want to tell me where she goes. I have to call her cell phone and drive around like a detective to figure out where she might have been. It was like a nightmare. I cannot get my son to stop playing computer even when his O-level examination is less than two months' away. My relationship and communication are thrown out of the window.

These are the mistakes I made. Listening to other parents with teenagers I realized these are the most common mistakes many parents with teenagers made. I learned the hard way.


MISTAKE NO. 1 - You don't listen 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 want a solution.

MISTAKE NO. 2 - Busy Parents -If you find yourself completing what your teenagers say because you assume you know what your teenagers want to say. They will feel that you are making a lot of assumptions. Hurried parents will experience hurried teenagers. Your teenagers will not feel listened to. They will end up bottling their feelings. You may not realised 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. They feel respected.

MISTAKE NO. 3 - Using the word 'Should' - 'Should' is a word that makes your teenagers feel that they have to do things that you like and may not be what they like. The obedient ones may end up doing it to please you. You may get obedient children but frustrated later in life, if that is not what they really want in their lives. Frustrated teenagers become angry adults.

Solution: To understand them, encourage them to articulate what they want. Be genuinely open to listen to them. Not only do they have a chance to express themselves, they also appreciate that you respect them. That way, you understand them better and they are more receptive to hear your perspectives and advice.

MISTAKE NO. 4 - Protective Parents - If you find yourself cushioning your teenagers every move to protect them from being hurt, they learn fear. 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 learn the way to make decisions in the future.

MISTAKE NO. 5 - Criticising your Teenagers - That could also mean you don't respect them and that could escalate into feelings 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 acknowledge them. What you focus expands. They feel respected, appreciated and will tend to behave even better to get more of your acknowledgments.

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