Expert Parent Advice

Top 3 Parenting Mistakes for Tweens and Teens

As a parent of two teenagers, I know that raising teens and tweens can be scary.  One day you wake up and you’re no longer the center of their world.  Suddenly, they’re more interested in their friends and may start acting a bit rebellious. Now, instead of you being the one they turn to for advice, you don’t know a thing!

I’m Amy McCready with Positive Parenting Solutions, and I’m proud to partner with Kids ‘R’ Kids for the Expert Parenting Advice Series.  Today, we’re talking about the top three parenting mistakes we make with tweens and teens.

1.  Too much"ordering, correcting and directing.” Did you finish your homework?  Hurry up – you’re going to miss the bus!  How many times have I asked to you to hang up your wet towel?

No one wants to be bossed around and "ordering, correcting and directing" is a guaranteed way to get your tween or teen to shut down.  

Before barking orders, ask yourself the question “How would I feel if someone made this same request of me?” 

Instead, focus on using your calm voice, and, instead of “ordering,” try “inviting cooperation”: “I’m slammed with work tonight.  Anything you can do to help with the dinner cleanup would really make a difference for me tonight.”  Nine times out of ten, the teen will lend a hand!

Instead of ”directing,” (“You need to get that project finished!”)  try, “What are your plans for finishing your project this week?”  It allows your teen to think it through and demonstrates that you have faith that she has a plan in place.  (If not, it allows her to save face as she quickly develops one!)

2.  Exerting too much control.  Intellectually, we know that part of the normal development process for teens is to separate from us, but that scares parents to death!  Instead of respecting the child’s need for greater autonomy, most parents clamp down and try to exert even more control, which only escalates power struggles!

As scary as it can be, look for opportunities to give your teen MORE responsibility and decision- making opportunities. 

Be reasonable with curfews and privileges.  Demonstrate faith in your teen by giving a little more rope – but within your comfort zone.  Be very clear about the responsibilities that accompany his or her privileges, and be sure to reveal consequences in advance. 

Involve your teen in family decisions and problem-solving as appropriate.  If the chores aren’t getting done, sit down and brainstorm solutions to solve the problem and agree on a plan you all feel good about.  That’s going to be much more effective than the “it’s my way or the highway” approach.

There is another big mistake frequently made by parents of tweens and teens, and it contributes significantly to power struggles and erodes the relationship.  To learn more about the third parenting mistake, check out the interactive that goes along with this video.

For ongoing solutions to your parenting challenges, visit us often at Kids 'R' Kids for Expert Parenting Advice.

I’m Amy McCready for Kids ‘R’ Kids, and I’ll see you next time!