I am for the first time raising a teenager stage of parenthood and boy is it rough. I keep being reminded that she is only 15 and there’s more to come, but seriously, how much harder can it get? I say the wrong things. I make too many things a life lesson and I can easily get my teen to shut down in 2.2 seconds. I seriously feel some days like a failure to parenthood, but I realize this feeling is not something I have to be alone in.
Many parents feel the same way. Be it, mom or dad, we all get that parenting guilt trap going on where we feel like our teen is going to hate us forever, be scarred for life or worse. REality is, our teens are much more resilient than we give them credit for. Teens have this inept ability to forgive and move on from our mishaps as parents. Teens are built to be the same child you raised, just with a new set of thoughts.
While I venture towards this year of raising a 15-year-old, I am found realizing that these 5 mistakes every parent makes throughout the days of child rearing and it’s okay.
5 Mistakes Every Parent Makes
Making Everything a Life Lesson
If I had a quarter for everytime I open my mouth in response to something my oldest says to make it into some lesson, I would be rich! I know better than to do this, but my mama brain always goes towards making my reply something that teaches something. You know, a life lesson that my teen already knows?! I swear, sometimes her reply of, “Mom I know. I am not dumb!” just is a kick in the gut because I know she knows but still, the Mama in me must reply with some lesson versus just listening to her.
I am too Busy
This has been something I have been getting pretty bad at lately. With the higher workload, trying to make up for back due to bills and really figure out a balance between work at home, school, raising three kids, having a boyfriend and weekly appointments, I am too busy. Reality is, I am not too busy. I should never reply that I am too busy because that’s the one time your teen may actually open up to you and a reply of “I’m too busy” will shut them down in 2.2 seconds without a chance to hear them later on about the same thing.
Your Sibling is Younger and Doesn’t do This
Another mistake I make and many other parents who are raising more than one child make. It’s a reply that is meant to drive your older child to be better, do better and realize that their teen brain isn’t thinking clearly. In reality, this reply makes your teen feel like an idiot, less than and annoyed with you to the point that they don’t care and will continue doing worse than their sibling just to make you more frustrated because they can.
Your Friend isn’t a Good Person
While you may have every right to believe and feel that your teen’s friend isn’t a good person, telling your teenager that information is probably going to drive them to hang out with the said person even more. I have always been that parent who gives every child a chance, but it seems once my first born turned 14, I have been more guarded of her friendships than I ever was before. Learn to trust that your teen will make the right decisions in friendships, listen to them about EVERY friend (even the ones you think are bad) and try to hear what they are saying. This friend may not be “bad” but dealing with troubles far beyond anything you can imagine.
Can’t you Just Stop Talking
Since I am blessed with the talking gene, as I call it, from my father’s side of the family so are my children. My teen can go days without uttering many words and then have a really awesome day where she will talk and talk, meaning her brothers can’t even get a word in edgewise. This drives me bonkers sometimes because I want all three kiddos to share their thoughts, so I respond to STOP TALKING PLEASE and well that just fires back at me with a teen who shuts down 100%. Teens are dramatic about their responses, try not be the dramatic parent and think through what you say.
Teens are Dramatic. Period.
Teens are dramatic about their responses, try not be the dramatic parent and think through what you say. It doesn’t matter if you have the most intelligent human being on Earth as your teen child, those teenager years make brains work differently. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to get through to them about a bad person, a bad event or a life lesson you feel they need to hear again, your teen will not care what you have to say in that moment. Surely you can take time, as I do, to spend 15-30 minutes with your teen at the end of each day so that they have that time to open up but there’s no guarantee you will stop making these mistakes listed above.
Let’s Try to Avoid These Mistakes
We are imperfect human beings raising children who are near adults. As parents, we have to learn to let go and trust that mistakes will be made, friendships will be broken and bad things may happen, but it will work out in the end and your teen will be just as fine as you were as a teenager. If we worry less and listen more, our teens will make better decisions overall.