Common Mistakes Parents Of Teens Should Avoid
Your children are entering their adolescence years and parenting is becoming more complicated. You may feel worried that your teens are no longer running to you when they get hurt. Time-out corner is now useless when dealing with a son that misses his curfew. As children reach their adolescence and begin a dramatic transformation, parents need to change their parenting skills as well.
However, beware that your children may still need a lot of patience and understanding on your part as they mature. It is not uncommon for parents to get exhausted when dealing with their teens’ mood swing and erratic behavior. Parents will encounter a lot of changes in their kids’ behavior as they advance through their adolescence. Thus, it is important for parents to extend their patience. Know what are the common teen parenting mistakes and how to avoid them as you guide your teens in their most difficult developmental stage.
Mistake No. 1: Anticipating for the Worst
Teenagers are often seen with a bad rap according to Richard Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. For many parents, raising a teen is a great ordeal. They think that their children now become an unpredictable beast beyond their control. Anticipating for the worst should be avoided as this attitude would lead to unhappy parent-children relationship.
Lerner says that parents often give their teens only two options: be good or be bad. Teens feel that they can only be good if they abstain from bad things such as being in the company of objectionable crowd or smoking. However, raising teens with negative expectations can lead to teens to develop the bad habits parents fear the most, says Lerner. A study undertaken by Wake Forest University showed that teens with parents who see them as prone to develop risky behaviors had greater chance of developing these behaviors one year thereafter.
Lerner advises parents to pay attention to the interests and hobbies of their children, although these things may seem difficult to comprehend. This could open a new opportunity for parents to connect with their teens and get to know them better.
Mistake No. 2: Refer to Parenting Books
It is a pity that some parents do not follow their instincts and turn instead to so-called parenting experts for advice. Things could go awry when parents look up to parenting books for advice, says Robert Evans, EdD, executive director of the Human Relations Service, Wellesley, Mass. Evans is the author of Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Child Rearing. Evan warns that books cannot substitute for innate parent skills. Recommendations that do not suit the unique lifestyle of parents could make them less confident and more anxious when dealing with their teens.
Parents should only refer to parenting books and articles to gain perspective on things like confusing behavior, but they should not expect to find the ultimate solution to their problems on teen parenting. It is better to spend more time talking with children and spouse to get a clearer picture of one’s family concerns.
Mistake No. 3: Be a Control Freak
If you do not like the clothe or hairstyle of your kids, think twice before intervening. There are modes of self-expression that may seem objectionable but are not harmful to your kids. If that’s the case, it is better to allow your teens to make their own decisions. Parents should also not strive to always protect their teens from life’s challenges and disappointment, for this would deprive them of opportunities to learn from their mistakes. Juts hold back and let your kids know that you are there when the need for your assistance arises.
Mistake No. 4: Dismissing Serious Problems
If your teens are showing signs of alcohol or drug abuse, pay attention. Parents need to intervene immediately on first signs of substance abuse before it gets worse, warns Amelia M. Arria, PhD, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Youths aged between 13 and 18 are of great need of parental guidance. It is wrong to consider alcohol drinking a rite of passage simply because almost everyone did experience it during his or her teenage years. However, the risks associated with substance abuse are more serious nowadays.
The number of drugs and narcotics has risen. Cough remedies such as DXM (dextromethorphan) have become the new alternatives to illegal narcotics. DXM is easy to procure, thus parents should not ignore its potential danger. According to several studies, between 7% and 10% of U.S. teens have gotten high by using cough medicines. Although these remedies are generally safe when prescriptions are followed, they can lead to hallucinations and disassociation when taken in high amount, making them as dangerous as PCP or ketamine (Special K). Other side effects are unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Keep an eye on the unexplained changes in the behaviors of your child. Declining grades and poor physical appearance could be signs that your children are swaying from a healthy lifestyle. The presence of packs of cough medicines among your child’s belongings, missing bottles of cough medicines in the house and the presence of unfamiliar pills, rolling papers, pipes or matches in your child’s room are signs of drug abuse. Pay serious attention to these signs. Be sure to keep prescription drugs in a secluded area in the house. Know what are the medications you have in the house and the concentration or amount in each bottle or package.
Mistake No. 5: Impose Harsh Rules and Punishment
There are some parents who crack down every time their teen get something wrong. These parents always impose punishment, turning their homes into a battle field. On the other hand, some parents are reluctant to punish their kids for fear of losing their trust. They strive to be cool and avoid inflicting disciplinary actions.
The first approach to parenting aims for obedience. It is founded on the principle of raising kids in a strict household, which deprives kids the opportunity to develop leadership and problem-solving skills.
However, omitting disciplinary measure is not good either. Teens need fair rules that would guide them as they explore the world of adults. Parents have the obligation to set these rules and define the core values of their households. Establishing these rules is important in raising children who can govern themselves properly.
Show Your Teens That You Love Them
It is not easy to raise teenagers, especially those who resist parental authority. However, parents must remind themselves that they can make a huge difference in the life of their teens. Most teens are eager to spend extra time with their mother and father. Teens also are likely to choose friends who exhibit their parents’ good values. Therefore, parents must spend quality time with their teens. This would make teens feel that they can always count on their parents.