Here is Part 2 of 10 mistakes that parents of teens can avoid
If you have missed Part 1 of this post check it out here
Do not aim to be your teen’s BFF
Your teen will not want to share everything with you, always. They want the independence to decide what they want to share with you. You might want to be their friend, but they want you to be the parent. Remember your teen years. I didn’t have authorities’ parents, I shared most of my life events with my parents during teenage but I have a better relationship with them because they always kept the parent status intact. They gave me the right guidance that was needed at that time and did not tell me what I would have wanted to hear. Today as a parent I value their parenting approach at the given circumstance or situation.
Do not be too critical
Avoid being too critical of your teen’s mistakes. But that doesn’t mean you will not correct their mistakes the right way. And the right way to do it is to offer constructive criticism. Most of the time when you will give advice to your teen, you will find him rolling his eyes. This is a typical teen behaviour. So, it is important that you choose the right words and the right time to guide your teen. Do not nag, make your opinion known. If you are discussing school grades with your teen, you will have to be gentle. Appreciate them for their efforts but also insist to put in more hard work to improve themselves. However, understand that constructive criticism is different from dealing with your teen regarding breaking a rule or any serious violation. You have to set limits and if your teen is used to receiving constructive criticism since a young age, he surely understands the difference. He will then look at you as a guide and not a parent who is always correcting him.
Do not compare
Now, this is one thing you should avoid as a parent at any age but need to be extra conscious about this once your child is pre-teen or teen. Avoid this particularly among siblings. Never say, your older brother was not like this, he would finish his work on time etc. Treat your teen as an individual.
Do not violate the privacy
How much is too much? This question will plague the mind of parents of teen. How much do we trust? Should we check their phones? Should we track their internet activity? In today’s day of technology, which is the right way to keep an eye on your teen but not to lose his trust is one pestering question for every parent. I believe in respecting their privacy. I am sure the trust that we instil and the conversations regarding rules at home will make them think twice before making a wrong decision. Giving them the freedom to make some independent decisions and trusting them completely regarding those versus making few non -negotiable rules will help maintain the right balance.
e.g. giving them the liberty to attend a party versus the parent deciding on the curfew time is a good way to make them believe that you trust them and that will make them act more responsibly.
Do not be hard on yourself
I read somewhere, ‘Parenting is not a skill, it’s a relationship’. And, how true is that! No parent is perfect. So, stop trying hard to be one. Both the parent and the child will make mistakes. It’s important that you be kind to yourself and not beat yourself for making any mistake. We need to keep working on our relationships and the best way is to apologize and move on.
I have tried to encompass a few of the communication mistakes that we can avoid. If you have anything to add do share your experiences in the comments.