Parenting teens is hard and not every parent succeeds. Here is my list of the top 10 mistakes I have seen parents make.
10- Thinking they are almost done parenting
Some parents see adulthood as the finish line. The closer their children get to 18 the less guidance they offer. We live in a world filled with temptation, which only increase in college. Our children often need more time and guidance when they are older. Good parents spend the time.
9- Arguing with their teenager
People who argue with their bosses get fired. Learning to control your emotions and to submit to authority when you don’t agree are priceless life skills. Losing our temper or debating with an adolescent teaches all the wrong lessons. Set rules for disagreement early. Let your children have an opportunity to respectfully disagree and express themselves but enforce consequences when they do not accept your decisions.
8- Skipping family dinners
The importance of sharing dinner and conversation cannot be overstated. Have everyone put their phones away, turn off the TV and review the day.
7-Emphasizing college prep over life prep
Character is more important than education and relationships are more important than academic success. I went to community college for two years and took 5 years to get a bachelor’s degree. I came out okay. My son started at community college and was in the top third of his law school class at UCLA. Too many families sacrifice too much for the pursuit of a better school. It is almost never worth it.
6- Telling instead of parenting
Many parents tell their children not to drink, do drugs or have sex. Very few talk to their children about what to do when friends drink or use, or how to construct their lives in a moral fashion. Telling takes minutes. Parenting takes a lifetime.
5- Not hanging out with their kids.
Healthy families do things together. Good parents look for opportunities to spend time with their children instead of opportunities to get away from them. Date nights with a spouse are important, date nights with your kids can be priceless.
4- Modeling materialism
When we always have to have the best and latest we teach our children that happiness is dependent on things. Doing without, and telling our kids why, can be a powerful teacher.
3- Not teaching how to handle money
We live in a very expensive world. Our teens often have no idea of how much living costs. If our kids do not know the cost of a mortgage, car payments and insurance, food and utilities, how will they be able to choose a career path? Good parents teach their children how to spend, how to save and the importance of avoiding debt.
2- Not monitoring media
We live in a perverted and dangerous world. Parents who do not follow their children on social media, and who do not know the shows and movies their kids watch or the music they listen too are not doing their job. Once innocence is lost it is gone forever.
1- Trusting their teenager.
Wise parents do not trust their teenage children. They know where they are, what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Since we were all teens once ourselves we should know the trouble that awaits those kids who lack parental oversight.
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