When your child reaches his preteen years, it is also the time you have to tweak your parenting skills a bit. After all, your child is not a little kid anymore. You can deal with him the way you did when he was just two or six or ten years old.
Aside from the physical changes you see, you’ll notice that your child was far from that little angel some six or seven years ago. He could get moody a lot. He’d be stubborn, would easily speak out his mind and assert a little independence now and then. Additionally, you’ll have to start thinking about dealing with preteen and teen issues like friends, dating, work and even getting his car.
In preparation for your kid reaching the stage of puberty, here are five of the most common mistakes parents do when parenting tweens and teens.
- We read too many parenting books on teens and expect the words in the pages to translate into our realities.
Every family is different, that’s a fact. What parenting methods worked for the authors of various parenting books may not work for you and your family. Parenting doesn’t come with a yardstick by which you measure your skills and abilities as a parent. You have to trust your instinct when it comes to it.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with reading parenting books. But use the knowledge you gained as a perspective on what’s it like to be parents to kids who are transitioning from childhood into adulthood. Don’t get disappointed with yourself and your children when you try the things you read from its pages and they turn out to be failures.
2.We either over discipline or under discipline our tweens and teens.
Sensing that their children are changing not just physically, some parents crack down on every single misstep they do. Others are afraid to show any adverse reactions to how their teens act for fear that they will push them away.
Finding the equilibrium between giving teens their freedom and setting up their limitations is a role every parent must do. Emphasizing obedience too much might put them in line, but you’ll also demean their decision-making abilities, an essential tool they’ll need to be independent adults. Too little discipline is also not beneficial for your teens who still need the structure you can give as they find their places in this world.
“By insisting on absolute control, parents can foster an unhealthy dependency in the growing teenager: ‘I learned to do whatever I am forcibly told,'” said Carl E. Pickhardt, PhD.
- We fuss about the little stuff.
We don’t need to break our fuses with our teenage daughter or son’s choice of clothing or the way they’re styling their hair or even their accessory picks. If you feel like talking to them about it, though, do. Finding common ground on these matters is the key to setting things down with your teen. Allow them to exercise their decision-making skills and let them learn from their own mistakes. It’s part of growing up.
- We ignore the big guns.
However, if you feel like your teens are in trouble, they most likely are. Call it a parent’s intuition. Do you see signs your tween or teen’s into vices like smoking or, worse, is doing drugs? Feel like he’s keeping bad company? Or is your teen becoming secretive and a bit moody lately? Don’t ignore these red flags. Talk to them in a gentle and non-judgmental way. Having an open companionable relationship between both parties help a lot, so nurture this kind of rapport with your kids even before they reach their teenage years.
“The alternative to nagging is to develop a relationship that communicates to your teen, ‘You are enough.’ Young people need to feel heard and understood—to know that parents support, not judge them,” said Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD.
- We always expect the worst from our tweens and teens.
Most parents almost always expect their teenagers to have some loose screws during this stage.
But having negative expectations for your teenage son or daughter means you are setting them up for failure. As one study showed, teens whose parents expected the worse in them ended up doing that!
Instead of setting your eyes on your teenager’s “bad” deeds, why not focus on the positive things he has – his interests, talents, hobbies, and the like? He may not be that cherubic little boy anymore who hangs on to your every word, but it isn’t too late to learn something new from your child.
“Parents should also help their teens to set realistic expectations and keep things in perspective,” said Sara Villanueva, PhD. “If we allow our children to fall, they can learn from their mistakes (called natural consequences) and pick themselves back up.”
With all the changes they’re going through, teens need your parental love and care more than ever. They’ll get angry at your authority, sure, but you’re the solid ground they tread on as they navigate these most trying years of their lives.