How was your relationship with your parents when you were a teenager? Chances are, it was pretty rocky, especially with all the hormones flowing through your veins. They probably did and said things that sent you into an angry rage, and you may have competed with yourself to see how loud you could slam the doors in your house. Only when they came off the hinges would you have won the battle, though you were probably grounded as a result. Pesky parents! And then the years passed, and you had children of your own. “I will never be like my parents” you probably told yourself, and yet, as your kids grew into teenagers themselves, you have no doubt kicked yourself for saying the very same things your parents told you.
And so to this article. We will list a number of unhelpful things that parents say to their teenage children. You may have said some of these things yourself, or you may remember these phrases from your own experiences as a teenager. It can be hard enough communicating with your teenager during these awkward years anyway, so do yourself a favor (and your kids) and avoid saying some of these unhelpful comments.
- When I was your age…
You are probably going to end the line with some words of wisdom, and admittedly it may be useful. On the other hand, you may make the unfortunate mistake of assuming your child is just like you were, which they aren’t. They are an individual with their own thoughts and feelings, and they are living in a time that is markedly different from that in which you grew up. So, think before you finish the line, and consider whether your wisdom is worth a dime, or on the other hand, perhaps isn’t.
- I’m sick of you
Okay, so there will be times when you are annoyed at their behavior, but hopefully, not at the person, they are underneath that. Telling your child you are ‘sick of them’ is hurtful and you are guaranteed to hurt their feelings. There are better ways to deal with a difficult teenager than sweeping statements, and while a school for troubled teens may be the answer in some cases, you have to expect some behavior problems during their teenage years. Of course, we are assuming it’s their behavior that’s the problem. If you have any other issues with your child, you should sit down with them and talk about things sensibly; otherwise, you will be the one suffering from resentment.
- Grow up!
Perhaps your teenager is being difficult and throwing a tantrum, or they may be more interested in following pursuits that you consider childish. Either way, telling them to grow up is not going to help matters. While your teen wants to be taken seriously, and yes, treated like an adult, there will be times when they will behave and do things that still befit their young age. They will grow up soon enough when they leave home and head for college, so don’t force or assume they are ready to give up childish ways just yet.
- Don’t leave me
You wanted them to grow up a moment ago, but as soon as they consider college or leaving home, you are going to regret wishing they would grow up. It can be difficult to watch your child leave home, and cutting the ties will hurt. Still, you can help them from afar, despite the understandable worries you will go through. So, don’t put a guilt trip on them. Needy mothers do this up and down the country, and some children give in, doing what their parents want, rather than fulfilling their own desires and dreams. And that is a great pity!
- I’m too busy
You’re busy, we get it, but don’t be too busy to talk to your child. It’s rare for a teenager to pluck up the courage to talk to their parents anyway, especially over serious issues, so you need to pay attention if they come to you. Remember too, that their while their worries may not appear serious to you, you aren’t living inside their head. The world of a teenager is rife with anxiety, with issues around relationships, bullying, and educational matters. Do the right thing. Sit down with them, listen patiently, and give them the time they need to air their problems and feelings.
- Because I said so
“Mom, can I go out tonight?”
“Because I said so!”
Cue slammed door and words you didn’t know your child knew the meaning of. “Because I said so” is not a reasonable response to anything, even if you have a good reason for saying so. And therein lies our point. If you have a reason, let them know what that is, instead of yet another sweeping statement that is both confusing and frustrating for your child. Still, examine yourself and your fears as well. Even saying ‘no’ can be detrimental to your child unless you have a legitimate concern. Perhaps saying ‘yes’ with a few sensible boundaries is the better answer to your child’s question. Why? Because we said so!
- Stop being weird
In some ways, teenagers are weird, and that’s okay. They are still in that awkward transition phase from child to adult, and they will do and say things that will completely confound their parents. On the other hand, they may not be being weird at all. They may do and say things that are perfectly within reason for who they are as a person, and are befitting of the world they live in. So, whether it’s the way they dress or the way they express opinions, don’t call them weird. You will only aggravate them, and they will consider you condescending and rude. And besides, as the parent, you will do and say things that appear weird to them, but that’s okay too. We are all different, and there are times you need to let your child express themselves, in the same way you have the liberty too. We don’t always grow out of our ‘weird’ ways, either!
Is there anything you have said to your children and later regretted it? Do you remember the dumb things your parents said to you? Let us know. We don’t always get it right, but we can improve our relationships with our children if we think before we speak sometimes, which, after all, is the same advice you would give to your kids anyway!