Are You Subconsciously Sabotaging Your Teen?

making mistakes parenting teen or tween

Four Ways We Are Getting In Our Kid’s Way

Parenting teens takes patience, endurance, and intention. Sometimes our own personal issues and experiences come into play, which can result in making critical mistakes, hindering growth and independence in our kids.

When decisions are based more on the parent’s needs rather than the teen’s development, it can prevent the much-needed opportunities for kids to learn life skills and mature into responsible adults.

This list is offered so that parents can become more aware of not only the common ways parents can get in their own way when raising their teens, but more importantly, it will give insights into why we need to stop these parenting tactics.

The more parents can learn about their relationships with their kids and how their personal needs affect their actions and reactions, the more successful they will be in managing this challenging stage of parenting.

Here are four ways parents can sabotage their teens growth and why:

Parents enable their teens.

Doing too much for your kids keeps them dependent on you and prevents them from developing independence.

Parents need to loosen the grip of control and teach their teens to do things for themselves. Teens need the opportunities to develop the life skills to be on their own and if they continue to depend on their parents for everything, they will never grow up.

Rescuing teens from challenges they face only inhibits their problem-solving abilities and reinforces the dependence they have on their parents.

It is important that we allow our kids to develop grit, resiliency, and self-reliance, and the only way to do this is to let go and allow them to struggle, sometimes feel discouraged, and even fail.

If parents save their teens from every fall, how will they learn to get back up on their own? Each time our teens manage things on their own, they will feel empowered and more confident to face the next challenge. The goal in parenting teens is to raise independent responsible adults and parents stunt this progress by enabling them too much.


Parents fall into the victim role with their teens.

Parenting teens can be an overwhelming and emotional experience, but taking things personally and playing the victim role can be damaging.

Teens can be detached, cruel, argumentative, and dramatic, so parents take a lot of the hits from the teenage angst. It’s natural to take things personally and feel wounded at times, but parents need to remember their strength and resilience are needed most at this time. The victim mindset is defeating and often distorts the relationship we have with our teens.

Although it’s important to hold teens accountable for their behavior, parents must remember they are the adult and their kids are not. Responding to hurtful and disrespectful behavior is never easy, but throwing guilt and grievances on teens is unhealthy and can create a dysfunctional relationship.

Parents don’t role-model responsible behavior.

Parents often expect their teens to do things they don’t do themselves, which doesn’t set a good example for their kids.

Parents can’t expect their teens to do what they ask of them if the parents themselves aren’t even doing it. Our actions speak louder than our words. The greatest way to teach kids life skills is by demonstrating them regularly in our own lives. Teens learn by example and parents need to practice what they preach.

Parent’s behavior greatly influences their kid’s behavior, so make sure your actions match your expectations. They way we live our lives should reflect the values we want to teach our kids.


Parents have unrealistic expectations.

Having expectations of the picture-perfect family is unrealistic when it comes to raising teens.

No family is without its challenges and it’s important to accept the unpredictable hardships that may come in raising teens despite the best laid plans. If we hold a high bar that can’t be reached, discouragement and disappointment will affect our parenting.

As much as parents want to believe in the best plans for their teens, it’s important to respond to the unpredictable changes that occur with an open mind and learn how to best navigate the new terrain. Parenting through difficult circumstances can lead to growth in our teens and ultimately make us better parents. Be flexible and willing to adapt to any problems that arise.

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One Comment

  1. Leslie Armstrong says:

    Such great info Sheryl!!! You are so wise … keep it coming.

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