10 Regrets I Don’t Want My Teen to Have

Because one thing I know for sure, teenagers aren't too young to have big regrets in life...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 10 Regrets I Don’t Want My Teen to Have

It’s been said that technically there’s no such thing as regret – only lessons. Whether you call it a regret, a mistake, or a lesson learned – we all have them. They’re simply part of life.

As a mom of teenagers, I can’t dictate my kids’ lives to such a degree that they never have regret – it’s bound to happen. I can’t protect them from making every mistake – it’s how they learn. And, I can’t hold their hand to make sure every life lesson sinks in – there are some things they need to learn on their own.

But there are a few regrets I hope they don’t have. Regrets that perhaps I can help them avoid. Because if there’s one thing I know for sure, my kids aren’t too young to have major regrets in life… and, if I can help it, I don’t want them going through life struggling to get past “the past.”

Here are 10 regrets I don’t want my teen to have. 

10 Regrets I Don’t Want My Teen to Have


#1 Spending Too Much Time in Their Bedroom

Ask nearly any parent of teens and they’ll likely agree… their teen spends far too much time in their bedroom. And even though deep down inside we know our kids need this time – time to figure out a few things on their own, time to ponder their future, or heck, just time to unwind, dive into a video game, listen to music, or Facetime friends, it means a whole lot less time experiencing life.

Endless hours in their bedroom means less with friends and family, and less time doing sports, clubs, hobbies, or a job where they could be learning something valuable, going on adventures, or doing something they love. 

#2 Not Spending Enough Time with Friends

School, studying, extracurriculars, a job, an internship, obligations at home – teenagers have a lot to juggle in their lives. And with the bar for college entrance being raised with every passing year, trying to get into college has become most teenagers’ full-time job.

Most parents I know feel the heavy burden their kids have to bear, and their only wish is that their kids find balance in their lives and spend a lot more time with their friends being, well… a kid, because our teens are far too young to be this serious.

#3 Not Putting Enough Effort Toward School & Grades

Nothing frustrates parents more than seeing their teen dismiss school, homework, or blow off studying simply because they don’t see the value. It’s not that we want our kids to become so narrowly focused that studying and homework is all they do, but putting forth a solid effort, really trying to do their best, and, most importantly, seeing the fruits of their labor come to fruition, is a feeling we want our kids to have.

And, considering a recent poll of high school seniors revealed that their #1 regret was not putting forth more effort into school and not working harder to get better grades and a higher ACT/SAT score, take it from those who have been there – this is one regret our teens should (at least) try to avoid.

#4 Taking the Path of Least Resistance

So often teenagers view life through a narrow lens. It’s easy for them to skip the hard stuff in life and take the easy path – not necessarily because they’re lazy, but simply because they don’t see the value or understand the full implication of their decisions.

Rather than taking the long, hard, bumpy (often most rewarding) road, it’s easier for them to take the path of least resistance. But what they don’t know is that life is more of a marathon than a sprint… there’s a ton to be gained by skipping the easy route.

#5 Following in the Footsteps of Others

The teenage years are filled with self-doubt. Our kids are figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and how they want to live their lives. Rather than standing on their own two feet, it’s sometimes easier for them to follow in the footsteps of others who they think have it all figured out.

Most parents want their kids to forge their own path. Whether it’s pursuing a sport because they truly love it, joining a club that interests them, or choosing a college major that inspires them, all we want for our kids is to unapologetically blaze their own trail, without regrets.

#6 Not Listening to Parents’ Sound Advice

Teenagers are notorious for thinking they know everything. So often, they don’t want, need, or value our advice. But it turns out we know a bit more about life than they think we do and, one day down the road, there’s a good chance they’ll figure that out – hopefully before they make a potentially poor life-altering decision that could harbor harsh regret.

#7 Not Spending More Time with Family

When you’re a teenager, friends take center stage in your life, and family time doesn’t hold the same value as it did when you were younger. In fact, for some teens, spending time with family feels more like a chore.

But, in time, our teens’ views about family may change. As grandparents pass away, aunts and uncles grow older, siblings move out of the house, and parents begin to age, our kids will eventually begin to realize just how important family is. 

#8 Caving into Negative Peer Pressure

 Whether it’s a subtle nudge to encourage our kids to skip class or cheat on a test, or a blatant attempt to lure our kids into getting plastered on a Friday night or diving into drugs, negative peer pressure is a powerful force in our kids’ lives.

While it’s nearly a given that our kids will succumb to at least some form of peer pressure (nearly all teens do), every parent of teens hopes and prays that their child will call upon the mounds of lectures and life lessons they’ve pounded into their head before making a bad decision they’ll later regret.

#9 Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

As a parent, my kids (like most) spend far too much time on social media. I get it. It’s the way things are today – the constant scrolling, checking up on the latest trends, seeing what their friends are doing, and watching endless videos to pass the time.

But, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll look back at this time in their lives and realize how much of their valuable time was spent watching instead of doing.

#10 Allowing Fear and Insecurity to Dictate Decisions

Insecurity and self-doubt go hand-in-hand with the teen years. Our kids are trudging through life and making big decisions about school, relationships, college, and their futures. Decisions they may not be prepared to make. It’s a lot of pressure at such a young age.

That’s why it’s so important to instill enough self-confidence and wisdom in our kids (along with an adventurous spirit) to ensure they don’t shy away from decisions or opportunities merely because they’re scared of the outcome. We need to equip our kids with the knowledge that everything in life is unpredictable, that there aren’t any “givens” and that there’s no such thing as failure – only lessons, only detours, only opportunities to try again. 

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment