This post: Annoying things your teen needs you to stop doing
So often it’s parents of teens who are the ones venting about all the annoying things their teens do.
Moody outbursts, sassy backtalk, rolling eyes and piles of clothes on their bedroom floor – when it comes to parents of teens, the list of things that annoy them about their kids is often long.
But, has anyone ever given teenagers the opportunity to weigh in on what annoys them about their parents?
Well, we did… and, you might be surprised. There are things you may be inadvertently doing that are totally annoying your teen and possibly even pushing them away. Here are 8 annoying things your teen needs you to stop doing (according to teens).
8 Annoying Things Your Teen Needs You to Stop Doing
#1 Asking So Many Darn Questions
Your teen walks in the door after hanging out with friends on a Friday night and you just can’t help yourself. “Where did you go?” “Did you go to that party I heard you talking about?” “Was there alcohol or drugs there?” “Were the parents home?” “Where did you go after that?”
It’s tempting, to say the least. After all, your ultimate goal is to make sure your child is making responsible decisions and that they’re safe. But, heads up, when it comes to annoying things your teen needs you to stop doing, this is one your teen needs you to be keenly aware of.
According to one teen, “Every time I walk in the door, I get bombarded with questions. I just wish my mom would cut me a little slack. I’d tell her more if she’d just back off a bit.”
TIP: Give your teen a little breathing room. Ask a couple of questions to show interest (and ease your mind) and then listen. They’ll be far more inclined to open up and share their world with you if you stop interrogating them. (Remember, too… don’t overreact when they do share or they’ll become tight-lipped in the future.)
#2 Saying Negative Things About Their Friends
Our kids’ friends are their world. In fact, in some cases, their friends have far more influence in their lives than we do. That’s why, when we’re unaccepting of their friends or we say negative things about them, we’re inadvertently pushing our kids away.
“Geez, I’m almost 18 years old and my parents want control over every relationship in my life like I’m in elementary school. My friends mean a lot to me and when my parents try to push them out of my life, they don’t realize they’re pushing me away, too.” ~ 17-year-old boy.
TIP: Even if we don’t accept or approve of our kids’ friends, even if we feel they’re a bad influence or don’t have our kids’ best interest at heart, we need to accept that we can’t always control who they hang out with. We need to give our kids the benefit of the doubt, strive to see the good in their friends and, above all, welcome our kids’ friends into homes and lives. The more involved we are in our kids’ lives and the more we know about the kids they spend time with, the more influence we’ll ultimately have – especially if there’s reason for concern.
#3 Turning (Literally) Everything into a Life Lesson
We hear a news story on the television about a child abduction and we start drilling our kids about what to do if they ever feel threatened by someone. Our kids recently got their driver’s license and every time they venture out on the road, we plow through every horrible scenario that could possibly happen if they take their eyes off the road for a second.
We have mounds of life experience under our belt. And, we’ve seen what can happen. We merely want to protect our kids from at least some of our biggest worries.
TIP: Our kids need us to back off of this one. Be selective with your “life lesson lectures.” Save your energy for the really important lessons (and lectures) and let your kids figure out a few things on their own. You may not realize it, but they’ve been listening all along.
#4 Tracking Their Every Move
Your teen told you where they were heading over to their friend’s house and yet, it’s been over an hour since they left the house and your handy tracking app shows they’re at some random restaurant six miles from the house. Freaked out and fearing the worst that they’re not where they said they would be, you start frantically texting and calling them to find out exactly why they’re not where they said they would be.
Chances are your desire to track your teen’s location has less to do with lack of trust and more about having the peace of mind of knowing where they are and that they’re safe. But, the teens we spoke with said they hate it. In their eyes, you lack trust in them.
“It’s embarrassing. If I’m 10 minutes late, my mom starts calling. And, what’s worse, if she can’t get a hold of me, she starts calling all my friends.” ~ 18-year-old girl.
TIP: If you feel compelled to keep digital tabs on your teen (it’s okay if you do), at the very least, don’t overreact every time they’re 10 minutes late or isn’t exactly where they said they would be. No one wants to be micromanaged – especially teenagers who are itching for more autonomy.
#5 Hyper Focusing on the Small Stuff
Wet towels on the bathroom floor, piles of dirty dishes left in the sink, and clothes ankle-deep strewn all over their bedroom floor. When you’re parenting teenagers, there’s plenty to get frustrated about. And, although nearly every gripe you have is completely legitimate and warrants, at the very least, a discussion with your teen, there are some things that simply aren’t as important as others.
“I really wish my mom would stop focusing on the small stuff like my messy bedroom and help me with some of the really big issues I have to face.” ~ 15-year-old boy.
TIP: Our teenagers are navigating a very complicated world all while their bodies and brains are undergoing massive changes. They’re trying to figure things out and, whether they admit it or not, they’re apprehensive about making the transition from “kid life” to “adult life.”
So, while we might be hyper-focused on the small stuff that irritates us to no end (yes, it’s all still important), they need us to focus on the really big stuff that scares them, worries them and holds the power to impact and influence their future.
#6 Not Accepting Them for Who They Are
Maybe your son isn’t as athletically inclined as his father was. Maybe school came easy to you and your teen struggles to land a “C” in what you consider the easy classes despite putting forth effort.
According to the teens we spoke with, one of the most annoying things they want their parents to stop doing (not only annoying but also potentially damaging) is to stop putting labels on them, stop trying to fit them into the mold you’ve created for them and stop guiding them down a path you’ve chosen on their behalf. Simply accept them for who they are.
TIP: Your teen isn’t an extension of you. They are very much their own person. They need you to love them for who they are (unconditionally) without demands, terms, or conditions.
#7 Putting Them Down Publicly
I recently had a conversation with a mom of one of my kid’s acquaintances. Despite not knowing her very well she began sharing all her frustrations, gripes and worries about her son. How he doesn’t put forth any effort toward school, how he’s lazy and unmotivated and how she feared he may not even graduate high school. As I stood there listening, I couldn’t help but wonder how her son would feel if he knew the things his mother was saying about him publicly.
Our kids aren’t perfect. They’re going to make mistakes. They going to struggle on occasion. They might even lose their way. The last thing they need is us sharing their struggles, faults or battles publicly – either to all our friends, on social media, with extended family or even with random parents (who sometimes have a tendency to gossip).
TIP: There are some things that are better kept between you and your child (or very close friends). They already feel less than perfect. Nothing will erode their confidence more than having to face a judgmental world.
#8 Expecting the Worst of Them
Not only do we sometimes fear the worst of our kids, we expect the worst. We’ve heard far too many horror stories, watched far too many movies and listened to far too many new stories about how moody, angry, rebellious and reckless teenagers are. The minute our kids hit the teen years, they’re guilty by association. We brace ourselves for the absolute worst without giving any thought to the notion that maybe our kids are actually good kids (who happen to mess up from time to time because they are learning) who are trying their best.
“Just once, I wish my dad would give me the benefit of the doubt. I’m a really good kid compared to a lot of other teenagers I know.” ~ 17-year-old boy.
TIP: Of all the annoying things your teen needs you to stop doing, this could top the list. Little frustrates our kids more than us expecting them to mess up. They need us to believe in them, have faith in their abilities and decisions, and give them the benefit of a doubt. They also need us to understand that they’re learning, growing, finding their way in life and preparing to venture out on their own.
And, along that bumpy, winding road to adulthood that happens to be filled with plenty of blind curves and detours, there are bound to be mistakes and mishaps. Bottom line, start expecting the best of your teen, not the worst of them. They might just surprise you.
What are some annoying things your teen needs you to stop doing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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