55 Ways to Ruin Your Teen’s Day (Without Even Trying)

Man, we love our teens! But sometimes, the littlest things can set them off...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 55 Ways to Ruin Your Teen’s Day (Without Even Trying)

Written by: Morgan Hill

Remember those days as a mama when you could do no wrong? That sweet little face would look up to you, filled with adoration and love. “Hug!” they would exclaim and grasp your hand, pulling you to read a book to them. You’d relish in their sweet giggles, their chubby cheeks, and their tiny hand wrapped around your finger – they loved you unconditionally. 

Well, now you have a teenager…

I mean, sure, we love our kids more than life itself. And, we KNOW they love us, too.

But some days, we don’t know whether to hug them or back away slowly and run for cover.

Some days they’re just downright moody and sensitive and ticked off at the world (through no fault of their own, actually) and we feel like we’re walking on eggshells.

Some days, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t please them.

Some days, it feels like we just can’t win.

If you’re doing the best you can to keep your teen on an even keel and not set them off at every turn, you’re not alone. Ticking your teen off and embarrassing them without even trying pretty comes with the territory. Teens can be rather fickle.

Instead of getting upset, feeling guilty, or taking it all too personally, try riding out their hormonal wave in stride knowing that “this too shall pass.” In the meantime, keep this list handy so you don’t ruin your teen’s day…without even trying.

55 Ways to Ruin Your Teen’s Day (Without Even Trying)


  1. Breathe too loudly.
  2. Chew too loudly. 
  3. Ask them too many questions (typically 2 or 3) when they walk in the door. 
  4. Ask them if they put on deodorant.
  5. Forget to buy their favorite snacks at the grocery store.
  6. Say “no” to anything.
  7. Use (or worse, misuse) slang when you’re talking to them or their friends.
  8. Forget to close their bedroom door when you leave their room.
  9. Attempt to give them advice on a topic you’re highly qualified on.
  10. Move in for a hug when they’re “not in the mood.”
  11. Sing in the car. “OMG, moommmm... STOP!”
  12. Try to show any form of physical affection in public. 
  13. Leave them a long voicemail.
  14. Text them too often or with too many exclamation points.
  15. Make a joke.
  16. Tell them you don’t like one of their friends.
  17. Ask about their grades, how they did on a test, or if they started working on a project that’s coming due.
  18. Ask them to take out the trash.
  19. Ask them to clean their bedroom.
  20. Ask them to clean anything.
  21. Suggest they wear a coat because it’s 29 degrees outside.
  22. Dress like… well, a mom (or dad). “You’re wearing that???”
  23. Try to be cool OR don’t be cool enough.
  24. Pick out clothes for them at the store. “Seriously, mom? That’s so ugly!”
  25. Ask them how many days in a row they’ve worn that same hoodie.
  26. Ask them if they brushed their teeth, took a shower, or put acne cream on.
  27. Attempt to talk to them when they have earbuds in. “Whaaaattt? Geeeeez! I’m listening to music!”
  28. Treat them their age and get accused of asking them to do too much.
  29. Shout “I love you, sweetheart! Have a great day!” when you drop them off at school.
  30. Ask if they have any questions about sex and say, “I’m here for you if you ever want to talk.” TEENS: “Ummm, EEEWWW!”
  31. Hint that you’ve had sex at virtually any time in your life.
  32. Wake them when they’re sleeping.
  33. Baby them.
  34. Don’t baby them enough.
  35. Tell them, “You’re old enough. You can do this yourself.”
  36. Ask them for help with your computer or cellphone.
  37. Tell them their bedroom looks like a biohazard.
  38. Forget something they told you. 
  39. Enforce clearly stated consequences.
  40. Be four minutes late when picking them up from, well… anywhere.
  41. Refuse to give them money for take-out or Door Dash.
  42. Do it for them as a favor, but the “wrong” way as it turns out.
  43. Have your music playing in your car when they get in. Lame. Embarrassing. “OMG, Mooommm!”
  44. Embarrass them in front of their friends. (Any number of ways to achieve this.)
  45. Use too many emojis when texting.
  46. Dress a little too sexy. (Especially boys in front of their friends.)
  47. Complain about the food in a restaurant or, worse, ask to speak to the manager.
  48. Dance. Either in the comfort of your own home or way worse, in public.
  49. Tell them they need a haircut.
  50. Lovingly tease them. 
  51. Post pictures of them on social media without asking. God forbid!
  52. Repeat a story they’ve heard before. “OMG… you’re telling this story agggaiiinn????”
  53. Borrow their charger, clothes, hairbrush, or anything else without asking. WAY worse, forget to return it.
  54. Ask their boyfriend, girlfriend, or date too many questions.
  55. Just exist… 
About Morgan Hill:

Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel, and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes, or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter

If you enjoyed reading, “55 Ways to Ruin Your Teen’s Day (Without Even Trying),” you might like reading these posts, too!

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