Editor’s note: We saw this list on Kerry Foreman’s Facebook page and loved it so much we had to share.
You asked, so here it is. The six things I would never do or that I do as a parent of teens because I’m a psychotherapist.
Let’s get into it……in no certain order.
6 Parenting rules I follow as a psychotherapist
1. I allow my teens to draw boundaries with me.
After all, how can I expect them to be able to lay boundaries and keep them in life if they don’t have practice at home? This sounds like…..”Please don’t pepper me with questions the minute you pick me up from school, I would like you to wait until I’ve gotten home and had a snack to talk about my day” or “Can we designate one day each week to discuss my school work so I don’t have to talk about it all the time?”
2. I don’t punish my teenagers with passive aggressive comments when they do show up.
I hear many adults say things like “ohhhh look who decided to come to dinner” or ” well if Joey would spend more than 5 minutes outside of his room then maybe we could talk once in a while.” As teens they are going to spend much time in their rooms…..just know that and stop using it as some sort of label for how angsty they are as a teen. Just stop mentioning it at all. If you want to spend time with them or have a chat, then keep inviting. Keep making plans together. Keep knocking and popping in for a chat on their bed. When they do come out…..just enjoy them.
3. I let them be the “expert” from time to time.
Teens are often standing on a pedestal of knowing…..they want you to see how knowledgeable they are and sometimes they will act like they know…even when they don’t. They aren’t all the sudden a “know it all”….they are learning and growing and figuring this out. They are building confidence. It takes nothing from me to shut my mouth and prevent myself from proving them wrong.
4. When my teens are telling me a story that involves their friends….I don’t judge their friends.
I don’t ask too many questions because I know that will shut them down, and they will become protective of that friend. I allow myself just a couple of questions and exercise curiosity and compassion for whatever their friend is dealing with. I don’t use their friend as an example of “what not to do” and I don’t bring up the issue again unless they do.
5. My tried and true….. I believe in my kids unconditionally.
I don’t care how many mistakes my teen has made…..I keep my unconditional belief of their capability. They will never see doubt on my face when they try again. This face and this mouth exude unconditional belief for their ability to conquer anything that comes their way….anything they decide to try……any leap they choose…..I will be clapping the loudest in the room and will never remind them of mistakes from the past.
6. I take care of my Self so I can parent from a healthy place.
I never approach a hard conversation with my teen until I have ensured I am coming to them in Self. Not from a hurt part, or a rejected part. Not from a younger part or a part that thinks they know. I take good care of my Self on a daily basis so I am whole enough to lead from a place of safety and security.
I never forgot how it felt to be a teen and that helps guide me while remembering that THIS teen before me is not me….even when they act a lot like me. They are not me and they have a different story with different emotions attached.
For additional tips on raising teens, we love Untangled by Lisa Damour, Ph.D., which helps parents navigate what is “normal” behavior, particularly among teenage girls, and what should be cause for concern.
Parenting teens and tweens is not easy, but you’re not alone. Here are some of our popular posts that might help:
*This post may contain affiliate links where we earn a small commission for purchases made from our site.