When your children are little, you (at least on some level) often wish they were just a little bigger, just a little more independent. Then, they turn into teenagers, and all you want is for them to be small again. However, in many ways, parenting a high school student is similar to parenting a preschooler. Here are ten common mistakes that many parents make with high school students; avoid these and you and your teenager might get through these years a bit easier.
1. Being a “helicopter parent.”Jumping to your child’s rescue at every turn inhibits their ability to problem solve. Provide love and support, but do not “fight their battles” for them.
2. Being completely “hands off.” Remember that this person is still a child, and, though more independent than that preschooler, he or she still needs your involvement.
3. Neglecting physical safety rules. Teenagers are notorious for risky physical behavior. Failing to enforce safety rules could have tragic results. Periodically remind them.
4. Ignoring emotional issues. Your child’s feelings, no matter how “silly” you think they are, are real to them. Validate their feelings with the power of listening
5. Expecting too much. There is a difference between high expectations and realistic ones; the common sense area of the brain is not fully developed until the early 20’s. Remind yourself of that- as often as needed!
6. Ignoring slipping grades. If you notice this happening with your child, investigate. Slipping grades could be the sign of learning challenges or other issues.
7. Becoming adversaries. Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and are often critical of their parents. Try not to take things to personally, this too shall pass.
8. Becoming “buddies.” Your child needs a parent is to offer guidance and support; they have plenty of friends. They still need boundaries.
9. Failing to enforce limits. When your child was a preschooler, you might have used time-outs as a consequence for misbehavior. Though this is no longer appropriate for high school students, you still need to make sure your child knows that there are consequences for every bad choice.
10. Failing to praise the child. You cheered for your child when they learned to walk and use the potty; now cheer for them again when they do good things! Work hard not to criticize them and make it a point to praise them every time you catch them doing something right.
by David McLeod
Owner School-Supply-List.com and Elementary School Teacher
David has been teaching elementary school in Central Texas for over 7 years and has over 15 years of experience in online education related websites and blogs.