Teenage relationship DO NOTS-oops 

A friend of mind posted a blog post from THE MID today entitled:  How to ruin your relationship with your teen.  I read it carefully and then realized that it may already be too late.  I might have done all the damage I can do.

1. Not listening

Guilty.  Oh-so-guilty.  I get to the 3rd excuse of why so-and-so is an awful teacher and I go right into ‘teacher is always right’ lecture mode.  Or…in the middle of making dinner or bathing the hellion I tend to tune out the play-by-play of the volleyball game from PE.  Shame on me.  I get irritated when I ask about the day and get ‘fine’ but I tune them out when they try and give details on their day.  And though every sentence involves the word ‘like’ at least 4 times and has some version of “IKR” I need to shut my mouth and listen.   As my mid-child constantly reminds me, “Not EVERY moment has to be a life lesson, Mom!”

2. Criticizing Excessively

Guilty.  And I have a confession…I am guiltier of it more so with one child then the other.  I can’t take 100% of the blame though.  As teenagers you should be able to define a chore as “Do the dishes” without leaving a list that says:

a. Empty the clean dishes out of the dishwasher

b. Put clean dishes into the CORRECT spot.  Note: if the cabinet door won’t close it’s not the correct spot.  Additional note:  NO dishes are in the correct spot if they are on the counter.  

c. Take dirty dishes from sink and place into the dishwasher. Use some common sense here.  If a class is right side up it will fill with dirty water. 

d. Look around the sink.  Also put any dish that appears dirty in the vicinity of the sink into the dishwasher.

e. When dishwasher is full please feel with DISH SOAP.  Note: dishwashers require specific types of detergent.  Soap will not work.

f. Start dishwasher.  Select a cycle and push START.  You will HEAR the water if this is performed correctly.

Or—if washing your own clothes is the rule it should go without saying that taking clothes out of the dryer, folding them and putting them away is implied.


3. Grilling them with questions

In my defense without grilling you never really get any answers. While I am guilty of this one I don’t think I am going to FEEL guilty about this one.

Child:  can I go to the movies Friday?

Me: with who?

Child: friends

Me: which friends

Child: names one friend

Me: and who else? You said friendS

Child:  names another friend

Me: anyone else?

Child:  oh yeah, well maybe…Names a hoochy girl I am not particularly fond of. Ah-ha

OR…in same conversation

Me:  what movie

Child: not sure.  I’ll check.  

Comes back 20 minutes later with name of movie

Me: What’s it rated?

Child:  I don’t know.  I’ll check.

Comes back 20 minutes later with rating of movie

Me: What time?

Child: don’t know yet.  I’ll check

Comes back 20 minutes later but has forgotten to check on movie time.

Me: how were you planning on getting there?

Child: uh…you?

Me: then maybe I should know what time.

Child:  oh yeah…okay.  4

Me: I don’t get off work until after 5p

Child:  oh yeah.

4. Telling embarrassing stories or complaining about them publicly

If you’ve read more than 2 stories on likemymamasays you KNOW I am guilty of this.  I try and supplement my complaints with praise but I doubt my young ones would consider me very successful at the ratio of bragging to complaining. And if they didn’t provide such great material….mid-argument mid-child sighs and says, “…you are so going to blog this aren’t you…”

5. Stereotyping their behavior

NOT GUILTY.  Sorta.   As I tell my children, “I am not so-and so’s mama!” So and so may get to act that way because they are ‘teens’ but I refuse to let that be an excuse or an argument…most of the time.  There are a few days of the month I am willing to let an excuse prevail.  And, if I am being honest, I’ve used the “she’s 5” excuse more often then I should.  

6. Fighting the wrong battles

Ouch.  I treat them all as battles.  No wonder I am so tired.

7. Expecting instant compliance

Uh yeah…and if you don’t get it you immediately get the “if you live under my roof…” speech.  You mean this isn’t the foundation of a good-strong-communication-foundation with teens?

8. Maintain Constant Suspicion

I suppose I am sort of guilty of this one but like my mama always said, “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…”

9. Being Stingy with Apologies

You have to be WRONG to apologize.  Just kidding.  I should probably do this more but if they didn’t PROVOKE me all the time…again, just kidding.

10. Making them feel less important than:  friends, phone, car, etc

I didn’t realize that this was so bothersome to them until I read this and gave it some thought.  Little comments that little miss has made about me checking my phone, blogging or texting while with them echoed in my head.  Since their phones seem molded to their hands I suppose I never thought about how they felt when I was on mine.  I tend to announce “NO PHONES” a lot…dinner, when we are all together, etc.   but sometimes I suppose I am the first one to pick mine up.  Opps.  Best lead my example on this one.

11. Nitpicking their appearance

I try—really I do, but my tween is caught between obsessing over her appearance and not giving it a 2nd thought. She will spend 20 minutes combing her hair but then not brush her teeth for 2 days.  UGH.  Or she’ll wear the cutest clothes you’ve ever seen but not wash her hair for 5 days.  Don’t even get me started on panty lines and leggings….

Of course if she were to turn around and do the same with me….ouch.  

12. Comparing kids with each other

I’ve got a book smart child that can’t read people to save her soul and a street wise kid who struggles with book smarts.  I have compared them but I am quick to go back and point out the merits of each type of smart.  

13. Expecting prowess at sports, dance, music, etc

I work on this one…I really, really, really do.  Thanks to some wise advice I try (TRY being the operative word) to cheer and to let the coaches coach.  As long as I get 100% effort then I am pleased.  

So there it is-an experts guide to having a realtionship with your teen. 


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