Every loving parent wants the best for their child. They want to see them grow up and be happy, successful people. When you had your children, nobody gave you a manual on how to help them grow up to be happy successful people, you had to wing it based on your own attitudes, beliefs, what your parents did or didn’t do and perhaps what you see from other people. I see parents do a lot of things that they think will make a difference in motivating their teenager to change but simply do not work. Here are my top 5 mistakes that parents make when trying to motivate them.
1. Yelling – I don’t know that this particular thing has helped anyone find motivation to change, in general, I think yelling communicates anger and anger is generally destructive. I haven’t yet met a teenager that has responded positively to an adult just yelling at them. You may see the behavior you want initially but yelling leads to resentment and more rebellion down the road. I believe that parents yell because it is a habit and it communicates their anger and frustrations.
2. Lecturing – Like yelling, I also think this is a bad habit. If you were ever lectured as a teenager or if you have ever lectured a teenager, you know that about a third of the way into the lecture, the teenager just checks out. They generally just endure their parents lectures. Lecturing is also an outlet for a parents anger and frustrations. Even though I believe your anger and frustrations need an outlet and need to be dealt with, using your teenager for an emotional dumpster is just plain ineffective.
3. Managing their problems and responsibilities for them – For some reason, parents seem to have adopted the idea that if they take care of their teenagers problems and responsibilities for them, their teenager will just one day see the vision and take over where their parents left off. I have seen so many parents do everything for their teenager, waiting and hoping for the day that their teenager will just take the reins and soar into greatness. Unfortunately, this practice has absolutely no foundation for getting positive results. I have never once seen a teenager magically one day decide to wake themselves up in the morning, do their own homework, wash their own clothes and pay for all of their own expenses. Reality check: they will never take care of themselves as long as someone else is doing it for them. And by the way, all the lecturing in the world won’t convince them otherwise. Sorry. 🙁
4. Nagging – Again, we have another bad habit. Parents nag and it wears them out and while the teenager is just annoyed and again, the relationship suffers. I also believe parents participate in this because they don’t know what else to do, they get frustrated and continue to nag. In the end, parents may see some of the behaviors they are looking for but the effort compared to the return when it comes to nagging is very lopsided.
5. Insisting their teenager make promises – A lot of parents use yelling, nagging and lecturing to get their kids to make promises that their kids aren’t invested in or they don’t intend to keep. Teenagers often only agree to these promises to get their parents to shut up and leave them alone. Sometimes parents will get their teenager to make a promise, the teenager doesn’t keep the promise and the result is a loss in trust, a hurt relationship and it teaches the child that promises have low value, that promises aren’t worth anything. They also learn that they can end a conversation with you very quickly by just making an empty, meaningless promise.