If we could only hear what comes out of our mouths sometimes. Here are some (too) common things we say to our teens that can have detrimental effects.
“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER WORD OUT OF YOU!”
Any parent of a reticent teenager who keeps mum about the details of their life probably wishes they could take these words back. Illogical as it may sound, a youngster who is told to hush up in their childhood may take those words to heart and assume it holds true through their young adult years. When your child becomes a teen, you want them to feel that you’re always interested to hear what they have to say. And isn’t that the same thing we all want from those who love us?
A better way to get this point across as a parent might be to say, “Let’s talk about this later. I think we’re both too upset right now to hear what the other is saying.”
“DON’T GIVE ME ANY EXCUSES!”
Usually a parent will say this when they don’t believe their child or they are trying to teach kids to take responsibility for their own actions. But when you say this to your children, what they hear is that you’re not willing to find out the real cause of the problem. They may need to learn a lesson in responsibility, but this isn’t the best way to teach it.
The next time your child messes up and comes to you with an entire catalog of reasons why they aren’t to blame, try this tactic. Ask them to start at the beginning and tell you just the facts. As soon as they start getting emotional or laying blame on outside people or events, steer them back to the facts. Then, after you have a clear picture of what really transpired, you can either exonerate them or help them to understand the role they played in the events. Remember to keep your own emotions in check, too.