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Top Mistakes Parents Make When Raising Teenagers

Updated on February 20, 2012

Mistake #1: Letting Them Come and Go as They Please

Your teen may seem ready for independence, but parents who don't monitor their teen's activities may be sorry later. While teens can do more and more things on their own as they get older, they still needs plenty of guidance. Parents should still know where they are going and who they are with at all times.

Mistake #2: Not Meeting their Friends' Parents

My 13-year old invited a group of friends to sleep over at our house recently. Three of them were girls who had never been to our house, nor had I ever met them. I was shocked when two of the girls came to the door without their parents - all I saw was the headlights of their cars as they backed out of my driveway. Why on earth would you drop your child off at a stranger's house and not even bother to meet the parents? For all they knew, I wasn't even home. I am not sure if it's laziness, or if the parents just don't want to make waves with their kids. Yes, kids at this age might make a big stink if we accompany them to their friends' door--but when you are the parent you do what is best, regardless of what your child thinks!

Mistake # 3: Not Monitoring their Texting

My generation used the telephone to keep in touch. I remember talking with my friends for hours on the phone. But my parents were usually around, and they knew whether I was on the phone and generally who I was on the phone with. And when the phone rang and it was for me (as it often was) my parents would at least get to say hello to my friends and have a sense of which friends frequently called me.

Today, kids can text their friends very discreetly and parents are not even aware of it. They can have dozens of friends on their contact lists and we don't necessarily even know most of them. And sometimes texting is more dangerous than phone conversations, because texts can be saved and forwarded, unlike words which can quickly be forgotten. Young teens are not always mature enough to navigate these dangers on their own.

If your teen is texting, as most are, you should make an effort to set some ground rules. For instance, you might want to prohibit texting after 9:00 p.m. You should also find out who they are frequently texting with. If they are on a phone share plan with you, you might have online access their cell phone records. You should check every so often to make sure they aren't texting in the middle of the night, or that you aren't suddenly seeing texts to and from unknown numbers.

Some parents believe that they should respect their teen's privacy and not check on them. Actually, it is our responsibility as parents to set guidelines and teach our teens how to use technology safely. If you are paying the cell phone bill, you have a right to monitor the usage. If you can generally trust your teen, you might only need to check in with them once in awhile. If they have given you reason to worry, you might need to monitor them more closely.

The key point is that there should be communication with your teen. They may actually appreciate on some level that you interested in knowing who they are texting with.


Mistake # 4: Not Giving Them Chores

Teenagers are more than capable of helping around the house. Some parents don't feel like fighting with their children so they don't hold them accountable for any chores. This is a disservice not only to the parents, but to the children themselves. Once they get out into the "real world," they will be in a for a rude awakening if they have never learned how to do laundry, wash dishes, or clean the bathroom!

Instilling your children with a work ethic and a sense of responsibility is part of your job as a parent. Involving them in taking care of the household is the perfect place to start.

Sage Carter shares ideas, information, and advice for better living. Visit her at


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    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 5 years ago

      Good advice. It is also very encouraging to read the comments from experienced mothers here. Thanks !

    • sagecarter profile image

      sagecarter 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for your comments, tlpoague and kschimmel! It is certainly a challenge to raise kids, but it's nice to think that as they get older we can look back and know we did something right!

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I was actually blessed recently to have my oldest son (22) call and thank me for not raising him to be a wimp. Not sure what prompted him to call at that moment, but it is always good to hear you did something right!

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      I agree with your points here. I made the mistake of giving my youngest a cell phone with texting when she was 16 so I could keep in contact with her. I still would have given her the cell, but would have eleminated the texting. It does open a world of trouble.

      My daughter use to complain about having chores around the house, until her senior year of school. She had to take what they call a Serior Survival Class to learn the basics of homemaking skills. (We called it Home Ec. when I was in school.) She was surprised to find that her and two other girls were the only ones in class they knew anything. The rest had never learned how to wash dishes or cloths. When it came to cooking, half didn't even know how to turn on the stove or run a microwave. It gave my daughter a new perspective on the skills I was teaching her. Now that she is on her own, she is grateful that I took the time to teach her and her brother these things.

      Great hub with terrific tips!

    • sagecarter profile image

      sagecarter 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks both for your comments. I hope my hub doesn't sound preachy - I just wish all parents took the time to pay more attention!

    • Ayanewylde profile image

      Ayanewylde 6 years ago

      Thank you for this. As parents we need to take a step back to our childhood and see what really worked!

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      If I could do it over again, my daughter would not have had access to a cell phone after bedtime.

      You are right on the money with this advice!

      I learned too late that the phone opened up a whole secret world. Cell phones were fairly new then, but I'll be smarter with my younger kids.