Stop Doing These 8 Things for Your Teen if You Want to Raise an Adult

With all due respect, parents, you are out of control and you have to stop.  Stop treating your teen and adult child the way you treated them when they were in grade school.  Here are eight things you can stop doing immediately that will move them in the direction of becoming independent young adults… that is what you want, right?  Right?!
1. Stop waking them up in the morning.

If you are still waking little Johnny up in the mornings, it’s time to let an alarm clock do its job. Start this the first day of middle school.  There are days your kid will come racing out with only a few minutes to spare before they have to be out the door. The snooze button no longer feels luxurious when it’s caused you to miss breakfast.

I heard a Mom actually voice out loud that her teen sons were just so cute still, that she loved going in and waking them up every morning. Please stop. Most sons are just as adorable as yours, but our goal is to raise well functioning adults.

2. Stop making their breakfast and packing their lunch.

Your morning alarm needs to be the sound of the kids clanging cereal bowls. Your job is to make sure there is food in the house so that they can eat breakfast and pack a lunch.

One mom asked, yeah but how do I know what they’re bringing for school lunch? You don’t. You know what food you have in your pantry and it’s on them to pack up what they feel is a good lunch.

3. Stop filling out their paperwork.

There is no longer a need to dread the paperwork that comes home from your kid’s school.  Your teens should be expected to fill out all of their own paperwork, to the best of their ability. They can put the papers to be signed on a clipboard and leave it for you on the kitchen counter. You sign them and put them back on their desks.

Hold your teens accountable. They will need to fill out job and college applications soon and they need to know how to do that without your intervention.

4. Stop delivering their forgotten items.

Did they forget their book or PE uniform?  Will they get a zero on an assignment because of it?  Too bad, so sad.

Parents, don’t miss opportunities to provide natural consequences for your teens. Forget something? They need to feel the pain of that. Kids also get to see that you can make it through the day without a mistake consuming you and this develops resiliency.

5. Stop making their failure to plan your emergency.

Please… stop!  School projects do not get assigned the night before they are due. Therefore, do not run out and pick up materials at the last minute to get a project finished.  Do not race to Michaels for your kid who hasn’t taken time to plan.

This is a good topic to talk about in weekly family meetings. You can ask “Does anyone have projects coming up that they’re going to need supplies for so that I can pick them up at my convenience this week?”

6. Stop doing all of their laundry.

Doing some of the laundry when it’s convenient for you is reasonable.  But when it becomes expected and taken for granted is when it’s gone too far.  “What? You didn’t get my shorts washed?” This response should always backfire on the kid who lost their mind in thinking that you’re the only one who can do laundry. Every once in awhile a child needs a healthy reminder that you do not work for them. The minute they assume that this is your main role in life is the minute that you gladly hand over the laundry task to them.

7. Stop mailing and calling their teachers and coaches.  

If our child has a problem with a teacher or coach, he is going to have to take it to the one in charge. You, as a parent, are not going to question a coach or email a teacher about something that should be between the authority figure and your child.

Don’t be that over involved parent! Teach your child that if something is important enough to him, then he needs to learn how to handle the issue himself or at least ask you to help him.

8. Stop meddling in their academics.

These apps and websites where parents can go in and see every detail of children’s school grades and homework, are not helping our overparenting epidemic.  I have many clients (the parents) who know way more about what and how their teen is doing in school than the kid does.  Stop it!  The more you step out of the grade monitor role the more they will step in.  Trust me, it works!

What is your parenting goal?

Is it to raise competent and capable adults?

If so, then work on backing off in areas where your teens can stand on their own two feet. I know they’re your babies and it feels good to hover over them once in awhile, but in all seriousness, it’s up to you to raise them to be capable people.

You want to feel confident when you launch your kids into the real world that they are going to be just finebecause you stepped back and let them navigate failure and real life stuff on their own.

Old habits die hard… I get it.  Letting go isn’t easy… but it’s so necessary.  If you need help then give us a call at (562) 537-2947.  We’d love to hear your story and see how we can help.

Written by Lisa Smith

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