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Teenagers: A Parent's Handbook

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 7 26

They Grow-Up So Fast

Do you remember how you felt when your children were born? I bet most parents do. I can remember holding my beautiful newborn babies and thinking "This is love!" Fast forward a few years and now those babies have grown into teenagers with teenage opinions on how their good ol' Mom (and Dad) should act. I've made several mistakes over the years, as I'm sure everyone has, so I decided to put together this little list. These are some of "Da Rules" that your teens probably want you to know.

Teenagers: A Parent's Handbook

Da Rules

That’s Embarrassing!

Teddy Pendergrass CD
The first rule is do not, under any circumstances, embarrass your teen. This rule applies to the way you look, act, and what you say when you're in public with your teen, or when they are with their friends. Also, please don't make the mistake of listening to your favorite music in the car while driving your teenagers and their friends around town. Even worse, don't sing out-loud to songs like "Close The Door" by Teddy Pendergrass or "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, or any song, you'll just embarrass your precious offspring.

Text Me When You Get There . . . I Mean It! 

If your teen goes out and forgets to text you (and, it will happen), don't immediately drive to the place they're supposed to be. A few months after getting her driver's license, my oldest daughter drove a few blocks away to a high school dance. I was a bundle of nerves when I didn't get a text from her letting me know that she made it. I decided I would drive past the parking lot just to make sure everything was fine. My anxiety was immediately relieved at the sight of her car parked in the lot. My teen, on the other hand, was not so relieved to hear about my 'drive-by' when she got home. She protested "Mom! How could you!" "Hey," I replied, "You're lucky I didn’t actually go INTO the dance!" Then I reminded her of the father of a teenager who told the story about how he actually went to a high school dance, found his daughter and gave her a scolding in front of her friends for not answering her phone when he called. Who cares that the father and daughter were on a television show about "Overprotective Parents." 

When I Was Your Age . . . 

Teenagers don't like to hear any sentence that begins with the phrase "When I was your age . . ." You might as well have been born during the Stone Age. For all your teen cares, the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s are no different than prehistoric times. They do not want to hear how you "walked to school in the snow," or had to get a job to help your family, not because you wanted to buy the latest iPod. Teenagers won't empathize with the way it was when you were young, so don't even go there. 

Don't Spoil Movie Time Together 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 DVD
It's always nice when your teen wants to watch a movie with you, and they like it even more when it's a movie they choose. However, what they don't like is when you ask too many questions or make comments during the movie. 

A few months ago my husband and I watched the final Harry Potter movie with our youngest and you'd a thought that we were in the library because every time we asked a question or made a comment we got a "Shush!" immediately followed by a glance of disapproval. But, in all sincerity, I really couldn't understand some of the dialog. Also, to this day, I still don't understand why that hug between Voldemort and Draco was so darn awkward! 

Social Networks 

If you follow your teenagers on social sites such as Facebook, try not to comment and "Like" everything that your teens posts. Most teens don't like it when they constantly see things like "WTG, Honey!" or "That's adorable, sweetie!" Try to keep your social network communication to a minimum. Remember, you see your teens more than their friends, so why not just talk to them instead. 

Nag, Nag, Nag . . . 

"Do your homework!" "Clean your room!" "Get off the computer!" Whatever it is, if you've said it to your teenager more than a couple of times, the chances are pretty good that they're no longer listening to you when you bring that particular subject up again. Teenagers, just like everyone else, don't want to be nagged. But, what should you do to get your teens to do their homework, clean their room or get off the computer? Well, despite how you or they may feel, you are still the parent and have the control. You can try taking things or privileges away or rewarding them for positive behavior. There are several books you can read on the subject of raising teenagers. But one thing's for sure, nagging doesn't work. 

You're Wearing What?!?! 

Fear of Teenagers Ephebiphobia
Teenagers don't want their parents telling them what to wear, nor do they want to hear their parent's negative opinions about the outfits they choose to wear. Although teenagers are not always the best when it comes to fashion, cut them some slack and give them a little leeway. If their choice is not vulgar or insulting, let them express themselves through their clothing. Even if you think their outfit is silly, they don't. Take a look at photos of what you wore as a teenager and share them with your teens. Maybe when they see how silly you looked, they will think twice about what they wear. 


Your teens probably have lots of friends but only a couple of parents, so don't try to be one of your teenager's friends. Instead, be a parent, and that means making the tough decisions when required, and teaching your young ones right from wrong. Be consistent and follow through on consequences. In addition, when your teens are hurting, please don't say "I told you so!" Sometimes all a teen needs is for their parents to listen and just be there to support them.

Always Love Your Teens - Even When You Don't Like Them Too Much 

Happy Characters
Someone once said "Too many of today's children have straight teeth and crooked morals." Although teenagers can push all of your buttons at times, the one thing they consistently need is your love. Let them know that no matter what they do, you will always love them. However, that doesn't mean they can get away with bad behavior without consequences. Discipline is part of love, and no matter how much they fight with you about taking away their cell phone or other treasured items, show them you love them enough to do something about their bad behavior.  


For information on other topics see the following:  

Class of
Ways to Cope When Your Child Leaves for College 



Honk by DLW and BCW
Honk! If you Love (Fill-in the Blank) ~ Not in California!



Soul Surfer(56747)
Soul Surfer: The True Story of Bethany Hamilton


Mar 4, 2012 7:18pm
Excellent tips for dealing with teens. Love the straight teeth/crooked morals quote!
Mar 15, 2012 11:36pm
Thank you diva!!
Mar 10, 2012 11:18pm
Agree. Great tips and I have never heard that straight teeth/crooked morals quote. Very funny line. It'll be interesting to watch my very young nieces turn into teens!
Mar 15, 2012 11:35pm
Thank you so much EGreen; and yes it is "interesting" when kids become teens!
Mar 24, 2012 3:29am
A cardinal sin. Imagine talking during a Harry Potter movie. Tsk tsk! Still, you were very blessed that your child even watched a movie, with you in the same vicinity. Great article, by the way!
Mar 24, 2012 2:24pm
I've learned that lesson, no more talking during a Harry Potter movie! And yes, I feel very blessed that our teens still enjoy spending time with us. Thanks so much Tom!
Apr 2, 2012 7:01pm
Teenagers are hard work but generally improve.
Nice writing!
Apr 2, 2012 8:13pm
Hello Etcetera, thank you so much for your comment! The most difficult issue for me is my tendency to worry when my teens are out and about with friends. I'm very lucky, it could be worse.
Apr 8, 2012 10:55pm
As the parent of a soon-to-be 17 year old, this article is spot on. One thing I love to do is be the pick-up parent. You hear a lot from the back seat that you would never hear if you were at home in bed waiting for them! Somehow they kids think you cannot hear them!
Apr 9, 2012 2:56pm
Thanks so much MMM! I also always enjoyed listening to all the latest news in the world of my teens and their friends. You're right - they forget you're in the car! I appreciate your comment!!
Apr 10, 2012 8:12am
Congrats on being featured again!
Apr 10, 2012 12:42pm
Thanks MMM! I wasn't aware this made the front page. Thanks so much!
Apr 11, 2012 9:30am
Nice article
Apr 11, 2012 12:01pm
Thanks so much for the comment!
Apr 13, 2012 6:01pm
I can relate to the 'Don't Spoil Movie Time Together' so true..there is an unspoken rule that it's ok to talk through the adverts, however when they show the trailers or the actual movie, talk time goes out the window..
Apr 13, 2012 6:25pm
So true, Prosperity! I do notice, however, whenever we are watching something that I want to watch, my teens don't think twice about talking - double standard? Maybe, but as someone pointed-out, it's great they still want to watch a movie with me! Thanks for the comment!!
Apr 14, 2012 4:36pm
Something new parents should read to let them know what to expect. All teens are different. My daughter gets annoyed if she thinks I am not listening to her. Fortunately she has come round to liking some of "my" music - Free, Cream etc - and my favourite TV programmes so we can share some good time together.
Apr 14, 2012 5:02pm
Thanks so much davwrite! It's great that you and your daughter can share some quality time together!
Apr 15, 2012 10:28pm
I have 'been there and done that' and survived life with a teenager. And blessedly, I had a good kid, who stayed out of trouble. Like you said, they need love and parents to be there for them. Congratulations on another great feature.
Apr 16, 2012 8:44pm
Thanks so much southerngirl09, and congratulations for successfully getting through the teenage years.
Apr 17, 2012 11:15am
Oh man does this sound familiar. Great article..
Apr 17, 2012 4:30pm
Thanks so much KevinInTx, and welcome to InfoBarrel!
Apr 19, 2012 2:57am
Great tips, i havent hit the teenage ages yet with my children but no doubt will have dramas when i do. Lol
Apr 19, 2012 11:31am
Hi Misskate: yes, there will be drama but also a lot of fun and memorable moments - my youngest just attended her prom and I think it was a bigger event for me! :o) Enjoy your babies, they grow-up too fast!! Thanks for the comment!
Nov 28, 2012 12:50pm
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as my kids just entered teenage mode. Guess I've got a lot on my hands but will sail through with these tips and many others I'll unearth through reading. Thumbs up!
Nov 28, 2012 1:14pm
I wish you all the best, however, don't be surprised if at times you feel like you're sinking. Thanks so much for the comment and thumbs-up!
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