When I was 16 I lost my mind. Somehow all the rules I had agreed to obey became prison bars and I was due for a jailbreak. No matter how many times I reminded my mother, "Your ruining my life!" She insisted on keeping me safe. Now, on the verge of having teenagers of my own, I look back in horror on my actions and am grateful for her stubbornness.
We've compiled a list of the top 5 ways to ruin your teens life, so you to can keep your child safe.
5. Be in the know
Under no circumstances should you ever let your teen out the door without knowing where she's going, who she's with and what time they agree you can call the police if she's not home. This one is perfect for the sneaky teen, she will be whining and professing how responsible they are in no time. Watch as she turns several shades of red when you use this one in front of her friends, or better yet, boyfriend. Priceless.
4. Make sure you know all your teen's friends personally
When he brings someone home, or leaves to a friend's house, make it a point to sit down and get to know his friends. Look his friends in the eye — animals use this tactic for intimidation and you can too! My father was so good at this my friends started coming over just to see him. I was mortified, but he knew how to listen, and soon they were unloading their problems onto him. He steered me towards better friends, and nicer boyfriends this way. I hated how he could accurately point out the friends pressuring me, and make me feel guilty about keeping them around. While you're at it, listen to your teen's constant chatter about his life and friends. Teens will tell you everything if you listen, and avoid judgement and the ever present 'mom look'. You are definitely going to get a reaction when you become friends with your teen's friends! Another step in ruining a teen's life.
3. Establish ground rules for dating and friends
There is nothing a teen hates more than rules. So, while trying to ruin her life, you're going to want an arsenal of rules for her to agree to. Don't forget the consequences. There's no getting around consequences so she may as well know them in advance. Watch her eyes roll and mouth hang open as you work to establish boundaries. This one is bound to get a reaction.
2. Make one night a week, family only
Oh, this one is good. Mandatory family time, every teen's dream come true! Establishing one night a week you can sit down as a family and have a little meeting will make a huge difference. Give your kids time to show their talents, have a lesson on values, and have a gripe session for complaints and to resolve issues. You may want to time the gripe session, this is sure to be your teen's favorite part. As you fight to make sure everyone is there, once a week, your bound to get the line, "So not fair!" Yet another clue your ruining your teen's life.
My parents drove our oldest, ugliest car, into the center of our small city at 10:30pm to find me. It was after curfew, and I had slipped away from a friends house, walking downtown into forbidden territory. I was mortified when Dad slammed on the brakes in the middle of the street and Mom threw open the van door, jumped out, marched over to me and said, "Get in the van." I died right there. We deemed this the ultimate way to ruin your teen's life — saving him from bad decisions in public. While stopping him from hurting himself is a great idea, public shaming can ruin your relationship with your teen. Don't cross the line and make something public that can be handled in private, and always be fair. I am grateful my mom came before I had a chance to really mess up, and fall to peer pressure.
Sometimes we need to save our kids from themselves, other times we sit by and cringe as they fail. I am thankful my mother choose to ruin my teenage life so she could save me for my adult life. Go ahead, save your teens life by ruining it.