As our kids get older, the way we parent should change. Often times parents make mistakes with older kids because they don’t adjust their parenting as their kids start to grow up and mature. When they are older, there should be less control, and more encouragement and guidance.
The process should be one that moves from lots of parental control, to more self-control, and eventually to the point where their growth in self-control enables them to let God be in control of their decisions.
Sometimes this transition is hard, because we are so used to the control we placed on the kids when they were young. Often we don’t see them as the young adults they are becoming, but still view them as a child. As a result, without meaning to, many parents make mistakes in how they parent their older kids.
Here are 7 Mistakes To Avoid When Parenting Your Older Children
1. Treat them like they are still a child, rather than a young adult.
We should always treat our kids with respect, regardless of their age. However, once the kids are older we can show this respect by how we respond to them. We should spend more time listening to them, and shouldn’t be quick to give negative feedback concerning their ideas or plans. They need to feel that it is safe to share their heart with us, and their values.
2. Never be happy with their decisions.
As our kids get older, we don’t want to give the impression that they can never please us. Yet often, without meaning to, that’s exactly what we do! Even though they may do things differently than we might, or may choose something different than what we hoped they would, we need to encourage them. Be sure to let them know you are proud of them, and be happy for them when they are excited about something.
3. Criticize them to their siblings.
Nothing is more hurtful to our kids than them hearing us talk negatively about them to their siblings, or to ANYONE, for that matter. If you are unhappy with something they are doing, talk about it to your spouse PRIVATELY, and if needed, talk to them about it privately.
4. Don’t make them feel cherished and accepted.
Our kids, no matter how young or old, LONG to please us and make us happy. They want to know that we love and cherish them because they are ours. Don’t just assume they know that. Make a point of showing it by actions, and expressing it with words.
5. Act as if helping them is a big inconvenience; grumble and complain about it.
Families are meant to work together and to help each other. It’s a way of showing we love and care about each other. When the older kids need help in some way, give that help cheerfully. It will go a long way towards keeping a strong relationship with them.
6. Treat folks outside of the home with more respect, patience, and kindness than you do them.
Our kids will quickly lose respect for us if we treat others outside of the home better than we treat them. It’s a double standard, and if anything, our kids should get the best.
7. Have little relationship with them, but still try to advise them when you don’t know their heart.
If we don’t have much of a relationship with a teen, that kind of takes away our right to give them unasked for advice. For one thing, if the relationship isn’t close, you don’t know their heart. That makes it easy to assume wrong motives, making it difficult to give appropriate counsel.
What would you add to the list of mistakes to avoid when parenting older children?