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Parenting Mistakes - Top 5 Reasons Parents Fail With New Year Parenting Goals

Jan 9, 2008
A new year is here, and with it comes new beginnings. For many parents, one resolution they make is to improve their family relationships. There is no better time than right now to take positive steps in your relationship with your teenager.

Yet, like many other New Year resolutions, some parents fail to accomplish the parenting goals they set. Often, leaving a parent to feel inadequate and discouraged with their relationship with their teenager. Here are five common mistakes parents make when setting parenting goals for the New Year:

1. Starting with too many goals

It is easy to want to have the best relationship with your teenager, and go hog wild with creating new resolutions. However, I have seen parents become overwhelmed with great expectations, only to fizzle out from undue stress. If there are many areas you want to improve, prioritize your goals and choose just one to start with.

2. Having unrealistic expectations

The first rule in goal setting is to make your goals reasonable. If your goals are too ambitious, then they may be unattainable. And the entire reason for having goals is to accomplish them. Trying making simple goals for a short period of time rather than making complicated ones over a lengthy period of time.

3. Having meaningless goals

As a counselor, a parent will enter counseling with the goal of "have a closer relationship with my teenager." While this sounds like a simple goal, it is too broad. How will they know when their relationship is "closer?" What does "a closer relationship" mean? Do they want to be able to talk more with their teenager? Are they looking for less conflict in their relationship? When making parenting goals for the New Year make your goals very specific. That way you will be able to tell if you are accomplishing them.

4. Trying to control everything

Remember you can only change you, not your teenager. It is okay if your teenager is resistant to your intentions. In fact, you may want to expect some confusion, especially if your relationship has experienced a lot of conflict. You have no control over how your teenager reacts. If your relationship with your teenager has been strained, then it will take time to rebuild trust and your relationship.

If you feel like there is such great conflict between you and your teenager that you just cannot seem to break through, then I encourage you to find a qualified professional counselor that can help you work through it.

5. Giving up

Parenting teenagers is hard work. It can suck the life out of you. Often well meaning parents commit to making positive relationship changes with their teenager without recognizing the time commitment involved. Awesome goals are made in January with the expectation that significant differences will be visible by June. Then, when our hopes are not met we feel inadequate and just give up the fight.

Positive and improved relationships do not just happen. They require patience and commitment to see the task through.
About the Author
Are you looking for more practical solutions on how to improve the relationship with your teenager? I invite you to check out http://www.parentingyourteenager.com where you will find more common sense advice on how parents and teens can become better friends when they feel like enemies.
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