Parenting teens comes along with many well-accepted myths. I’d like to challenge some of the more common ones.
MYTH#1: It’s easier to raise boys than girls!
REALITY#1: Teenage boys have their own set of issues. To think that they too don’t have struggles would be remiss. If you find them easier, perhaps you are not getting to know them.
MYTH#2: Parents don’t have favorites.
REALITY#2: Parents’ favorites change over time depending on which kids are easiest to get along with and which kids parents identify with.
MYTH#3: Familiarity breeds contempt so your teens get angrier with you because they know you best.
REALITY#3: Actually, familiarity does not breed contempt. It makes people like each other more. Your teens get angry with you for many reasons but familiarity is not one of them.
MYTH#4: Things were easier when you were a teen!
REALITY#4: Things were different but not necessarily easier.
MYTH#5: You were much nicer to your parents!
REALITY#5: We’ve spoken to many grandparents and they think that you are getting a taste of your own medicine.
MYTH#6: Your teen would be fine if it wasn’t for their friends.
REALITY#6: In fact, the reverse may be true. The friends might do better without your child. Teens choose each other for friendship.
MYTH#7: This teen is nothing like me or his father.
Reality#7: Look a little closer and a little more carefully at your own behavior.
MYTH#8: A little well-placed sarcasm won’t hurt my teens. I was just joking!
REALITY#8: Did you know thast sarcasm literally means “To tear at the flesh?” Sarcasm is not funny. It won’t make your kids laugh. They feel the hostility inherent in sarcasm.
MYTH#9: She will outgrow it.
REALITY#9: Maybe she will or maybe she won’t… This depends on what you are talking about.
MYTH#10: They don’t know that we are having marital problems.
REALITY#10: Are you kidding? They probably knew before you did!
Barbara Greenberg PhD is a clinical psychologist. She is the Teen Doctor for Psychology Today where she has a question and answer column for parents of teens. She is also the co-author of Teenage as a Second Language-A Parents Guide to Becoming Bilingual (Adams Media). She is the co-creator of the interactive website talkingteenage.com