5 Signs of Pushover Parents
2. Avoiding Conflict
Many parents find it easier to give in to their tween or teen's demands than get into yet another argument, so they become more lenient than they'd like. This may be particularly true for parents who didn't like the strict way that they were raised, so they relax the rules.
"As kids hit puberty, that's when conflict within the family increases," says Madeline Levine, PhD, author of Teach your Children Well. "The constant door in your face, 'I don't want to talk about it' and rolled eyes. But the exhaustion that comes with it is not a reason to back off on the mandatory rules."
You can let some minor things slide, if you really hate conflict, but it's crucial to your credibility as a parent to continue being tough about the things that matter.
"Pick your battles, but don't bow out," Levine says. "Forget about the hair color and save it for the piercing. Parents can't afford to back down."
3. Making School an Excuse
Savvy teens who want to shirk their responsibilities at home often use schoolwork as an excuse, because parents are usually pushovers for anything supposedly related to academics.
"There isn't a kid in America that doesn't know that saying, 'I'm going to be studying' takes precedence over chores," Levine says.
You may think that you're helping your child by doing his chores for him, but your permissiveness could hurt him in the long run.
"When kids go out into the community, they have to have some skills," Levine says. "Out in the real world, nobody says, 'I'm going to clear the table for you.'"
To ensure that your child becomes a well-rounded adult, require him to follow through on all of his responsibilities, not just those that could boost his GPA.
"We have the CEO model of parenting: How'd you do on this test, what's your GPA this semester," Levine says, "but parenting is really 30 years down the line -- making sure they have good relationships, good jobs, and become good parents themselves, not just making sure they get into the right school."
4. Trying to Be a Friend to Your Teen
Some overly permissive parents are more concerned with their teenagers liking them than being effective authority figures.
"A friend can't tell another friend: 'You're not allowed to do this,' but a parent must say that to a 14- or 15-year-old," Sax says. "Some 'cool' moms don't feel they have any authority to exercise."
Teens need authoritative parents to help them make the right choices, not friends to gossip with, Sax says. If you're ready to change your relationship with your teen, you need to own that and make a big change.
"Sit down with your son or daughter and say, 'I haven't been doing this right,'" Sax says. "Trying to do this gradually doesn't work. There's not a smooth transition from peer to parent."