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5 Signs of Pushover Parents

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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."

5. Rewarding Kids With Technology

Tweens are getting smartphones at younger and younger ages, often because they wear down their parents by begging for the devices. But giving in isn't good for your child, even if you justify that she can call you if she unexpectedly needs a ride home.

"Permissive parents are having a heck of a time with smartphones and social media," Kastner says. "They give sixth-graders smartphones and Facebook accounts, [don't set screen-time limits] and then their grades go down. There's no reason for parents of middle-schoolers to give up as much control as they do."

If you've already given your tween or teen a gadget, use it to promote better behavior.

"The best thing about smartphones is you can take them away," Kastner says. "Tell your kids, 'You get your phone as a paycheck. You have to be a good citizen, go to bed, do your homework.' You don't even have to fight about having them give it to you; call your carrier and have them turn it off."

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Reviewed on December 10, 2012

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