If there is one thing that teenagers are known for, it's being very dramatic. This is the most obvious when watching a television show that features teenage characters. From popular 1990s shows such as Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dawson's Creek to more recent fare such as Riverdale, audiences know that high schoolers can definitely act like everything is the most important thing in the world.
When parents have little ones, people often tell them, "Just wait until there is a teenager in the house..." Parents joke about teens who sleep in super late on weekends, eat junk food, and groan that their moms and dads are always being totally unfair.
Moms know that they want the best for their teens and they want to be able to talk to them. After all, people always give the advice that keeping communication lines open is a good idea. But what's a mom to do when even the littlest thing seems to upset her son or daughter?
Here are 20 seemingly innocent comments that will set a teenager off. But there's hope, because here also are five comments that they would really love to hear. Moms can be relieved after reading these tips for what not to say and what to say.
First, let's look at the comments that will set them off...
25 "You Are Beautiful"
It seems totally innocent for a mom to tell her teenage daughter that she is beautiful. According to Working Mother, this isn't what moms want to be saying to their daughters.
You want to tell your daughter why they are amazing and talk about their skills, talents, and personality, not looks. Moms could definitely set their teen daughters off by calling them beautiful and that's not what they're trying to do at all, so it's best not to say something like this.
24 "How Was School?"
Of all of the seemingly innocent comments that a mom could make to her teenage son or daughter, asking about school seems pretty safe.
Unfortunately, this could set them off, too. As this mom wrote for The Huffington Post, "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked this question, only to be met with a one-word response — usually “good” or “fine” but sometimes “alright” or even “I don’t know” — and a view of my teenager’s back as he or she walked from the room."
No mom wants that to happen, so it's best not to ask this question.
23 "You're Too Young"
It's common to tell your teenager that they are too young to do something because it just slips out of your mouth. After all, they are young, so why wouldn't you say this?
According to Lifehack, this isn't something to say to your son or daughter. As the website suggests, "Support her determination and nurture it. Doing anything less would break her confidence and make her unsure of her own judgement."
Sure, you might be thinking that fifteen is too young for something, but there's always a better way to phrase this instead of mentioning age.
22 "Stop Being So Moody"
Every mom has told their teenage daughter that she is too moody, right? It pretty much goes with the territory because teenage girls can be mad for days at a time, and moms have no idea what happened or why they're feeling that way.
Working Mother suggests that mom steer clear of telling their teenage daughters to quit being moody: "She can’t! Your daughter is experiencing a surge of hormones that make her weep one minute and laugh hysterically the next." This is good to remember (even when you really, really want to say this to her).
21 "Are You Going To Wear That?"
S. Mommy counts this as something to never say to your teenager, and moms can definitely see why. Even if you have to do everything within your power not to mention that you don't like your teenager's outfit, it's really not the best idea to tell them this.
Moms know that if they say something like this, they will see a few different reasons. Their teenager will shut down and stop talking to them, or complain that they don't get it, or say that so-and-so gets to wear what he or she wants so it's just not fair.
20 "Lower Your Expectations"
According to Lifehack, it isn't supportive or encouraging for a mom to tell their teenage daughter or son to lower their expectations.
It makes sense why moms would even think to say this phrase. You think that this will help your teenager because you don't want them to get their hopes up and then be totally sad and disappointed. But you want to encourage and inspire them, right? The only way to do that is to help them reach for the stars (and of course you'll be there for them if things don't work out the way that they expected).
19 "I Wasn't Good At Math Either"
Everyone remembers that one class in high school that just never came easily. You would study and study and study more, and yet you had a very difficult time just trying to get a B.
When you become a mom of a teenager, you definitely notice that your son or daughter is dealing with the same thing, and there is one class that's not working out.
Working Mother suggests not telling your teenager that you weren't good at the subject that they're having issues with: "This might seem like a supportive comment, but it’s actually an insult. Don’t give your daughter an excuse not to strive."
18 "Good Job"
Saying "good job" seems like something that every teenager would love to hear. It's actually not, though, and could upset them.
Writing for The Huffington Post, this mom says, "I used to say this all the time to my kids until I realized I was saying it so much, it had lost all its meaning. Obviously you should praise and encourage your kids. But don’t just keep saying “good job” if there really isn’t anything to say “good job” about." This is a good thing to keep in mind when talking to your teen for sure.
17 "Money Doesn't Grow On Trees"
Did your own parents ever tell you that money doesn't grow on trees? They most likely did because this is a very common phrase that we hear all the time.
If there is one person who doesn't want to hear it, though, it's definitely a teenager. According to Motherly, this is a typical thing that parents say, but it's better to just say that something costs too much money. Your teen will prefer that and won't be so annoyed (at least hopefully... sometimes teens are just annoyed and it has nothing to do with their moms).
16 "Are You Really Going To Eat That?"
Mercury News says that asking your teenager "Are you really going to eat that?" won't be good for their self-esteem, and we can totally understand this.
At first, this seems fairly innocent since there are definitely some meals that are total junk food and don't seem to have any healthy qualities. When a mom is having dinner with her teenage son or daughter and they're having a third helping of ice cream, it could seem like a good time to ask this question. But this won't do your kid any favors and it could make them feel pretty bad, and that's not what you want to do.
15 "Be Home Around 10 p.m."
As this mom writes for The Huffington Post, "Saying you want your teen home “around 10 p.m.” is opening curfew up to a vast world of interpretation. With my teens I have to be as specific as possible. You must be home by 10 p.m. and no later."
Parents of teens know that curfews are key, so it's good to remember that setting a firm curfew and saying that it's definitely 10 p.m. and not "around/about." This might seem like a small thing, but teens will swear that they're in the right and this could lead to an argument.
14 "Why Aren't You Wearing A Coat?"
S. Mommy suggests that moms never ask their teenager this question.
It's funny because moms can remember being in high school themselves and they know that they didn't always want to wear a coat. In fact, most of the time, they probably didn't. After all, you look a lot cooler without one and a baggy winter coat doesn't go with your outfit. Looking fashionable is the key here.
Since you want your teenager to be nice to you, maybe don't ask them about their coat. (But remember that if they don't wear their coat enough times, they'll probably smarten up and realize that they're way too cold without it.)
13 "When I Was Your Age, I Would Never Do That"
Moms have all said this to their kids, whether they meant to or not. Motherly says not to make this comment because it makes your teenager think that you were perfect at their age. That's not what they want to hear.
Nothing will shut a teenager down faster than if they think that their mom is saying that she was better than them at this age. You definitely don't mean to say something like this, so it's a good idea to avoid this statement. Tell them about your own high school experiences in another way.
12 "You'll Understand When You Get Older"
Ba-bamail suggests that moms don't tell their teenage son or daughter that they'll get it once they're older.
When we think about it, we can see why this isn't the greatest comment to make. Teenagers are super sensitive about their age, right? They think that they know everything and that they're older than they really are, but at the same time, they can't wait to grow up and finish high school and live on their own. They don't want to hear that they're really much younger than they thought.
11 "Find Your Passion"
According to Mercury News, "Parents may think they are being loving and supportive by telling their teen to “find your passion.” But this directive can come off as daunting to teens who are still figuring out who they are."
This is a really important thing to remember since of course you want your teenager to find something that they love. It's good to know that saying "find your passion" could set them off and actually upset them when you're just trying to be inspiring.
10 "Why Are You In Your Room So Much?"
What mom hasn't asked their teenager this same question? Of all of the things that moms ask, this seems like one of the most common.
Ba-bamail says that it's totally fine if teenagers are in their bedrooms a lot: "They are with their families every day and it is okay to allow them some independence (and between us there are worse things they could do besides being in their room)."
You can probably remember that your own teenage bedroom was your favorite place, and that it was nice to have a place to call your own.
9 "You Should Try This On"
Mom.me says that moms should never tell their teenager to try something on: "History has proven that current fashion trends are determined by finding the polar opposite of what your parents think you should be wearing."
That's funny... and so true. Every mom can relate to wanting their teenage son or daughter to dress a certain way or try a cool coat or shirt on, but this rarely works out. If you try this, you'll get eye rolls or groans and it's not going to go the way that you want it to. Let your kids figure out their own sense of style. They definitely want to express themselves.
8 "Give Me A Minute"
What's wrong with telling your son or daughter, "Give me a minute?" At first glance, it doesn't seem like anything would be wrong with this, and it seems innocent.
As this mom writing for The Huffington Post points out, there is a downside. She says, "If only I had a dime for each time I’ve said this during a hectic day. But I believe it tells your kids you are brushing them off. And I don’t want to do that."
That makes sense, and it's not what any mom wants to do. It would definitely be better to stop what you're doing and listen to what your son or daughter has to say and then get back to your activity.
7 "Let Me Fix Your Hair"
When moms tell their teenage sons or daughters that they want to fix their hair, it doesn't go over super well. According to Mom.me, moms don't want to say this, and your teenagers will never want you to touch their hair.
Even though this does seem super innocent, you can totally see how your teen would be frustrated by you saying this. While you think that it's no big deal, they think that this is unfair and that you're not giving them enough space.
6 "You Shouldn't Care What Others Think About You"
It takes us a while to learn that we shouldn't care what people think about us. Even if we're grown-ups and we have families of our own, we know that this can be a struggle sometimes. Everyone wants to be loved and to have the approval of others.
Popsugar suggests that moms don't say, "You shouldn't care what others think about you" to their teenager. Why? Because it doesn't help them at all.
The truth is that your teenager is still going to be concerned with other people and how they see her, so they're not going to stop that, even if you tell them to.
And the five things that teenagers will love to hear...
5 "I'll Think About It"
There are times when moms have to tell their teenagers "no." They don't want to, but it's necessary.
According to Psychology Today, it's better to say "I'll think about it." As the publication suggests, "Take some time, genuinely think about your response, truly hear your teen out, (engage them in a debate if they must) and then deliver your answer with confidence. They’ll respect a thoughtful “no” more than an automatic “no” every time."
If you asked a friend, family member, or your partner something and they said that they would mull it over instead of just saying no, you would appreciate that, right? You can definitely relate.
4 "Which TV Shows Are You Watching?"
Psychology Today includes this question in a list of things to ask your teenager.
This is a particularly good one because it would start a discussion and wouldn't shut them down. Even if your teenage son or daughter seems suspicious at first that you're asking them this question, you can follow it up with something about how you really want to know what they're interested in these days. They will like that you're paying attention to them and they'll tell you, and it could end up being a really nice bonding moment between the two of you.
3 "I Didn't Mean It"
More4kids suggets telling your teenager "I didn't mean it" after you two have a disagreement.
This is something that your teenager will love to hear since they will like that you're saying that you're sorry. It's a compassionate way to act toward them, and even if they complain a lot or act like things are unfair, they still need their mother's love. After all, you want your teenager to tell you that they didn't mean something that they told you, especially if it hurt your feelings, so it's nice to be that example.
2 "You're Special"
According to More4kids, this is a phrase that moms absolutely want to say to their teenagers. As the publication says, "saying the words can have a huge impact on your child’s self esteem as well as your relationship with your child. Hug your child (even your teenager!) and tell him or her that they are important, that they are special. It only takes a minute, but it will make a difference."
This is a really great idea since a mom's biggest job when raising a teenager would be helping them get through these tough years. Your teenager will love hearing that you think so highly of them.
1 "I'm Already Proud Of You"
According to the mom blogging at Grown and Flown, she has several things that she says to her teenagers when they experience stress. She says, "I'm already proud of you" which moms can agree is an awesome thing to say.
This is perfect on a few levels: it shows that you're proud, which they want to hear of course, but it also shows that even if they make a mistake or mess up, you're still there for them. It's always good to know that even though high school can be turbulent, your mom is always in your corner.