8 Ways To Be, Like, The Worst Parent To Your Teen

pissed-off-teen Image via Shutterstock

1. Take an interest in their lives. Ask about their friends, their friends’ parents, and how their day was. Initiate a conversation that requires more than a one-word response or grunt.

2. Lay down some boundaries. Even if they are teeny, tiny boundaries, like bedtime, or how many nights a week it’s ok to stay over at a friend’s house, or when and where it is acceptable to poke a new hole in your body. Apparently, rules serve no purpose other than to force your kid into a box of conformity and suffocate all their individuality.

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3. Allow them the opportunity to amuse themselves — without electronics — for an hour each day. Encourage them to use their imaginations, or OH THE HORROR, read a book. Refuse to cave in to the pending panic attack caused by the separation anxiety due to the loss of the iPhone or iPad for thirty minutes.

4. Give them chores. Ask them to haul their knee-high pile of filthy clothes to the laundry room themselves, or, oh sweet merciful heavens, to rinse the dishes or load the dishwasher. How dare you try to instill a sense of personal responsibility toward their own living space, or teach them how to properly load a washing machine so that they don’t destroy their entire college wardrobe the first month away from home!

5. Ask them to participate in family time for at least half an hour each day. There is nothing in the world quite as lame as Family Game Night, especially if it’s an activity that requires everyone to be in the same room, or *gasp* interact with each other!

6. Talk about the hard stuff. Like sex, drugs, politics, religion, and why there’s a towel under the bed that could stand up on its own.

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7. Show up. You don’t even have to sit on the front row. You could be hiding out in your minivan in the parking lot, with the windows rolled up. Just being there is enough to scar them for life.

8. Try to help… with ANYTHING. If you haven’t learned by now, you don’t know jack shit. You were obviously hatched fully grown and never lived through any teenage drama yourself, so you have nothing of interest or relevance to contribute to ANYTHING your teen might be going through right now.

Related post: How to be the Most Embarrassing Parent in the World

About the writer

Love Barnett is a work-from-home mom of too many kids to count, trophy wife, and emphatic wielder of the "Because I said so" card. You can find her unbridled perspective into the world of beer, babies, beauty, and baubles on her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, or if you're feeling adventurous (or bored) you can check out her much-neglected blog Momma Said NO.

From Around the Web


Mo 1 year ago

My teenager has three chores: cleaning her room, doing her own laundry and emptying the dishwasher. You’d think I asked her to scrub down every single window not only of this house, but every other house in town! I like the idea of an hour of no electronics. I think I’ll start doing that. I’ll let you know how that goes..lol!

My Special Kind of Crazy 1 year ago

My 5 year old tells me I am her “best mommy” all the time; showers me with “I love you’s” and every night wants me to “come in for a cuddle”. I soak these moments up like a sponge…there will be times I am just wanting to be on the couch with my glass of wine already and then I think when she is 13 I will be wistfully thinking back on the days she wanted to spend each waking moment with me. So I’m gonna grab these while I can!
Oh, and I am pretty sure if you sing aloud at all ever in front of your kids you are considered the worst parent ever.

Jeff Neilsen 1 year ago

I always kept a firm hand with my kids. When they were adolescent, I told them that wherever they went, and whatever they decided to do was OK, because I knew they understood that even the police wouldn’t be as big of a problem for them than if I showed up. After explaining this to them carefully, I really never felt the urge to go out after them.

Roshni 1 year ago

There are days when I blow up because of the towel but then I remind myself that at least they had a shower that day!! 😛

T 1 year ago

Gotcha beat. My kids know the rule. If they miss the bus more then once in a school year, I am happy to drive them. In the beater car, with a house dress on, rollers in hair, fuzzy slippers, facial, bright red lipstick, and I WILL walk them to the appropriate class, introducing myself to their peers along the way. My son was late twice. lol.

Lena Blair 1 year ago

I do all of this with my daughter and she loves it, she calls me her best friend and asks for advice based on my teen years experiences. I have to wonder what is wrong with my daughter LOL!! Heck, her friends all come to me too and call me mom and enjoy spending time with me.

Nicolle Monoxelos 1 year ago

i have an 11yr old boy anx holy mothef or hormones! he was sweet huggy and lovey now if we are alone he is and a 10mo girl he is a love with her but a flake! the flaky to thw point of not caring and blank stare makes my skin burn off! ugh but i think the girly will be worse! I will be commiting myself in 12 or so yrs

Anita 1 year ago

Just entering 11 with my granddaughter ( 2nd time around raising kids)l attitude change overnight. I say these things to her parents are around to guide kids because kids aren’t ready to make good choices have jobs and cook etc if they were there would not be parents
Chores it is my job as a parent to teach you life skills cleaning is one of those otherwise we would be hoarders ( who hasn’t watched that show)
Boundaries/ upcoming curfews We love you so much and want to make sure you’re safe again going back to life skills the older you get the more you learn.
Hissy fits- I tell her that’s not a good look for you she usually ends up laughing

Cyndi Cheatwood 1 year ago

Great article. I would also add, ask them questions or make comments on their social media posts. This always makes them happy.

Melanie Tong 1 year ago

Oh, these are suggestion to BE the worst parent of TWEENS -haha! My kids haven’t hit puberty yet so no scars for now :-)

Nikki Koh 1 year ago

No quiz. Just doing 5 out of the 8 things listed.

Melanie Tong 1 year ago

Wah! So fast. I didn’t take the quiz. Lemme check!

Nikki Koh 1 year ago

5 out of 8… Ok or not?

Jennifer Cotroneo Mancuso 1 year ago

It’s like flipping a switch. One day you have a sweet, kind, loving daughter. The next she wakes up with glowing red eyes and hates everything and everyone. Good luck. And keep a sense of humor. You’ll need it.

Jennifer Cotroneo Mancuso 1 year ago

Dinner. Every night. At the table. No phones. Worst parents ever!

Laura Fortney 1 year ago

I LOVE watching my man play just dance with the kids!! High quality entertainment!! But my kids threaten to video tape me dancing and use it for blackmail lol

Kaci Woods 1 year ago

I guess I’m like the worst parent ever cause we go through all of these almost everyday

Charlene Bruyns 1 year ago

Lol! I’m proud to say I fall under the worst parent category.

Tara Mueller Rea 1 year ago

Read that list and apparently I’m a pretty bad parent. I’m sure my teenager would agree

Amy Browning 1 year ago

Don’t forget going to the hard rock concert with your 15 year old and her two friends!!!! Even though I’ll be a row or two back I’m still “Wrecking the concert”…LOL My job here is done!!!

Breann Louise Hall 1 year ago

Mooooom! You’re ruining my LIFE

Grant Emberley 1 year ago

actualy — ya you can and can’t be their friend — not at first. we ALL need a parent figure in our life —

Grant Emberley 1 year ago

Towel Pfffff. socks are where its at — amatures

Elizabeth 1 year ago

Being a child like a lady a few post back I didn’t have very much support at football games while I played in the band and it was very hurtful bc I felt like they didn’t care enough to support something I loved doing and now being a mother and a step mother I go to every event! and as of now being the mother and step mother of girls a 12 almost 13, 9, &7 year old and a boy age 5, it is hell! my two are the littlest and they love me like I hung the moon and my youngest step daughter I think wouldn’t have an issue if she could live w us full time shes a sweetie BUT my oldest child is my problem kid! she has had her mind made from ab the time she was 7/8 that she would not under any circumstances ever allow me to be her ‘mom’ in this house. she seems to absolutely hate me!

Mandy Kuntze 1 year ago

But I don’t wanna know about the towel under the ds14’s bed……

Sarah Byrnes 1 year ago

Haha…. Serves those kiddies right. I’m sure I’ll be doing it soon enough too

Bonnie Bailey Rowell 1 year ago

Hysterical 😀

Jane Pryde 1 year ago

Uh oh. Guess I was the worst. LOL….failed all 8 and then some!

Elsa Kuhr Rock 1 year ago

😀 😀 😀

Jacqueline Horton 1 year ago

I think I do all of those

Michelle Beauchamp 1 year ago

Guess I suck. Brush my teeth everyday? God….Mom!

Cara 1 year ago

God, I hope so cause my 11 year old won’t shower unless we drag him in kicking & screaming!

Michele Taylor 1 year ago

Try 4 teen girls.. My oldest is 19. best friends tell 18. Then she got a serious bf and went stupid. Moved out /booted because she was just evil. Chaos every day. Getting her to even get up was a 2 hr ordeal. It’s getting better without her living here and hopefully she can control her head spins enough to come home. She was honor roll well behaved never snuck out partied. Always new what she was doing. But I chalk it all up to being a teen adult. They are stuck between being kid still and expecting everything still be gvn to them but they want to do what they want. Gotta love teens. And everyday I think dam my poor mom.

Jenny Cooper McEntyre 1 year ago

We’ve been so lucky with our eldest son, the only thing he gets moody about is when we go out as a family and he can’t stay at home. He helps, he is OK with us showing up, he asks our opinions on things it’s been easy 😉 Not sure it’ll be the same with his 10 year old brother who has a meltdown on an almost daily basis

Jenn Heley 1 year ago

Oh, you poor thing… I remember those days. My daughter was the sweetest most caring little girl I had ever known until about 10. Since then she’s gradually become this person that I hardly recognize and can only handle for limited periods of time. I’m hoping when the hormones calm down the look of pure hate and rage will leave her eyes…

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

We LOVE family game night. It’s a staple of guaranteed good times, as long as you pick something that everyone can enjoy. We rotate it, too, so it’s sometimes a board game, sometimes a card game, and sometimes, even a video game. You ever tried to play Just Dance with a roomful of kids without laughing?

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

LOL That’s exactly the thing!! One minute, they’re making dumb decisions because teenage impulse control, and the very next second, they throw out a “Why doesn’t the world do THIS” random comment that is nothing short of GENIUS.

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

Grace is our only girl out of 5! We almost didn’t make it through her year 11, but it’s gotten WAY better since then. I’ve got pictures of her bedroom door, where she made all these “Keep Out” signs and “No One is Allowed in Here!” LOL Now, she’s got glitter stickers and family photos stuck all over the same door. Puberty is hell.

gina 1 year ago

Dont forget checking their plans and introducing yourself to their friends parents…They realllly hate that! :)

Joan M Piwoni Barfield 1 year ago

This deserves a Love, Love, Love it! Get involved- they will thank you when they are adults! Isn’t this the truth Cassandra Sommerfeldt

Kirsten Bowman Young 1 year ago

Well here’s hoping for the better, my only girl, out of six, is 9….. I guess I have a couple of years to become cooler than peanut butter!! Lol(I love that!)

Melanie Tomlinson 1 year ago

You betcha!!!

Laurie Nunez 1 year ago

After you’re horrible, they grow up and thank you for all you did for them when you were horrible!

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

I think it’s all or nothing with the girls LOL Either they can’t stand to breathe the same air as you, or you’re the coolest thing since peanut butter. There’s no middle ground with a 13 year old girl. LOL

Sandi Browning Graser 1 year ago

OMG, it doesn’t matter what anyone tells you, or what you did, or what your parents did, or what your friends and relatives did…. I guarantee that your precious little baby will think of something better. THEY ARE SMARTER THAN WE ARE! And they think of shit that we never dreamed of. And, I’m so thankful that my kids, who are waaaaaaayyyyy smarter than I was, will be running this f’d up country. Love you girls! Chelsea Browning, Alixz Browning Thompson

Kim Racila Sherwood 1 year ago

Ooh, I got 7 out of 8! Time to start having game night.

Amber Gaillard 1 year ago

Wow….. I AM like the worst teen parent ever! Mwahahaha (evil laugh) I win!!! SaiDee Gaillard Kinsee Gaillard Harlee Gaillard

Robyn Hart Bloomquist 1 year ago

Too true!

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

I do that to my daughter Grace, too LOL “LOVE YOU GRACIE! MAKE GOOD CHOICES!”

Kirsten Bowman Young 1 year ago

I agree! The one that hates it is 13, but my 15 and 16 yr old are openly affectionate. Sometimes i wonder how it would have been had they all been girls. . .!

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

I’m the strictest mom out of my kids’ circle of friends too, except for the rare, ultra-conservative ones, but you CAN still be the cool mom even with rules LOL It’s the greatest compliment a teenager can bestow, when they say “Wow. Your mom is awesome” within your earshot!

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

You know what’s weird? The older my boys get, the more affectionate they’ve gotten! Like around 11-12, it embarrassed them, but at 14, 15, 16, they hang all over me! Even in public! It’s glorious! LOL

Sarah Fritz-Maldonado 1 year ago

Lol love this I’m an awesome parent but my 13 year old has realized I’m still cool even though I’m bout the strictest parent out of all his friends lol

Lucy Krumba 1 year ago

And my personal favourite has to be, ‘show up’. Oh yeah, that one really puts the cat among the pigeons. Giving them money doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Tara Carty Miller 1 year ago

I have a 17yo and a 5yo son who I never let leave me without me telling them I love them and not letting them leave before they say it back no matter who is standing there!! My 17yo is gone all summer long for work but I make him check in with me everyday so that I know he’s ok and that he knows I love him!

Kirsten Bowman Young 1 year ago

I have one who HATES to be hugged , so when he’s been particularly ornery, I hug him in front of kids…. Hey, one out of six isn’t too bad! Lol

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

If I had a nickle for every time our older boys have said, “But Mom doesn’t make me…at her house” I would be somewhere tropical right now.

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

LOL I didn’t want to get morbid about it, but I started to say too, that just in case that’s the last thing they hear from me, I want it to be that!

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

My sons were older before the shit hit the fan, but my daughter? The year between 8 and 9. Yep. Totally.

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

We did. Well, when I say “we,” I mean that I discussed masturbation with my daughter, and my husband discussed it with our sons. It’s part of their sexuality, and they need to know that (a) it’s okay and normal, and (b) I don’t want to know about it, and (c) clean up after your damn self.
So, yeah. We’ve discussed the towel under the bed. LOL

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

I have a firm “take your OWN laundry to the hamper” policy now. I’ve been burned too many times already.

Nom DePlume 1 year ago

But would you make it a topic of discussion?!! Mortifying for all! I have discussed the concept of both male and female *individual* sexuality with my daughter, including my view that it is healthy, natural, and private. But I would NEVER discuss my or her actual activities! No way!

Brianne Brewer 1 year ago

This!!!!! Add being a step-parent and you are even worse!!!! Lol

Wrap Artist Baskets 1 year ago

Bang on!!! Great article.

Melissa Munkers 1 year ago

That was my favorite one! Time to start doing their own laundry and cleaning their own shower. Yuck.

Kirsten Bowman Young 1 year ago

Right!!!! But then I have reminded them that life is short…. What’s the last thing you would want to say to someone? Say it proudly , I love you!

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

I’ve been known to yell to mine, “BYE SWEETIE! Love you! Make good choices!” Mostly for my own amusement…

Keri DeHerrera 1 year ago

Is 8 years old the new tween? Because this is really hitting home 😉

Kirsten Bowman Young 1 year ago

Phew… Just when I was beginning to think I wasn’t being a decent mom… Can we add the fact that I walk out to the car to meet who picks them up, and I always give them a hug and kiss good bye til they say love you mom… I don’t feel so bad. :)

Jenny Bates Sosa 1 year ago

Gotta add one. Be their parent, not their best friend. I see this happen too often and it ends up backfiring. There is plenty of time to be their friend when they are adults. I have a 21 year old that is my friend now and I believe that being her parent and doing these 8 things helped out a lot. I was very fortunate to have an easy time during her teen years. Now I’m about to go through it again with my son. And again in 10 years with my youngest. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying every moment with them.

Olga Kaminsky 1 year ago

Love it! Lol. Ready to be the worst parent :)

Amanda Parrish 1 year ago


chill 1 year ago

With 2 girls, ages 11 and 9, I see the train coming at me full speed ahead. Please pass the wine… no, please pass the tequila.

Sabrina 1 year ago

I know the attitude of number 7 exists and it annoys the hell out of me. My parents were divorced and my father did everything to keep my mother out of my life (I didn’t see her from the time I was 14 until I moved out of his house). So she never went to anything I did in school. When I was in a play in 12th grade my father refused to go because there would be too many people there. No one from my family was there and it was very hurtful. Aside from the spring and winter concerts (which I believe he went to simply because I needed a ride) he never went to anything. Whenever a kid complains about their parents showing up, I want to give them a (not literal) smack in the back of the head.

Nom DePlume 1 year ago

I’m not sure you should mention the towel . . . Ever.

Jean 1 year ago

The frequent baths and showers start around 13.

Misty Littleton Blair 1 year ago

According to this, I’m already the worst parent ever. Oldest is only 9.

Dawn Evans Howard 1 year ago

Me too. LOL

Kayte Loudenback 1 year ago

“The towel that can stand up on it’s own” almost made me cry! Lmfao

Dawn Evans Howard 1 year ago

Been there done that and I survived!! LOL

Kirsten Kowalzik 1 year ago

I do all of these!

Meagan Barnes 1 year ago

Spot on.

Michelle Wilson 1 year ago

Yes yes yes. I cannot wait for this!!!

Denise M Allain 1 year ago

I’m sure I could have done a better job with 2,3 and 4…. but the rest of them I know I did and still do….. even though they are both in their 20’s

Vanessa Lane 1 year ago

I am that parent. I’ve always helped out at school and gone to every event so my kids would think it was weird if I didn’t!

Abi Zimmerman 1 year ago

Every. Damn. Day.

Nadina Iadimarco 1 year ago

The teen years are JUST beginning in my family. Yikes! Good thing my daughter is a sweet heart.. so far right??

Momster’s Diaries 1 year ago

Loved this post and the “how to be the most embarrassing parent ever”. I cheer to loudly at her games, and HBD used to yell I love you Gracie out the car window when dropping her off at school. Needless to say, I was laughing hysterically. Great posts!

Sara 1 year ago

Oh My Word, the towel. With one 2yo son and another boy on the way, I think this is something my future might hold. *sigh*

Jeanne Wright Perkin 1 year ago

sure are and I have done them all…ask my kids I was the worst mom ever…


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