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20 Damaging Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager

20 Damaging Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager

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No one is perfect, and that includes parents.

Even though we may love our kids with all of our hearts, sometimes we say things to them that we instantly regret.

There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to parenting teens, yet there are things parents should never say to their teenager.

It’s a time when they are being asked to figure out who they are and what they believe in, and it’s also when you have to trust that they are making the right decisions as they navigate their way through life. 

So, having a conversation with your teenager can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that what you say can have a big impact.

It is not easy being a parent and sometimes you need to say things that your teenager may not like or agree with but are still for his/her own good.

There are some things that parents should never say to their teenage kids because they can be harmful and damaging. 

If you’re a parent who’s ever had moments where you wished you could take back what you said to your teenager, read on.

This post will outline twenty things parents should never say to their teenagers.

Your teen will thank you!

Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager

20 Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager

1. ”You will understand when you will become one”

This is one of the most common things that parents tell their children, but it can do more harm than good.

This statement makes it seem as if your teenager is too immature to understand what you want to say.

The truth is, teenagers don’t have any idea what it feels like to be in your shoes until they become parents themselves.

It’s not fair to compare your issues with theirs, or vice versa.

Parents should take the time and explain what they mean so that there is no confusion and misunderstanding.

2. ”You are my child and I will always take care of you”

This statement can make a child feel as if he/she does not have to think about the future, which is something that teenagers need to be taught about.

Parents need to explain that they cannot take care of them forever, and teach them about different career options so that they know what they would like to do in the future.

3. “You’ll thank me later”

What this means is that the child’s needs and feelings are secondary to what the parent wants.

This can lead teens to feel resentful and not value their relationship with their parents as much as they should.

Instead, show your teen respect by trying to understand his or her perspective on issues before making decisions.

4. “Because I said so”

This is 100 percent guaranteed to elicit an eye roll and/or sigh from your child. 

This won’t win you any respect from your child.

You’re basically saying that they lack the intelligence to come up with their own reasons or explanations for why something has to be done a certain way or why they can’t go somewhere or do something.

You might as well tell them ‘because I said so’, but at least add some details as to why they can’t go or do whatever it is that you’re forbidding.

Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager


5. “You’re grounded for 1 year!”

Without laying down some rules and consequences, this may cause your teen to feel more rebellious in the long run.

6. “You’re an embarrassment!”

Teens might think this means their parents don’t love them or want them at home.

They may become defensive and insist on moving out.

7.  “I told you so”

Teenagers are too full of themselves to realize their parent was right. Just let them figure it out on their own.

8. “I know what’s best for you”

This quote is a major pet peeve for most teenagers.

No one knows what’s best for them except themselves.

You can offer advice and help guide them through life, but in the end, it’s their choice which path they take and how they get there. 

9. “We never had these problems when we were young”

The fact is, every generation has its own set of problems.

10. “You’re so fat” or “That shirt looks terrible on you”

This has a huge impact on your teen’s self-esteem.

Teens already struggle with self-esteem issues because of the constant comparisons between themselves and their peers.

They are comparing what they look like to the images in magazines, movies, and TV shows.

Teens also compare how they feel about themselves to how others treat them at school, home, and among their peers.

That’s why it’s so important for parents not to add to their struggle by telling them negative things about themselves.

11. “You’re not my child.”

This is something that some parents say after they’ve had an argument with their teen or when the teen has done something wrong. 

Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager


12. “If you don’t do well in school, you’ll end up flipping burgers”

Telling your child that they will be stuck at a dead-end job unless they get good grades puts an unnecessary amount of pressure on them, especially as they are trying to figure out what they want to do with their life.

It’s a good idea to let your teen know that there are plenty of other options out there besides working 9-to-5 in a cubicle (which isn’t all that bad anyway).

13. “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?”

This is always a bad thing for parents to say and can lead to resentment between siblings when one child feels that their parents prefer them over the others.

Siblings should be allowed to develop their own personalities and skills without being compared every step of the way.

14. “I’ll kick you out if you don’t do as I say”

15. “I’m disappointed in you”

It’s easy to get frustrated with our children, but remember that they’re just kids.

No matter how badly they act or what mistakes they make, they’re still our babies.

They need us to be there for them and help them succeed in life, not rub their failures in their face.

16. “Why do you have to be such a jerk about it?”

Taking an issue personally is one of the biggest mistakes parents can make when dealing with their teen’s attitude.

While it’s important to discuss issues calmly and rationally, it’s also important to realize that your child might not see things from your point of view — and that’s OK.

You don’t want your child to grow up thinking every decision made in life should be agreed upon by everyone involved.

17. “You never listen to me”

You may feel that your teenager isn’t listening to a word you’re saying, but no matter what kind of back and forth banter goes on between you, it is extremely important that you make sure that you have heard your teenager out before giving them advice.

This is particularly true in a time such as adolescence when teens need guidance more than ever.

If you jump straight into telling them how to solve their problem without taking the time to listen to them to talk about it first, then you will never get through to them.

Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Teenager


18. “Don’t worry about schoolwork; when you grow up, you can hire people to do that for you”

Parents who say this are telling their kids there’s no point in trying hard in school because they won’t need the knowledge later on in life.

What kind of example does that set for them?

Telling your children not to worry about something sends the message that there’s no point in even trying.

19. “You look like hell”

Parents may think they’re being supportive by telling their child they’ve put on weight or have bags under their eyes — but they’re really just needlessly insulting their youth.

20. ”You are nothing but trouble/you will never amount to anything”

Telling your teenager that they are nothing but trouble or that they will never amount to anything will only serve to make them feel worthless, isolated, and alone.

Worse yet, it may make them want to rebel even more against you or society in general.

It’s important to remember that teens go through every possible emotion at one time or another and if you can’t handle their behavior then it may be best for you to step away from the situation and get help.


Once we become parents, our perspective on life changes.

We tend to see the world through different eyes than our children.

Sometimes we see things differently because we’ve had more experience.

Sometimes our view is skewed because we’re no longer young and wild like they are.

In either case, it doesn’t mean we should share those opinions with them.

It’s not that we shouldn’t offer advice or guidance; it’s how we go about doing it.

Our children will only learn from us if they respect us as parents.

As a parent, your job is to set an example for your children by the way you live your life and relate to them.

You might think that yelling at and criticizing your teenager will make him or her afraid of doing something wrong, but you’re wrong.

That sort of behavior will only cause your child to rebel more and do what you tell them not to do.

Instead of threatening and criticizing, correct them in love and set a good example.

Seek support from older parents and seek therapy, if that’d help.

things parents should never say to their teenager

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