We all make parenting mistakes, being able to identify them and be aware of them empowers us to learn from them.

“It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.”
~ Rachel Wolchin

#3 Catastrophizing!

This is one of my all-time favorites. Some people have accused me of making this word up, but it’s a real word with a real definition.


to imagine the worst possible outcome of an action or eventto think about a situation or event as being a catastrophe or having a potentially catastrophic outcome

This is one of the biggest mistakes that I make as a parent and that I see many of my clients making. They will see a circumstance, maybe their teen’s action, and they will start worrying about the worst possible outcome.

“They’ll die in a ditch somewhere,” or, “They’ll ruin their future,” or, “They’ll live in my basement FOREVER!”

I am guilty of doing this. When my sons want to blow off practice for their sport, my brain goes to, “They’ll probably never play, if they even make the team at all.”

This is a huge mistake because it completely changes how you parent. Catastrophizing is only a thought, or possibly many thoughts. As a thought, it creates your feelings, which drive your actions and create your results.

Catastrophizing makes you miserable. It causes you to feel worry, anxiousness, shame, fear, and a whole host of other uncomfortable feelings. Catastrophizing robs you of the joy and peace that you can experience as a parent. It triggers your amigdala and puts you into fight, flight, or freeze mode.

#2 Trying to Fix, Change, or Control Your Teen.

This one is HUGE! This one rivals number one on this list. Again, this is something that I am often guilty of as a parent. And, it is something that I see over and over with the parents that I work with. Whether it’s happening in my life, my clients lives, or your life, I can tell you this; you CANNOT fix, change, or control anyone else!

Not only is this something that you cannot do, but it will cause huge amounts of frustration and negative emotion in your life.

Trying to fix, change, or control your teen is trying to get part of their model to fit into your result line in your model.

Also, trying to fix, change, or control your teen also sends the message that, “I don’t trust you,” or “I think you’re doing it all wrong,” or “There’s something wrong with you.”

Bonus – Honorable Mentions

  • Not knowing and/or defining your core values as a parent.
  • Not knowing and/or defining your role as a parent.
  • Trying to be perfect
  • Thinking you’re not good enough

#1 Focusing On Things OUTSIDE of Your Control

This is the #1 thing that I am seeing right now in my own life and in my experience working with parents that is a “mistake.” And, by mistake I mean that this is an action that they are taking that does not lead to the results that they want.

Recently I’ve worked with parents who are obsessed about the decisions that their teens are or are not making in regards to life choices, like school, grades, graduation, college, and marriage.

I’ve coached parents who are upset with their in-laws. They want them to behave differently when it comes to their grandkids and their roles as grandparents.

I recently coached a parent who found out about some of her teens actions from years in the past that could come with some pretty severe consequences. She is so worried about how others will take the news, whether her son will take responsibility, what will the family think, and so on.

In every circumstance, the answer is the same – identify what’s within your control and what’s outside of your control, let go of the things outside of your control, and double your focus on the things that are within your control.

Call to ACTION!

Stop beating yourself up for your parenting “mistakes”.

Stop worrying that you are doing it all wrong, and join the Firmly Founded Parent TODAY!

This is the first and most powerful step in developing confidence in yourself and your parenting.