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7 Things to Never Say to a Teenager

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It's inevitable. No matter how diligent you are, or how carefully you choose your words, at some point you're going to say something that will make your teen wish she was from another family. In fact, sometimes even a benign question like, "Are these your pants?" will make her want to stab you. But here are a few things you should never say, if you want to avoid ruining your kid's life forever.

1. “Let me show you how we used to dance back in my day.”

I’m pretty sure if you plugged that sentence into Google translator it would come back as, “I’m about to break out some moves that will make me look like I have scorpions in my underpants.” You should save The Bump, The Hustle and The Funky Chicken for your 40th high school reunion or, better yet, the privacy of your own bathroom.

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2. “Check out my Tumblr.”

Unless you’re trying to get everyone over 30 kicked off the Internet, let’s leave Tumblr to the young kids as it was meant to be. Besides, do you really need to reblog some random 14-year-old’s Harry Potter meme? You should stick to Facebook, where it’s perfectly acceptable to post slow-cooker recipes and inspirational quotes about renewing your soul through CrossFit.

3. “You should try this on.”

History has proven that current fashion trends are determined by finding the polar opposite of what your parents think you should be wearing. So this means that by waving that dress toward your teen while in Forever 21, you’ve pretty much guaranteed that she’ll head straight for that rack of booty shorts and tube tops.

4. “Here, let me do something with your hair.”

If you get anywhere near your teen’s hair and she doesn't flinch or do a duck-and-weave like there’s a mad owl flying toward her—you might want to check to see if she's still alive. Teens don’t like having their hair touched; that means no brushing bangs out of eyes, or smoothing down that cowlick before prom pictures. Although, you should tell him that the mullet was the unfortunate result of a teen going to the barber without his mother.

There’s nothing worse than having your mom pimp for you.

5. “You should go out with my friend Helen’s son/daughter.”

Let it be a rule that you should never, ever try and set your son/daughter up on a date, no matter how many Olive Garden BOGO coupons you have. There’s nothing worse than having your mom pimp for you, and if things go badly it’s just one more reason for him to blame his unhappiness on you—along with that mullet you should have warned him about.

6. “Hey, check out my tunes,” said at your teen’s party.

Trying to force your teen and their friends to listen to your music at a party is one of life’s great taboos, kind of like wearing stirrup pants with pumps—for the love of God, just don’t do it. Think your teen and his/her friends want to listen to your Kool and the Gang remixes or your collection of lost tapes from Woodstock? Think again, mister. Unless of course, it’s past 2 a.m. and you’re trying to find a way to send all those kids scurrying the heck out of your house. Then, by all means, cue up that second disc of Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits.

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7. “Surprise! I decorated your room for you!”

Not to hurt your feelings, parents, but those expensive knobs you picked out from Restoration Hardware are not welcome in your teen’s room at all. Also, contrary to popular belief, not every curtain needs a floral-printed valance, and not every bed needs a dust ruffle in sand beige. It may not be your aesthetic, but teens want every inch of their walls covered in posters of things you find disagreeable. You’d be better off surprising them with a strobe light, a nice staple gun and a gift certificate to Hot Topic.

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