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10 Ways to Change your Loser Parent Image

Image Gallery: Parenting You don't have to be the coolest mom on the block, but you don't want to be viewed as a loser. See more pictures of parenting.
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If you're raising tweens or teens, you know it can be difficult to maintain the same relationship you had with them when they were younger. All of a sudden, they seem to think that you aren't cool anymore -- and they might be right!

In this day and age, you have enough to worry about when it comes to raising your kids. From monitoring the time they spend on the computer to ensuring they do their homework and eat something green, being cool just isn't on your priority list.

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Changing your image might seem like a daunting task, but it's not as hard as you may think! How can you convince your kids you're not a loser? Read on to discover 10 easy ways to get back in their good graces -- no Justin Bieber concert tickets necessary.

Your kids can tell when you're trying too hard to impress them or their friends, and you'll likely embarrass them with your newfound hip language and attitude if you try to speak and act like them. Not only will this create the opposite effect of what you're hoping for, you'll just be embarrassing yourself in the process.

Know the difference between what's cool for you and what's cool for your tween or teen. For example, simply knowing about the music video by your tween or teen's favorite artist is different than learning the dance in the video and then performing it in front your kid's friends. If you blur the line, you might find yourself as the target of your child's teasing or jokes. Just remember -- when you try too hard to be cool, you become even more uncool.

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Show up to his big game -- he'll love the supoort.
Show up to his big game -- he'll love the supoort.
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Does your tween or teen like to shop? Take a shopping trip together. Does he or she play sports? Make a date to throw a ball, or go to a sporting event together. Is your kid into movies? Go see a matinee.

See how easy this is? Spending time in your child's world is a great way to show him that you can be interested in the same things he is. When he was younger, it was probably common for you to pick the activity that you did together. Now that he's older and has his own interests, let him take the lead. You might even learn a thing or two about what he likes.

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Even if your kid's hobbies aren't really your cup of tea, it would mean the world to him or her if you show some interest and get involved.

Tweens and teens need space. But giving your child that freedom is a nightmare for every parent. For one, it means that she's growing up and there's not a thing you can do about it. And, let's face it: You can't go everywhere with her and know what she's doing all the time. That's scary!

Giving your child space shows her that you trust her -- and earning your kid's trust will help you earn some cool points. Take her to the mall or amusement park, and don't be afraid to let her wander around with just her friends. Your tween or teen wants to feel independent, and she'll be grateful for the extra rope. Just make sure to have a designated time and place to meet back up with her wherever she's hanging out. Always play it safe.

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Patronizing just leads to arguments.
Patronizing just leads to arguments.
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As your kids get older, it can be difficult to accept that they're right sometimes, or that they're knowledgeable and opinionated about certain issues.

Because you're a parent, you spend the majority of your life teaching your kids about almost everything. However, there's a clear difference between being authoritative and being patronizing. Bottom line: Kids know when they're being talked down to. Not only is this damaging to their self-esteem, it shuts down the lines of communication that you have with them. Talk to your kids like they're young adults, and give them some respect! If you do, they'll likely return the favor.

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There's nothing more embarrassing to a teen than having a parent who's not up to date with current technologies. Still listening to that Walkman? That's definitely the mark of a loser parent. You don't have to go crazy and spend gobs of money updating your gadgets, but you should at least become knowledgeable about technology that affects your kids. Kids are crazy about texting, so learn how to text or instant message. Maybe even sign up for a Facebook or Twitter account. Feeling a little computer illiterate and not sure where to start? Register for a computer class, do some research online or even have your tween show you the ins and outs of modern technology. Using the same means of technology will help you communicate better with your tween or teen. You can say "thx" later.

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Let your tween give you a stylish makeover!
Let your tween give you a stylish makeover!
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Moms, it's not 1980 anymore. If you're still wearing styles you sported back in college, it's probably time to consider an updated wardrobe.

Here's a good litmus test for determining the coolness of your wardrobe: If your jeans rise above your belly button, you might be a loser. Go shopping with your kids and have them help you update your look. Not only is this a great opportunity to bond with your tweens or teens, they might enjoy the challenge as well … particularly if you work in a fun lunch date or buy them a little something for their efforts.

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Also, don't be afraid to go beyond new clothes. The more effort you put into your makeover, the more it will pay off. Why not try a new workout routine, a fresh makeup palette and maybe even a chic hairstyle? Be careful not to go overboard though -- you should still dress appropriately for your age.

Most kids really enjoy being able to talk to their parents about what's going on in their lives without fear that they'll get lectured or patronized. Try your best to have regular conversations with your kids about their friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, schoolwork and extracurricular activities. If you aren't used to chatting with your kid, it might take more than one try to get him or her talking -- don't give up if you don't get the response you want right away.

Support kids with good advice when they ask for it, but remember that sometimes your tween or teen might just need a listening ear. And above all, never spill the beans about something personal your kid has told you, especially when you're around his or her friends.

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Be supportive of their hobbies, whether they're into ballet or badminton.
Be supportive of their hobbies, whether they're into ballet or badminton.
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We all want the best for our kids. Wouldn't it be great if yours was Harvard-bound and could hit a baseball like nobody's business? As your tween or teen grows up, he's developing goals and aspirations of his own. Be supportive by providing as much help as you're able.

Supporting your child's pursuits can be difficult, especially if you don't think they're worthwhile. Showing support might mean more than giving him a ride to practice or writing a check for an expensive instrument -- it might mean making time for a quick study session or showing up to the football game. Your tween or teen will be able tell the difference between normal parenting and genuine care and support. He may not say it out loud, but he'll be appreciative.

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Remember what we said about keeping private info confidential? You may think it's entertaining to sometimes embarrass your kids (all in good fun, of course), but be careful! Teenagers in particular feel very strongly about how they're perceived by others, especially their friends. Never embarrass them by spilling personal information in front of friends or family members. Also, stay away from pet names and be wary of any jokes, dance moves or eating habits that could potentially cause embarrassment to your teen. A few embarrassing comments or acts might be just the thing that keeps your teen from wanting you around his or her friends, making it nearly impossible to overcome your label as a loser parent.

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Hosting a sleepover is a great way to meet your child's friends.
Hosting a sleepover is a great way to meet your child's friends.
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Let your kids have their friends over! Your tween or teen's world is mainly centered around his or her friends, so open your home for a movie viewing party or maybe even a sleepover. Not only will everyone have a great time (after all, you put out the best snacks), you'll sleep better at night knowing your teen is in the safety of your own home.

Beware of hovering when your tween or teen has friends over, though. Don't check in with them too much, and be sure to give them the space they need and want!

Lastly, do your best to create an environment that's fun and inviting. You don't have to provide a fully finished basement with every gaming console known to man, but a decent TV and comfortable chairs and throw pillows are a must!

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Sources

  • Family Education. "When Kids Become Too Cool for Their Parents." (Jan. 2, 2011).http://life.familyeducation.com/peer-pressure/self-image/36377.html
  • Irons, Kori Rodley. "Watch Out for Being Patronizing."Families.com. (Jan. 4, 2011).http://parenting.families.com/blog/watch-out-for-being-patronizing
  • National Middle School Association. "Technology Tips for Parents."(Jan. 3, 2011).http://www.nmsa.org/moya/planyourcelebration/prresources/technologytips/tabid/1200/default.aspx
  • Romero, Stephanie. "Spending Time with Your Teen."Families.com. Sept. 7, 2010. (Jan. 2, 2011).http://parenting.families.com/blog/spending-time-with-your-teen
  • Teen Issues. "Surviving Embarrassing Parents."(Jan. 2, 2011).http://www.teenissues.co.uk/SurvivingEmbarrassingParents.html

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