I am further along the parenting path than many of our Creating a Family community—in fact I am the mom to teens and beyond (gulp!). I hear often from younger parents that they are dreading their children’s approach to double digits. Who could blame them if you consider all that you read about teenagers. Teens have truly received a bad rap from the media. So as a self-appointed ambassador to Teenland, let me share some of the fun things you have to look forward to. If you are also parenting a human above the age of 12, please add to the list!
Five Things to Look Forward to With Teens:
- As your children age they can actually hold up their end of a conversation about topics that range further than who they sat next to at lunch or why they absolutely have to have the crusts cut off their sandwich.
- They can play games more complex than Candy Land, games you might actually enjoy playing, such as spades and Scrabble.
- The female version of the teen can help you accessorize when you are going out for the evening. (OK, honesty compels me to add that this can be something of a mixed blessing since they also feel free to say things like, “You aren’t planning on wearing that skirt with those shoes, are you?!?” or “Those pants make your butt look big.”)
- The male version of the teen can often be called on to lift heavy objects. In fact, often they will look for heavy objects that need lifting if you are willing to make complimentary comments about their muscles.
- They are handy at explaining how to work the latest electronic gadgets, although their help is most often accompanied by comments about “old people” coupled with “ineptitude”.
Five Things to Dread Not Look Forward to with Teens:
- They are hopelessly nocturnal and when not in school, they will totally reverse the normal human circadian rhythm. This diurnal shift affects you since they make noise during the night since it is in fact their day. These noises will drive any normal person (meaning anyone over the age of 22 or with a job) to the point of distraction and will bring out a vengeful streak you didn’t even know existed causing you to sing loudly and slam doors after 10:30 in the morning, with the time moving earlier depending on how many times you were awakened the night before.
- If they are in the least bit athletic, their rooms will smell like a locker room, and without constant vigilance (yours not theirs), that odor will creep outwards into the rest of the house.
- Picking movies to watch together is surprisingly hard since there is nothing that will ruin the enjoyment of a movie faster than watching a somewhat risqué scene with your teens. Trust me, every single PG13 movie will have at least one such scene.
- The second they are allowed to drive without a parent in the car, they will become obsessed with being away from home, which both hurts your feelings and scares you senseless.
- You constantly have to reassess what is worth holding the line on and what you need to give on. You will then second guess yourself wondering if you’re too rigid or too lenient. This debate usually happen in the middle of the night after they have awakened you with their constant noise. (See #1 above.)
Here’s the truth—there are things that are easy about each stage of development and things that are challenging. Infants cry for no apparent reason, two year old whine, five year old boss, nine year old lie, fifteen year old challenge. From my experience, no one age is easier than another across the board. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s mid-morning and I need to go stomping and singing through the house.
Now it’s your turn, what is the most challenging part of the stage your kids are at?
Image credit: Susan NYC