This Is 14 and It Isn’t Pretty, But You Are Definitely Not Alone as a Parent

My friend sat with her hands between her head. “It’s not supposed to be like this,” she said. “All she does is make TikTok videos, she won’t go anywhere with me, and she argues with everything I say. I could say the sun is yellow and she would crucify me for it.”

I agreed with my friend. I’d seen her daughter in action and she did, in fact, challenge everything her mother said in a tone that made you hold your breath because you weren’t sure what was going to happen next.

tween girls
I still haven’t recovered from my daughter’s 14th year. (Twenty20 @RJSilva)

I didn’t have advice about how to parent a fourteen year old

I really didn’t want to give her advice. How annoying, but also, I had nothing to offer. The only thing I could do was reassure her that it was the age–14 was a beast and I’d survived it twice. Not to mention my youngest is about to round out the trio and try and run me into the ground with his fourteenisms.

No, the third time isn’t a charm. I still have no idea how to handle 14.

I also let her know I still hadn’t recovered from my daughter’s 14th year because I’m not one to sugar coat a situation.

My third child will be 14 in a few months. And oh, I can tell you I see and feel 14 coming like a tsunami. I wish I had better skills to manage this difficult time, but I don’t and I haven’t the energy to pretend.

The terrible twos has nothing on the feisty fourteens.

Fourteen can make you crazy

Fourteen makes you want to ignore your child and do everything for them to simply avoid the sass and stress. It’s confusing as hell.

Fourteen will make you clench your jaw and butt cheeks on the daily. You might stop blinking for several minutes at a time and you will definitely develop a permanent line between your eyes.

Fourteen will make you ask “why” many times a day and it will make you crawl into bed most nights feeling low-key shocked.

If you think you’ve had difficult parenting years, just wait for fourteen. That year will prove you wrong and make you wonder why you ever thought any other year was hard.

Fourteen will make you feel like you could survive the newborn-sleepless nights, and potty training at the same time with one hand tied behind your back.

Fourteen will leave you saying, “What just happened?” a few times an hour.

Fourteen will make you feel like giving up.

It’s rude, it can be downright nasty, and make you feel so infuriated you need to talk about it. No one should have to navigate raising a fourteen year old child alone. I mean no one.

At fourteen, your kids get offended if you ask them to clean their room, if they want to have friends over (are you crazy?), and they will flip out when you want to take a picture of them after getting ready for a dance.

Fourteen has quite an attitude

The other day my son was making himself a snack. I asked him what he was up to. He said, “What does it look like?”

I told him to tone down the sass because I was just asking him a question. He replied with, “You don’t need to talk to me,” and went up stairs with these nuggets drowning in ketchup.

I yelled up the stairs that he better remember to bring down that dish when he was done and that he could clean his room and take a shower because eating fried chicken while being on his phone all day wasn’t a way of life.

It all ended with him slamming the door and me being red in the face.

So, after doing this twice, I literally have no idea what I’m doing. Also, if there are similar scenes in your house with your teenager, hopefully you don’t feel so alone now, right?

Really, it was the least I could do since I’m flying by the seat of my pants not knowing if my soon-to-be-fourteen year old will be talking to me from one day to the next.

Oh, and fair warning: I’ve tried easing the situation by speaking their language. You know, joining TikTok, saying things like “Oh, that’s fire,” and “You should flex that shirt more often because it looks great on you.”

Let me assure you that speaking to them in a language they understand doesn’t work, so save your energy for other things. Like telling them they best stop talking to you like you are a trash bag, and to make sure they use deodorant every day.

Parents of fourteen-year-olds know, this is hardcore. We’ve been preparing for this.
It’s all about survival now. We can do this. Godspeed.

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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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