To My Average Teens On the First Day of School, Behave and Be Good People

I know you aren’t looking forward to going back to school for many reasons. I realize that having your days stretched out before you to do whatever you’d like is much more appealing, and you want nothing more than to continue these carefree days.

I know, I get it. I, too, used to hate having to walk through the doors of high school and try to stay focused through classes. It was hard when all my friends seemed to get easy A’s, and I struggled to get a solid B. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be naughty and there were times I thought I knew better than all my teachers.

I realized you’ve heard this talk every September as we gather on the front porch to take the dreaded back to school photo, but I’m going to say it all anyway because if fear if I don’t, I’ll be in for a rollercoaster of a ride.

I love you all so much and it doesn’t matter to me you get average grades and are average in sports and are more focused on your friendships and lovers than the academic side of school. I won’t bore you with my stories from my glory days of high school (unless you want me to), but I’m begging you all, please, let’s just make it until June without me losing my mind.

Please, y’all. Please.

teens in jeans
Here’s what I want my teens to know on the first day of school.

First Day of School: 5 Things I Want My Teens to Know

  • First, be kind. Think about the person in your group who feels left out, or the one sitting alone at lunch. Resist the urge to be a jerk regardless of what your friends are doing.
  • Can we make it through the year without a call from the principal alerting me that you were late to class again, taking out your phone when you shouldn’t be, or dabbling in back-talk? No one likes a smart ass, not even a low-key smart ass so, let’s pull it together right now.
  • The time you were in Science class and were supposed to be working on a project, but decided to engage in a whipping contest with your friend while disrupting the whole class cannot happen again. My stress level is a little shot by having three teenagers, and I know you can demonstrate more self-control.
  • If you are tempted to skip class, don’t. If you feel the need to part take in a food fight during lunch, repress the urge.
  • It you want to get a laugh during math class, save it.

I don’t expect perfection. I don’t care how many awards you win, how many goals you score, or how many tests you ace. I care that you are respectful. I care that you are aware of your surroundings. I care that you are fair to your teachers, your classmates, and to yourself when you aren’t being treated fairly.

I care you are enjoying yourself and you are taking your studies seriously and doing your best. I care that you aren’t afraid to ask for help if you need it.

You had the entire summer to slack, now is the time to put some true effort into something. It’s not hard to get through the year without causing a ruckus at every turn. You know the rules, obey them. You know your teachers’ limits, respect them. You know what you are capable of, do it.

I know school isn’t your thing, and there are so many other places you’d rather be but listen to me: you can suck it up and behave. It’s a small ask. After all, I got third degree tears with each of you. I bled while I nursed you. I’ve lost a lot of sleep and I’m not sure how much more I can handle at this point in my mothering career.

All I’m asking is that if you think I’d be disappointed with you for acting a certain way, blowing something off, or taking a tone with an adult, DON’T. DO. IT.

When you move out of my house, you can do as you please so long as I won’t get a call from someone. But for now, let’s have a good year. Spare me a few gray hairs and behave. I know together we can do this. You know by now I’m not expecting you to be flawless students.

But I do expect you to be decent people in school, out of school, and everywhere in between.

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My Teens Are Horrible At Making Plans And I Don’t Get It

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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