When my kids were little I used to think to myself, “this just can’t get any harder than this.” Fast forward more than a decade later and I’ve realized something – boy was I wrong!
Raising teens is hard work! I still lose sleep over them, I still have days when I’m absolutely exhausted and they completely wear me out, and I still worry all the time – just for different reasons.
The past decade has been an education not only for my kids but also for me as I navigate my way day-by-day to help them become compassionate, hard-working, productive adults in society. And, throughout the endless triumphs and challenges we’ve endured, I’ve seen and heard just about everything (well… almost everything). Not surprisingly, I’ve picked up a thing or two along the way – little teen (and parent) “isms” you might say that perhaps only a parent of a teenager would truly understand.
What I’ve learned about raising teens:
- Their cell phones are way more important to them than we are.
- They all want a dog, a cat or a rabbit until it’s time to take care of it.
- Their idea of cleaning is just putting things in less obvious places.
- They want (and need) us to drop everything and give them our undivided attention when they’re in the mood to talk.
- They’re great at pretending they don’t need us… until they do.
- They have no idea what anything costs and, for the most part, they don’t particularly care.
- They’re capable of going without sleep for three days.
- And then… sleeping for three days straight.
- They’re clueless about how to run the dishwasher, but they know virtually everything about everything else.
- Seeing us get older makes them nervous, even though they try to hide it.
- They secretly want us to be cool… but not too cool.
- There’s nothing worse than a mother’s imagination when our teen is 15 minutes late and we hear sirens in the distance.
- They’re our toughest critic and our most ardent supporter.
- Between the time your child is 13 and 19 years old, you’ll consume more ibuprofen than you thought humanly possible.
- They can eat non-stop for 24 hours and still be hungry.
- Their actions will always speak much louder than their words.
- At times you’ll look at them, question their sanity and wonder if they’re really your child.
- They’re always bored, even five minutes after doing something really fun.
- When they want to hide their whereabouts, they’re really good at it.
- They never, ever know how something broke. It was like that when they came home.
- They can bring you to the brink of insanity and then melt your heart in about 28 seconds flat.
- They still want and need our touch
- Their bedroom is their sanctuary and no matter how messy it gets, they like it just the way it is.
- They love us far more than they’ll ever admit.
- They want us to give them the freedom to make mistakes.
- They despise it when we criticize their driving.
- The future scares them.
- They need far more privacy and alone time than we realize.
- Clothes and how they look are very important to them – even though they pretend not to care.
- The word “no” just means give it 20 minutes and try again… then repeat until it’s a “yes.”
- Even though they tease their siblings, they would kick someone’s *% if someone messes with them.
- Deep down inside they really want to please us.
- They want the freedom to cry in front of us when life gets tough. (Yes, boys too.)
- They like to push the limits just to see our reaction and then text their friends about it.
- They really hate it when we yell at them.
- Some of them are very clever at hiding alcohol under their Halloween costumes.
- They would share everything with us if we just stopped overreacting.
- They can watch Netflix or play a computer game for 6 hours straight without ever looking up.
- Some of your best conversations will happen in the car staring straight ahead at the road.
- If anyone breaks your child’s heart, you secretly wish you could seek revenge.
- With every passing day, you love them more than you ever thought possible.
- There will be days they won’t make eye contact with you and it will be really hard not to take it personally.
- They love coming home to a home-cooked meal.
- They wish we stopped turning every damn news story into a “teaching moment.”
- They wish we would spoil them more.
- They’re tired of the pressure we (and society) place on them.
- They want to tell us everything about their friends, but then we’re expected to act like we don’t know anything when their friends walk in the door.
- Their favorite words are, “Come on Mom, I promise I’ll be careful!”
- They need us to trust them.
- They just want to be loved.
- Somehow, through the challenges and triumphs of raising them, they become our very best friends.
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Nancy Reynolds is a professional writer by day, a blogger by night and a mom of three teenagers day in and day out, who shares fresh and uplifting perspectives about motherhood and life raising our oh, so imperfect (but, totally awesome) teens. You can follow her at Raising Teens Today.