My Teens Are Regressing And I’m Losing My Mind

“I really don’t understand how you can live like this,” is a phrase I say all too often to my kids. Their bedrooms look like a crime scene. Apparently, sheets are out of fashion and rolling around on a bare mattress with a comforter is more comfortable and appropriate.

They have no problem drinking from the faucet instead of getting an actual glass and their backpacks literally have ten pounds of crap in them including but not limited to: rotten bananas, stale bags of half-eaten trail mix, and papers from 2016.

Instead of putting dirty clothes in the hamper to be washed, they lie on the floor until my kids decide to wear them again. This usually results in running to the washer in full blown panic mode to try and get them clean in time.

It’s common sense of course–to throw your clothes in the hamper so your mother will wash and dry them so that they’ll be ready to wear again. All three of my kids used to be capable of performing this task. But, somewhere between growth spurts and PSATs, they seemed to have forgotten this concept. actually they’ve forgotten all concepts related to neatness.

teen boy on porch
I just don’t know what has happened to my teens! (Twenty20 @Jess.xn)

They know I go to the grocery store every Friday to get us all set for the weekend–I said it over and over. I leave a pen and pad of paper out in plain sight all week and say things like, “If you need something, write it on the list,” and “Remember, if I don’t use something and we run out of it, I have no idea we are out of it so if you want it you gotta add it to the list.”

And it never fails–I come home each week and get the stink eye because I forgot mayonnaise, ranch dressing, Nutella, or frozen waffles.

All of these little chores that would help me run the house more smoothly seem easy because they are. And I know my kids can do them because they have before. Our life wasn’t always like this.

My teens used to do chores without complaining.

My kids used to get up every morning and take pride in making their bed and lining up their stuffed animals. If anyone touched their things or messed with their organization, they knew it. They used to love to get out the pots and pans and make their own breakfast or lunch. If we were out of something they wanted, they reminded me so many times it was branded on my brain and I’d make sure to get it so as not to have to listen to them talk about it anymore.

It wasn’t hard to put their dirty clothes in the hamper or give themselves an appropriate amount of time to shower.

But I swear on my life, teen-regression is a thing. I’m not sure if it’s because they have so much on their minds, they are so tired the laziness kicks in, or they are just selfish, thinking everyone should be at their beck and call whenever they need them.

All I know is I’m having a really hard time with the fact that they no longer close the chip bag or change the toilet paper roll. No, they weren’t perfect when they were younger but there was a lot more effort put into things when they were of middle school age and I’m not sure how we got here.

The other day, my son was lying in his (unmade) bed with his pants around his ankles staring at the ceiling. I asked what was going on. He said it was just too hard to pull them up after he went to the bathroom. “I just can’t do it,” he said.

It was like watching an overgrown toddler squirm all over the floor because they’d rather put the energy into their tantrum than doing what their mother asked them.

I’m not really sure what is happening here, but it does feel like we are in a downward spiral in my house. I’ve tried my best to bring my kids back up to the level I know they are capable of, but my efforts are not working.

I guess the only thing I can do is let them eat the stale chips, sleep in unmade beds, and not have the clean clothes they are hoping for.

I know they have a lot on their plates and life is throwing “all the things” at them right now and perhaps home is the one place where they don’t feel like they have to keep up. As for me, and the woman who is trying to get us through these years, I’ll keep their bedroom door closed, my own stash of chips far away from them, and enjoy doing less laundry.

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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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