Do you have certain moments in your life that you will never forget?
One of those moments was when the nurse brought my son into me hours after I gave birth to him. That was almost 15 years ago now… Remember how I told you before about that blinking problem I have (you can read about that here)?
I remember thinking during those first few years of being a parent just how physically, mentally and emotionally draining those days were. I also remember looking wistfully at people who had teens and thinking how much easier they probably had it since their kids were older and more self sufficient. Those parents are probably sitting somewhere together secretly laughing at me.
Now that I have a teen I owe those parents a huge apology because I was completely wrong about parenting teens.
You know those Mommy/Daddy & Me classes and baby/toddler parenting groups? What I can’t figure out is why there aren’t those same type of support groups for when you have teens. My elevated blood pressure from the daily stress of raising a teen can assure you it is needed.
From my experience so far, here is what you should know about parenting teens:
- I am still learning this, but try to not take it personal when teens are nice, full of smiles and conversation for everyone besides their parents (unless they want something or a ride somewhere).
- Do you like roller coaster rides? Well, once you become a parent of teen you will feel like you are constantly on one. Teens seem to either want absolutely nothing to do with you, or they will want your approval, affection and advice immediately.
- Teens know everything and you can’t ever win (but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying). This is a tough one for me. Some days my son loves nothing more than for me to be on the sidelines cheering him on during a basketball game, while other times I get side eye straight from the court if I open my mouth.
- Dating. (Here’s a whole other talk about that topic here)
- Teens have the immediate ability to forget the basics they were taught (clean up, don’t lie, be nice to your sibling), but they won’t forget to ask you for money, a ride, new sneakers and more. Remember the clean up song from when the kids were younger? Based upon the current status of my teenage son’s bedroom it appears he needs a refresher course on that song.
- Back to those basics they supposedly learned… Prepare yourself now for your teen to lie about the dumbest things (that can’t only be my kid) and to make some not very smart choices. Try and repeat after me, “teens have to make mistakes to grow and learn so they can hopefully be a successful adult“. That has been my mantra lately.
- Social media and smartphones aren’t always their friend. Unfortunately for our teens they live in the age where much of their communication is done via smartphones and social media. Sometimes they don’t think before they text, email, record, screenshot and send things. Get ready to sound like a broken record as you constantly tell your teen to be conscious of what they put out there because it can’t be taken back. (Bark is a smart way to keep kids safer online.)
- Last, but certainly not least, they take the longest showers in life, which my water bill can confirm. I wish I could remember when it shifted from my son complaining about having to take a shower to now taking multiple showers a day. (Click here for some tips on teaching a teen to shower faster.)
There is something else I forgot to tell you about parenting teens.
Despite the ups, downs, growing pains and frustrations of this stage of parenting, it can also be pretty amazing.
Watching your child grow up from a kid into a teen and start to become their own person is a magical thing.
Speaking of magical, a few months ago I traveled to Amsterdam with my son so we could spend quality time together while exploring someplace new. It was one of those certain moments in life that I will never forget and neither will he.
What is some advice you can give to help try and make parenting teens a little more of an easier journey?
Here are some other teen related posts:
- 5 Simple Ways To Teach Your Teens Good Habits
- How My Teen Reminded Me Kindness Matters Then and Now
- Dear Moms of Teenagers You Are Not Alone