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 teenagers 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.
Here are 51 things I’ve learned about raising teenagers:
- 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 friend.
51 Things I've Learned About Raising Teenagers
Related post: How to ruin your relationship with your teenager
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