13 Reasons Why Teens Suck: But We Love Them Anyway!
- Teenagers know everything
“I know Mom. I know!” is a chorus every parent of a teen can relate to as we hear it over and over again.
Our teens know – everything!
They are omniscient. They have lived every aspect of every experience of every kind.
Seriously, they know – EVERYTHING!
They are ready to rule their worlds.
“Dad, can you teach me how to drive?”
“Mom, how do you get a stain out?”
“Mom, does this smell okay – should I eat it?”
“Dad, do you know….”
Yup, they sure know everything!
- They are sullen & moody
How we miss the hugs, cuddles and cries of “Mommy, look at me!”
How we yearn for pleasantness and satisfaction in our own homes.
How we desire a little bit of cheer throughout our days.
We miss the giggles and squeals of delight.
Now, with our teens, forget laughter and levity.
Forget cheerfulness and joy.
Forget humor and lightheartedness.
Our children have grown – into teenagers.
Now, we have sullenness and moodiness.
Now, we have uncomfortable silences.
Now, we have no idea if they are listening to us.
Can they hear us?
Is there sound coming out of our mouths?
Do we have voices – with volume?
When we ask a question or make a statement, we can forget interest or a corresponding question.
When we speak, we may get a grunt in response.
We may get a mumble.
Perhaps a murmur.
Or maybe, a groan.
We’re thankful for any crumb of a response, because it indicates our teens are still listening and hearing what we just said.
Hmmm…listening and hearing?
We’re desperate, we parents of teens.
We’ll take the grunts, mumbles and groans.
Because, listening and hearing?
That’s what matters.
- Teenagers are vampires
“Is he awake yet?” I ask Greg, my husband, at 1:00 p.m. the other day as our 16-year-old blissfully dreams.
It’s April vacation, so there have been days of sleeping into the afternoons.
On the other end, we have staying awake into the wee hours of the morning. Times like 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. and I bet even 3:00 a.m.
I think of the infant and toddler years with Nick not sleeping through the night at all.
I think of the worry and concern about his health without adequate sleep.
I remember the days I wandered around in a haze.
Here we are again, but this time, we have sleeping through the day.
This time, my sleep is not affected.
This time, sleep is happening.
That’s the important part.
I’ll take it.
- Teens are unpredictable
“Don’t move, don’t breathe and whatever you do, don’t ask too many questions,” I say to Greg when Nick openly talks to him.
“He’s like a dragonfly lighting on your shoulder. No sudden moves…”
This is so true!
Teens are so unpredictable. They are mad, sad, happy, talkative and unresponsive – all in the span of 5 minutes!
I think it’s the hormones; or maybe it’s the growing; or perhaps the vast changes occurring in such a short time.
Some of the unpredictability is good, such as the inquisitiveness, deep philosophical conversations or sweeping grandiose beliefs.
Others are not so good – the uncomfortable silences, grunts and mumbles.
During these times, I take solace in a comment made by the guidance director at our high school,
“Remember these kids are 15 years-old– that’s ½ way between 10 and 20. Picture a 10-year-old and then picture a 20-year-old. Think of the differences between these ages and your kids are right in the middle of it. Yes, they act like 10-year-olds and then they act like adults. It’s all totally normal.”
I also take solace in the fact, the unpredictability will mean the mood swings won’t last long.
Wait a minute and here’s another mood!
- And, the secrecy
“You’re choosing privacy over permission,” is a theme I repeat over and over again.
Privacy is a privilege for our teens, it’s not a given and definitely not as it relates to social media.
“You have no expectation of privacy when posting to social media. It’s as if you’re posting something on a billboard in Times Square,” I say to my teens.
Our teens keeping secrets is to be expected, but we don’t have to accept it fully and secrets don’t automatically equal privacy.
Ransacking their rooms? No way.
Looking through their backpacks without cause? No.
Ease dropping on conversations? Definitely not.
But, knowing when to poke and prod about something our gut says to check on – absolutely.
We can accept secrets as long as they don’t harm anyone – at all.
So, if it involves safety – there is no privacy.
Sure – have at it.
Automatic and full expectation of privacy – nope.
They may be big, know everything (lol) and be moody, but they’re still kids.
We’re still the parents.
It’s our job to keep them safe.
- Teens either eat everything or nothing
“Do we have any more pasta?”
“Have you seen the orange juice?”
“Did I buy bananas this week?”
Food disappears at an alarming rate. We cannot keep certain types of food in the house, and then that same food rots on the counter or in the refrigerator.
“Why did you buy orange juice? I hate it.”
“Did you buy any apples? I’m not eating bananas anymore.”
“Pasta? Again, Mom, we have pasta all the time!”
The nutritious advice of everything in moderation is no longer applicable with teens. Teens love to eat one thing like locusts and then move onto the next.
Lucky us – we’ll never know which food is the one they want to eat this week.
It makes food shopping an extra special treat!
- Freedom = responsibility?
What is it with teens as they expect the freedom afforded to adults without any of the responsibility?
In our house, we have this conversation frequently.
All I have to do is start the sentence, “With freedom…” and one of the teens will shout out, “I know, I know, with freedom comes responsibility.”
In this case, I’m glad teens know everything!
So, with freedom comes responsibility.
You want to go to the movies with friends?
Then you can pay for it.
You want to get a Snapchat account?
You can explore the geo locator status, the volume of hacks of these accounts, and the privacy policies and settings.
You want to get your own car?
You need more reasons than going to and from school. You need to be doing lots of after school activities and/or have a part-time job. You also need to research the prices of cars, their safety records, the cost of car insurance and make an estimate for gas money. You need to cover at least ½ of these expenses.
So, this is one of my favorites.
I love freedom = responsibility.
If you want an ounce of freedom, you get an ounce of responsibility.
If you want a dollop of freedom, you get a dollop of responsibility.
If you want a lot of freedom you get a lot of responsibility.
This one is great for teens.
It’s also great for you!
- Teens are so dramatic
Everything is such a BIG deal!
I recall reading something in TV guide in the 90’s (yes, I’m dating myself) about Beverly Hills 90210. The comments reveal surprise over the show’s popularity, but then the analysis demonstrates teen’s propensity for drama.
Teens love drama.
Teens thrive on drama.
Teens live for drama.
But, guess what?
I think we should be thankful teens need drama.
They’re experiencing everything for the first time – first dances, first dates, first kisses, first drives, perhaps even the first extended time away from home.
Experiencing things for the first time should be dramatic.
These events should be raw.
They should be heartfelt.
They should have impact.
Imagine if they weren’t?
Imagine if teens just robotically ushered themselves through all of these first times without feeling?
Imagine a world of boredom, a world of apathy and a world of ennui.
Although the drama isn’t always appreciated, I think I prefer too much drama to none at all.
- Teenagers are like toddlers
Remember the tantrums?
Recall the meltdowns?
Well, teenagers are the exactly same.
The toddler’s tantrums have morphed into the teenager’s sullen behavior.
The toddler’s meltdowns are the teen’s disdainful looks.
The kicking equates to the defiance of rules.
The screaming represents the contemptuous comments.
So, we’re in essentially the same place – a difficult phase in our child’s growth.
Although, I admit, toddlers are cuter.
But, teenagers’ minds – oh, their thoughts, beliefs and ideals.
Their minds are so magnificent!
10 – 13. They’re defiant, disdainful, combative and challenge authority
The muttering –
The snarks & snarls –
The open defiance, the utter disdain, the looks of pure horror when we open our mouths and even when we don’t –
The back talk–
The crossed arms in full combat mode-
God, our teens are such –
…they are just such-
…they leave us speechless!
They leave us at a loss and oftentimes at our wit’s end.
Yet, I love their independence.
I love their facility to twist and turn everything into a negotiation.
I love their ability to self-advocate.
Oh, I don’t appreciate it, especially when I’m in the middle of it.
But, taking the long view, I really love it and know I’ll be glad they have these abilities when they’re on their own.
Teens are so difficult, but oh, how we love them!
They make us feel small, and old and awful about ourselves.
They make us uncomfortable in our own homes.
They make us question.
They make us think.
They make us better versions of ourselves – more compassionate, more patient and more mature.
Our teens are exasperating, but the love – the absolute love we have for them – is boundless!
So, here’s to our teens!