Parenting Teens

Melissa lives in the DC metro area with her four kids, two dogs and a very patient husband.  She writes to keep herself sane.  When not writing or arguing with teenagers, Melissa can be found on the back of her hubby’s Harley, trying to run away from it all, even if only for the afternoon. Melissa blogs about life at


Sometimes, I read blogs about the terrible two’s and chuckle. Not because I am laughing at the exhausted and desperate mom’s. I am not that mean. No, I laugh because those moms have no idea what they are in for in ten years. As the mom of four teenagers (19, 18, 15 and 13), I can pretty much guarantee that the terrible 2’s, potty-training woes, how to get your toddler to stop biting- yes, I dare say all of those issues pale in comparison to the terrible tween/teen years.

Allow me to do a little vocabulary comparison:

To the mom of a two year old, “no” usually initiates a throw-himself-on-the-floor-and-look-back-to-make-sure-mom-is-watching temper tantrum followed by a time-out, Super Nanny style. To moms with a fifteen year old, “no” initiates an “I-hate-you-I-have-the-strictest-parents-ever” door slamming, take away the cell phone and ground him for a month tantrum followed by the sullen, angry teen ‘tude with full on silent treatment until said grounding is over or they see the error of their ways and want to be all sweet and loving to see if they can get their cell phone back early.

To the mom of a two year old, “trash” means the broken Happy Meal toys that they don’t want to part with. To moms of a seventeen year old, “trash” refers to the highly questionable “just friends” they bring home to meet the parents. ‘Nuff said.

To the mom of a two year old, “let’s go bye-bye’s” means play dates and trips to Chick-fil-A so you can enjoy a peach milkshake in peace while your child plays in the play space. To the mom of tweens, getting in the car and keeping track of all of your child (ren)’s extra-curricular activities requires Google calendars synced to the smart phone and a GPS positioning system to make sure everyone is at the right place at the right time. Not to mention, a fuel budget that exceeds even the grocery bill.

How about meals? Feeding a two year old means catering to their favorites, cutting up their food so no one chokes on their hot dog and making sure the insert thingys are clean for their sippy cups. Feeding a teenage boy means cooking enough food to feed a small country while mentally preparing for what they will eat a half hour later when they are hungry…AGAIN.

No more holding mama’s hand to cross the street. No, teenagers are equipped with laminated cards that give them permission to operate three thousand pound moving vehicles. And, to make matters worse the law requires the parent be in the passenger seat so we can all go to heaven simultaneously.

In all seriousness, parenting teens is the hardest stage of parenting {at least for me} by far. My hubby jokes that God gave us the elementary years to enjoy our children before we woke up one morning and realize that they have been invaded by pubescent hormones and attitude and are no longer recognizable.

I don’t want to leave you with no hope, as that is not my inspirational style. So, I will conclude with the pro’s to having older children in hopes that you will forget the horror of the aforementioned behaviors.

No need for a babysitter. As long as you threaten your teens with certain death if they invite anyone over or beat up their younger sibling in your absence, you and the spouse can enjoy date night whenever you want. Frozen pizza for the kids, hibachi for the parents FTW.

Less housework. If you do this parenting thing right, you don’t ever have to do dishes again. We have a daily rotation and I can’t tell you the last time I had to dust, vacuum or wash dishes. The only laundry I do is mine and the hubby’s! Holla!

Comedic relief. Teens/tweens get themselves in to some pretty comical situations. And, what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t share those moments with my friends and laugh hysterically at my child’s expense? After this many years of parenting, you have owned the right to laugh. You should ask me about my oldest son and the leg shaving incident…no, really you should!

Redeemable moments. My kids are good kids. And every once in a while, the sweet 8 year old that I remember shines through the fog of puberty and I realize that, given another year or three, my kid turned teen-monster will be an adult that I will truly enjoy hanging out with.

Are you looking forward to the teen years?