Parenting Teens



Sometimes, I read blogs about the terrible twos and chuckle. Not because I am laughing at the exhausted and desperate mom’s. I’m 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 twos, 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.

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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, so, I’ll leave you 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!

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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.

(I pray.)


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  1. 2

    The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful says

    I have a 7 year old and 9 year old daughter who I hoped I would navigate successfully through teendom. However, I am writing this to you from the great beyond. Because after reading your post I died from anxiety. And I left a note for my husband to send you my girls.

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  2. 3

    Christine says

    I have just begun the journey (he is 13). I keep remembering what my Mom said “one day you went to bed a sweet little girl who liked me, and the next day you woke up a pain in the butt who had decided that I was the enemy”.
    I can’t wait.

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  3. 4

    HerMelness Speaks says

    It is a war, honey, a war. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe for those of you still with cute little tots…but listen to those of us in the trenches and weapon up now. You have been warned.

    Enjoyable post.

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  4. 5

    Headacheslayer says

    ” And, to make matters worse the law requires the parent be in the passenger seat so we can all go to heaven simultaneously.”

    OMG I just had to shove my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t wake my husband and 9yr old (he’s sick and decided to crawl in with us). LOLOL

    This is why my husband is teaching our 16yo daughter to drive.

    I LOVE and LOATHE having a teen. She is amazing, gifted, talented and so sure of herself, I wish I had been her in high school. Just half the confidence and I would have wound up far better.

    BUT. Then there are weeks like last week when she announces to us, on our 19th anniversary, that she has broken up with her BF of 2 1/2 yrs. OY the drama and tears (from both of us). And then she does it again, climbing out of her black hole, clawing and scratching and learning from this to be a better version of who she was.

    I have a rough time with infants and toddlers. And as many times as my daughter makes me want to pull my hair out (especially when we “cycle together”–men be afraid!) there are so many beautiful moments where I have to admit that I love having a teen daughter.

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  5. 7

    Cate8 says

    Pefect! I am dealing with the second batch of teens…but Praise God I have 3 adult children (NONE in prison!!!) so I know there is light at the end of the tunnel…plus this place is so crowded most move out as soon as they are 18 LOL

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    • 8

      Nilzed says

      Parents worry so much about setting their kids up for life in so many ways. I think sober, not in prison nor living with you is as much as you really need to accomplish to win at parenting. The rest is up to them.

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  6. 10

    Marie Watson says

    Well said! I’m there, too. 15 year old girl, 11 year old boy and my husband’s 23 year old son who lives here because he’s finished with college and can’t find a job. It’s a roller coaster-that’s for sure.

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  7. 11

    Tinne from T and T says

    I have two daughters, only 18 months apart. I figure that when they’ve turn into fully grown teenager spawn I’ll be able to write a soap opera based on my experiences, sell it to the highest bidder and reel in the Euro’s or Dollars by the million…

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  8. 12

    OHN says

    My favorite part is : “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”

    Yes. I have 3 sons and according to them there is “nothing good to eat” in the house. Ever. My grocer added an in-ground pool with my monetary donations.

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