My 15-year-old son has been irritated lately. He comes home from school, goes directly to his room and never has an answer when I ask him about his day. He’s grumpy, he always seems mad at me, and there’s literally no way to impress him.
His room is a mess. I’m getting emails from his teachers about late work. When I ask him about it, he makes excuses and seems to have a reason why it’s everyone’s fault except for his.
When I ask him to do something, he says he will with a straight face, but he doesn’t. Then I ask him again, and the same thing happens.
It’s not until I get really pissed off that he kicks into gear and does his chores.
Folks, this is fifteen.
I’ve been through it three times with three kids who all have very different personalities. But for some reason, fifteen looks the same on all of them.
Fifteen is a big kick in the butt.
Fifteen will challenge you in ways you didn’t know you could be challenged.
Fifteen couldn’t care less about hurting your feelings or thinking of others.
Fifteen will make you want to cry, scream, and lie in the middle of your bed wondering where you went wrong.
I have a friend who is right in the middle of the 15-year-old story with her daughter. It’s her first time and she admitted she’s not handling it well. “I threw her phone down the stairs because I’m so sick of how it sucks the life out of her.” Her grades have slipped and all she wants to do is sleep and talk back to her parents, according to her mom.
Yes, this is fifteen. I didn’t handle it well the first time I went through it with my oldest either.
I pushed him really hard. I was all over him all the time. I wanted him to be the younger version of himself and told him as much.
All that did was make our year even more horrible than it already was.
He started getting in trouble at school. He took off on his skateboard a few times after I told him he wasn’t allowed to leave. He was so nasty to me I’d take his cell phone and restrict him from seeing friends for months at a time. Nothing was helping.
He eventually told me he felt like he had nothing left to lose so, he just “did the bad stuff.”
I learned a lot that year, and yet, I still screwed up a lot when my second child went through a lot of the same things.
I told my friend I knew this dance all too well, and I still sucked at it. Yes, I’ve been here before but that doesn’t mean I like this age or I know what I’m doing. However, this is what I do know about fifteen:
It’s one of the hardest years you can go through with your kids.
They want (and need) some space. Just don’t give them too much because they will try to get attention in other ways even if they don’t think they want it.
It will test you like nothing else and you will most likely lose it on your fifteen-year-old more than once. Forgive yourself.
You will worry that they are going to end up in a bad place when they are older and that they are ruining their future. More often than not, sometime after their sixteenth birthday, they will slowly come out of this.
Fifteen is life-sucking for you, and for them.
They aren’t having a great time either and a little grace goes a long way.
15-year-olds will hardly ever take your advice, but give it to them anyway because they will remember it when they are older.
Fifteen will lead you to believe all the hard work you’ve done as a parent hasn’t done anyone any good but ignore that voice in your head. It’s not true.
My first two kids are out of the 15-year-old weeds. They are happy, they talk to me about their life, and they are starting to appreciate me again.
Fifteen is hard; it won’t kill you but it will do a number on you. (I have the 11s and gray hair to prove it.)
Don’t lose faith though, Mama. It will be worth it and your child will come around again. I promise.