From The Confessional: Raising A Tween Or Teen Is F*cking Exhausting

by Karen Johnson
Mother and daughter fight

Teens are fun, right? I mean, they let you sleep in, they can make their own snacks, they wipe their own butts. All the shit you hated dealing with when they were young starts to wash away when you’re raising tweens and teens.

And yeah, in lots of ways, it’s easier than wiping up toddler pee for the third time at Grandma’s house while breastfeeding a hangry baby.

But it’s also harder and lonelier than other aspect of parenting. When you’re parenting a tween or teen, you can’t vent like you used to be able to, because they want their privacy. You flounder and mess up, and it means more because everything seems bigger when your kids are bigger. Mess up when they’re two and start potty training too early? Ah, you have forever to recover. Mess up when they’re 15? The whole world might know. The stakes are higher, and shit seems to matter more.

Teenagers can be exhausting and mean, but also loving and sweet, all in the same day. They’re learning how to manage new freedoms and responsibilities, while still needing guidance from you. It’s a rollercoaster, so hold on tight. But like any other carnival ride, it doesn’t last forever. And all you can hope for is that when you reach the end, you can look back and say, “Whoa. That was scary. But I’m glad I did it.”

Dear teenaged sons, please stop writing vulgarities on the fridge with the letter magnets. Your 8 year old cousin asked me what a chode was. What the fuck am I supposed to say to that?

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Parenting teens means never knowing what’s coming next. Because they do dumb, obnoxious shit like this…

My teen DD's are watching the Barbie movies from when they were little and I am crying

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But also sweet shit like this that makes you cry.

This pandemic has brought many things into focus that were simply fuzzy and inconvenient. The fact that I barely tolerate my teenage SS is a big one.

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I'm quarantined alone, mother to an only child while said teen kid is holding a grudge with me, living w/my exh, who communicates poorly, abroad, in NYC, now epicenter for the global pandemic & they both defy being sheltered in.... How's ur anxiety?

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For all the trouble teens can be, I am so happy DS's are teens for this quarantine. They sleep until noon everyday, leave us alone to get work done, handle all their own remote learning with no help, and don't cry and whine about being home.

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This year, we got to parent our tweens and teens during a pandemic! Yay. And in some ways, them being older made it easier. In others, it was soul-sucking hard.

Very sick, h texted me that he was at his mom's this morning so I could rest. What woke me up was 2 teenagers screaming at each other over a hairbrush and a dog barking at the teenagers, oh and 3 baskets of laundry to do. Gee f'in thanks

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It took me 8 hours to deep clean my kitchen and dining room today on my one day off. I have 3 teenagers and a husband. Sometimes I dream about living in a 1 bedroom apartment ALONE.

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My first confession. Parenting teens is a fucking thankless, soul destroying experience.

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Being a mom to a tween or teen can be a thankless job that makes you feel invisible and taken for granted.

Teen daughter a bitch, husband an asshole and we have ants in house. Tired.

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Teen DSD is being so very salty tonight. WTF? It's like she hates us all and feels like we deserve punishment. I'm so over her.

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To be frank, teenagers are bitches.

My teens don't really seem all that interested in getting their driver's licenses. I find this attitude strange. I couldn't wait to drive.

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Feel like a brat, but so bothered how much I sacrifice for my kids. Now my teen D wants me to stop baking bc she doesn't like the temptation. Dammit, baking relaxes me! What else do you people want?

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And they’re weird with the things that matter to them deeply vs. the things they give zero shits about.

Teen daughter is going through an oppositional phase. It’s exhausting and I admit hurtful too.

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I feel my teenage daughter likes/wants/thinks the opposite of me just to be different/antagonistic.

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It seems like they are difficult just to be difficult.

No matter who's President, I always feel sorry for his kids (especially teens). You didn't ask for it, but you live in a fishbowl, always have armed guards, can't have normal relationships, and it'll be in the news if you do something really stupid.

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I'm scared of the stresses of when they become teenagers in this crazy world. They'll be out there with the other kids that got jacked up mentally from trauma they experienced. It's all so much and stressful. They get all my brain cells

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But we have to remember that being a teenager today is harder than ever.

Deep down inside, I resent my kids for everything that they put me through in their teenage years. At times, I thought I was going to lose my sanity or maybe have a heart attack from the countless challenging days.

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Jesus Christ, my teens are the worst cock blocks on the planet! Like just go the fuck to bed and stay there and quit bugging us fuck sakes because I wanna get laid! NO I haven't seen your charger, NO I don't wanna hear about your new video game- GET LOST!

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But damnit, this gig is tough. It’s hard to not resent them when they act like giant assholes and take everything from us.

No one tells you how lonely life becomes after your children become teenagers. You give them all of you for years & then they become selfish twats who only want to play video games. I love them so much but I wish they were grown already.

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My grown kids never hesitate to tell me they love me and I feel like that makes me a successful parent. We had a LOT of struggles in the teen years

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I can do the baby, toddler, kid phases just fine. I am completely fucking up the teen years. I don't know how to do this part. Sorry kids :(

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Because someday they will be grown, and you’ll hopefully be able to look back and say “I did my best” even if you fucked up a lot.

The truth is, we’re trying. We’re doing the work to raise good humans who care about others and will grow into fully functioning adults who contribute to society, vote, help the elderly carry their groceries, and, if they choose to be parents, also raise their own good humans with a moral compass. But in order to do that we have to get through the tumultuous tween and teen years, and for many parents, that seems impossible. All we can do is take it one day at a time, keep waking up and showing love, compassion, and forgiveness while also using teachable moments to ensure our kids really get those “life lessons” they need to avoid being entitled assholes.

It’s not easy—in fact, it’s downright exhausting and may make you cry or scream with frustration. But you’re not alone. There’s a whole world of parents out there in the same boat as you, and we’re cheering you (and your kid) on to the finish line.