7 Truths About Parenting Teenage Girls

by Scarlett Ballantyne
Originally Published: 
Six teenage girls lying down in a grass field with their arms raised showing heart signs formed with...
Image via Scarlett Ballantyne

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. Isn’t that how the quote goes?

Actually, I think I have it pretty good when it comes to my two girls, but there are always things that crop up that you cannot anticipate when it comes to parenting teenage girls. My experience only comes from being a mom to girls, but I can assume that some of the same things would apply to having boys too. So, I thought that I would post some things that I have learned, and am continuing to discover, about mothering teens.

1. What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is yours. My makeup kit is now our makeup kit. My hoodies and cute scarves are fair game for wearing, even though I didn’t buy them to share. I purchased a new top last week, and now it’s hanging in my daughter’s room. Yep, what’s mine is hers. And once your teenage daughter wears it, it no longer seems as appealing to wear yourself, because it looks much cuter on her!

2. The washer and dryer are no longer available. Once your girls get to be teens, they will take over the washing machine. There is always a load sitting in the dryer every time I go to use it. I continue to find many small items in the washer: bobby pins, gum and headphones to name a few. They don’t think to check pockets and throw random loads of laundry in the washer daily (except sheets—if it was up to them, these would never get washed). Smelly dance items get washed late at night and, yet, never transferred to the dryer.

3. Your Friday night cocktail hour that you have been looking forward to will be interrupted with plans you didn’t make. Somehow, chauffeuring has become a part-time/full-time job. If you make a plan to do anything Friday night, often times it will be interrupted because, unbeknownst to you, you will already be committed to driving kids. A few weeks ago, a group of mom friends of mine were on a group chat at 5 p.m. on a Friday night, trying to figuring out our kids’ plans that had been made with out us knowing. We were almost drawing straws about who would be doing the late night pick-up, so the rest could have a cocktail.

4. Things you have been struggling with for years, they already understand. This generation is so much wiser and more self-aware than we ever were at the same age. Sometimes I will be struggling with something, like a relationship issue, or something simple to do with technology, and boom, my teen already knows the answer. Yesterday, I was telling my daughter about a personal problem I was having that I wasn’t sure how to solve, and as she was exiting the car, she casually said, “You just be you, Mom.”

Hmm, um yea, I guess that is the answer.

So young, yet so wise.

5. You will compromise on things you never expected to. My beautiful daughter just turned 15 and wanted to get some piercings. I was pretty much dead-set against it, yet we ended up compromising. Double ear piercing was the solution, much to my dismay. Sometimes you have to just pick your battles, and this wasn’t one of them!

6. You will marvel daily at where these large humans came from. It seems like it happens all of a sudden: one day they are kids and the next day they are tall, gangly, in-your-face-adults. They are now eating a lot more food and just taking up a lot more space in general. My husband said the other day that we moved out of our small home just in time, as our girls and their stuff have literally exploded all over our house.

7. Things you want for them may not be things that they want for themselves. Whether it is sports dreams or a career path or their friend group, you have to start giving up on some of the dreams and expectations you had for your little ones. They aren’t so little anymore. It can be almost a time of grieving in a way, because you realize that you don’t control your kids. They come through you, but they are their own beings, not really possessions, as it sometimes felt when they were babies.

You want them to pose for a nice portrait, but they have their own ideas!

*Sigh* I am learning the ropes of mothering teens, just like everyone else. When is it going to slow down already?

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