I’ve been the mom of a teen (or two or three) for several years now and have gathered some observations along the way. There will definitely be challenging and awkward situations, but there’s also much to enjoy about the teen years.
It helps if you laugh sometimes, especially at yourself. So here are some tips:
1. Wake them up in the morning. Actually, wake them up at any time. Heck, they’ll even be annoyed at you when they wake themselves up.
2. Sing show tunes loudly in their presence, particularly when they’ve recently woken up. Songs from Jesus Christ Superstar and Annie are suggested, but any show tune will work. Songs from the 1980s can often be successfully substituted, but there are no guarantees.
3. Refer to any piece of their apparel as “cute.” This will be most effective with male teens but may also work with females. You can also attempt to use the term “du jour.” This includes words such as cold, fire, on fleek, fresh, etc. You will likely not use the term correctly and, even if you do, they will not want you using it.
4. Revisit the sex or alcohol or drug talk. They will say, “Mom, I know! We already talked about that a million times.” Agree and remind them that you will be revisiting these topics regularly. Appropriate times include: long car ride alone with teen; teen is newly dating; teen’s friend comes over and smells strongly of weed; teen is going away to college for the first time; you panic and just need to hear yourself say it to them again; there is some new drug, sexually transmitted disease or other trend/scare factor in the media. Teen may even say to you with an exasperated sigh, “Did you just read an article about that or something, Mom?”
5. Talk to them when you pick them up from school. Any attempt at conversation will work.
6. Ask them a series of questions after social events. Questions may include but are not limited to: Did you have fun? Who was there? (Feel free to inquire about specific people: Was Grace there? Was John there? Was Emma there? Was Connor there?) What kind of music did they play? Did you dance? What did you do there? Was there food? What kind of food? What’s the house (restaurant, school, etc.) like? Whose parents were there or who were the chaperones?
7. Make incorrect conclusions about their feelings. It’s inevitable.
8. Love them to pieces. Okay – they’ll only pretend to be annoyed by this one, but do it anyway!