This post: 15 Raw Truths About Parenting Teenagers I Wish I’d Known Sooner
I figured… “How hard could this be?”
Sure, I heard a few horror stories here and there, but I was a “good” parent and I had “good kids.” Surely my experience raising my teens would be different, right?
Umm, yeah…. I was WRONG.
I’m not saying that the “hard” of raising teens is universal or that there’s not a TON of “good” when you’re raising teens – because there IS. But most parents go through an “Oh, crap, I didn’t see this coming” shocker at one point or another. As a mom, here are 15 raw truths about parenting teenagers I wish I’d known sooner – truths perhaps most (or many) parents of teens can relate to.
15 Raw Truths About Parenting Teenagers I Wish I’d Known Sooner
#1 They WILL Disappoint You (Brace Yourself)
You know that sweet, respectful, rule-following elementary kid you’re raising? Well… give them a few years and they may not be quite the rule follower they once were. They might cheat, lie, sneak out of the house, treat you disrespectfully, talk back, blow off your rules, and do things that quite literally make you question whether they’re your child.
But remember, it’s not just you. All teens mess up… some royally. They’re learning and they WILL get it wrong. Your teen’s mess-ups aren’t your report card.
#2 At Some Point, You’ll Be Convinced You’re Screwing Up
You’ll be sailing along thinking you’ve got this parenting gig down pat when BAM! Your kid hits their teen years and suddenly every parenting trick you’ve relied on doesn’t work anymore and everything you’ve ever known about your kid suddenly seems different. WHO IS THIS KID IN MY HOUSE?
Trust me… you’re not screwing up, mama and dad. It’s merely one of the many raw truths about parenting teenagers. Your teen’s transition from childhood to adulthood is rocky. Every parent questions their parenting at one point or another. Try not to stress too much. It really will be okay… (ahem, in about 6 or 7 or 8 years).
#3 You’ll Age in Freaking Dog Years From All the Worry
Stock up on wrinkle cream now because when you have teens you worry all the time and you don’t sleep for, well… about a decade.
Are they okay? Will they text and drive? Will they cave into peer pressure? Will they do something on a whim like have unprotected sex or take a random pill someone gave them? Will they get into college? Will they still love me when I put consequences in place to protect them? Will they? Will they? Will they? It’s pretty freaking exhausting.
#4 You’ll Spend an UnGodly Amount of Time in the Car Driving Them to Timbuktu (and Back)
I hope you like your car because you’ll be spending a TON of time in it driving your teen (and all their friends) everywhere. To school, work, practices, games, their friends’ houses, parties, to run errands – it might drive you nuts, but one day, you’ll look back and miss that one-on-one time you had with your teen. So, enjoy it while you can.
#5 They’ll Bring Out the Absolute WORST in You
There will be days you won’t be proud of yourself – how you responded, how you overreacted, or how you lost your ever-loving mind. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Really… you and your teen will get through it together with a whole lot of grace, forgiveness, and love.
#6 They’ll Bring Out the BEST in You, Too
As much as teens can bring out your worst, they sure can bring out your best. You’ll put a higher priority on being a better person, setting a good example, and being a good role model.
It’ll hit you HARD that they’re watching everything you do and how you really have to step up your parenting game because raising a responsible and kind human being is a monumental responsibility.
#7 You’ll Wish You Could Slow Down the Clock; They’ll Wish They Could Speed it Up
Everything happens so fast when you’re raising teenagers. One day your sweet child is snuggling up in your arms asking you to read them their favorite book and the next they’re 6’2″ and towering over you. You’ll realize how fast time is slipping by and you’ll desperately wish you could slow down the clock. Meanwhile, your teen will be counting down the days ’til they leave for college and move out.
#8 They’ll Disappear into Their Bedroom, Shut the Door and They Won’t Emerge for Three Years
One day, they love hanging with you and the family and the next you can’t get them to leave their bedroom. It might take weeks, months, or years for them to get through this stage of their teen years, but they WILL emerge eventually. So, keep knocking, keep asking them to go places, keep checking up on them, and keep letting them know you love them. Don’t let a door divide you.
#9 There Will Be Days They’ll Take EVERYTHING Out on You (But They Won’t Know Why)
You really have to brace yourself for this AND remember that their behavior, reactions, and moods are NOT about you. This is your teen trying to handle the swirl of feelings, emotions, and hormones going on in their brain and body. You are their safe place. They will always act their worst around you (just like they did when they were toddlers). Try to remember that inside that grown “ish” body is a little kid who needs you… especially on their worst days.
#10 No Matter How Reasonable and Fair You Try to Be, There WILL Be Days They FIGHT You On Everything
Put your armor on, you’re going to need it! They might yell at you, blame you, question you, and fight you. Expect it. And, know they’re just fighting for their independence. They’re figuring out who they are and what they stand for and they’re trying to push you aside so they can become their own person.
#11 You’ll Feel Like You’re Experiencing the Slowest Breakup EVER
It’ll seem as though with every passing day your teen is pulling a little further away. They STILL love you and need you, of course. But their independence is growing and their daily need for you is waning. And, it’s just so hard. Sure, you’ll relish in how capable and amazing they’re becoming, but you’ll long to feel their little hand in yours. Soak it all in… these days are fleeting.
#12 You’ll Learn to Grab Special Moments When You Can
You’ll be crawling into bed at 11 pm and your teen will come bouncing in the room chatty as ever ready to tell you every nitty gritty detail about their day. (Of course, you couldn’t get two words out of them all day.) Still, no matter how tired you are, you’ll prop yourself up and hang on to their every word because you’re just so happy they came to you… even if you DO need toothpicks to keep your eyes open.
#13 They’re Relying on You WAY More Than You Realize
Oh, they’re listening. They may walk around staring at their phone appearing to block you out, but your words are sinking in. They’re taking it all in and remembering your words when the chips are down. They’re taking your advice when you’re not looking. They’re finding strength in your words, hugs, and encouragement even when they pretend they aren’t.
#14 No Matter What They Throw At You, Your Love Will Be Steadfast
You may not “like” them very much at times. They might drive you nuts and push you to the brink of insanity. They may do dumb sh#t, talk back, act entitled, and pretend they don’t care about you. But, through the chaos and confusion and tears and sleepless nights, you’ll always (and forever) love your child from the depths of heart.
#15 If You Can Hang On for the Bumpy Ride, One Day They’ll Become a Cherished Friend
When you least expect it your moody, unpredictable teen will fade into the distance, and standing in front of you will be a wonderful, compassionate, funny, smart young adult who’s not just your child, but an amazing friend. And, that’s when you’ll realize that you really DID do a whole lot more right than you ever gave yourself credit for.