21 Cheat Codes for Parenting Teenagers – Because This Level is Really Hard

We all need a few "shortcuts" to help us get through this stage of parenting

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 21 Cheat Codes for Parenting Teenagers – Because This Level is Really Hard

I was hanging out in my son’s bedroom watching him play his favorite video game, (just my way of squeezing in a little time with my boy doing what he loves), when he said, “How ’bout you give it a try, mom? See if you can pass this level?”

Of course, not wanting to miss a mom and son bonding moment, I jumped at the challenge… after all, how hard could it be?

Needless to say, I failed miserably! With my son trying to hold back his laughter (because, yeah… it was that bad of a bomb), he said, “Don’t worry… some levels are so hard even I need cheat codes just to get past them.” 

Cheat codes? How cool is that? Little “insider tips and shortcuts” to help you pass a really hard level. I wish they had those in parenting!

Having trouble getting your baby to sleep through the night? Here’s a cheat code! 

Can’t get your toddler to eat his veggies? Check out this cheat code!

Your three-year-old pitches a royal fit every time you refuse to buy her something? Grab hold of this cheat code to get you through!

Chances are, every parent of teens likely has a few “cheat codes” up their sleeve. Even if we don’t call it that, we do things to make life a little easier, to keep our sanity in check or to cut a few corners. And, God knows when you’re parenting teenagers, we could all use a few cheat codes, right!?

If you’re a parent of teens, here are a few (some funny, some downright helpful) cheat codes I’ve used that might make parenting your teenager a little easier – because this level is really really hard. 

21 Cheat Codes for Parenting Teenagers (Because This Level is Hard)


#1 Close The Door to their Messy Bedroom So the House Feels Cleaner

You know your teen’s messy (slightly disgusting) bedroom that makes you want to scream every time you walk past? Well… no one says you have to look at it every day. When your teen musters up the energy to clean it (after you asked them 38 times) open the door, but on all those in-between days when it’s on the verge of becoming biohazard, keep the door closed. You’ll keep your sanity in check AND your house will feel a whole lot cleaner! 

#2 Invest in an Extra Set of Silverware

It’s one of the many mysteries of parenthood during the teen years… your silverware disappears into thin air. (Bowls, cups, and plates disappear too, actually.) Take it from moms (and dads) who’ve been there, don’t bother trying to figure out where they went, (it’s futile), just go buy an extra set to have on hand. You’ll thank me for this one!

#3 Don’t Waste Your Money on a Hamper for Your Teen’s Bedroom

Heads up, parents of soon-to-be-teenagers, don’t, I repeat, don’t invest in a hamper for your teen’s bedroom. They won’t use it. In fact, in most cases, if you put five hampers all over a teen’s bedroom, they’ll still manage to throw their clothes where there isn’t one. Teenagers’ clothes just rotate from their backs to their bedroom floor (that’s where they are most of the time) to the washing machine to the dryer… that’s it. 

#4 Invest in an Extra Phone Charger and Scissors and HIDE THEM

Two things always seem to go missing when you have teenagers, (besides silverware, that is), your phone charger and your scissors. Do yourself a BIG favor and buy yourself an extra phone charger and an extra pair of scissors and hide them. And, no matter how much pressure you’re under to disclose your hiding spot, don’t cave… you will never see them again. 

#5 Buy Groceries in Bulk

Teenagers are basically human garbage disposals. The amount of food they consume is crazy! Figure out what your teen’s favorite foods are and buy them in bulk. It will save you a ton of trips to the grocery store and your sanity. Beware though… one mom told me as soon as she started buying her teen’s favorite granola bars in bulk, he suddenly decided (out of the blue, of course) he didn’t like granola bars. Bottom line, proceed with caution.

#6 Lower Your Standards of “Clean”

Forget about spotless counters, sinks, bedrooms, bathrooms and floors. You have teenagers now and teenagers are MESSY!

#7 Forget Coats, Invest in a Hoodies

Remember when your sweet elementary school kid would let you bundle them up like the Michelin man on freezing cold days? Well, when your kid becomes a teenager, those days are ovvveerr. Forget the coat. Instead, invest in a few hoodies because that’s about all you’ll get them to wear on cold days. 

#8 Get Comfortable with One-Word Answers (and Shrugs)

“Yep.” “Whatever.” “No.” “Nah.” “Idunno.” “Okay.” (Also known as “Okkkaaaayyyy!”) Teenagers (most anyway) aren’t big talkers. Don’t take it personally. Don’t stress over it. Just know it’s totally normal and expect those one-word answers and shrugs as typical teen talk. 

#9  Hire the Whiz Kid Down the Street to Tutor Your Kid in Math

If you’re anything like me, you’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t help your kid with their math homework. Rather than trying to figure out the “new” math, (trust me, it can’t be done), just fess up to the fact that you’re not smarter than a 5th grader (at least in math) and hire the whiz kid down the street to help your tween or teen with their math. (Not only will the smart kid be a ton cheaper than a professional tutor, kids have a way of connecting and explaining things to other kids that just makes sense to them). 

#10 Invest in the Cell Phone Insurance Plan

Teenagers are clumsy… especially when it comes to their cell phones. They’re notorious for jumping into pools with them in their pocket, dropping them on concrete, slamming them in doors, and, let’s not forget, dropping them in toilets. Save yourself the time, money, and frustration and invest in the cell phone insurance plan upfront

#11  Get Ready to Be Called “Bruh,” “Dude,” “Girl” and Other Nicknames

At some point, your teen will start calling you something other than “mom” or “dad.” They might start calling you by your first name, dude, bro, bruh, girl, hey girl or any other number of names. Get ready… if it hasn’t happened already, it’s coming. 

#12 Buy Industrial-Strength Deodorant

Step into any boy’s locker room in middle school and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Life with teenagers, to put it bluntly, is just, well… downright smelly. They haven’t quite adjusted to the idea that they even need deodorant, let alone remembering to use it every day. So, the second your kid hits 13, stock up on a ton of deodorant (the industrial strength kind) before the wafting, smelly odor permeates every crevice of your house.

#13 Buy a Dog

Teenagers aren’t big on affection. Oh, sure, every once in a while you’ll get a sweet hug or a “hey mom, will you rub my back?” (which, of course, you jump at the chance) but, more often than not, they’re far too “cool” to be giving or receiving any form of affection. Your best bet is to buy a dog. At least that way you’ll have someone to greet you when you walk in the door and someone who actually makes direct eye contact with you from time to time.

#14 Track Your Teen

While some parents choose not to keep tabs on their kids, I, on the other hand, find it very comforting –  not to hound my kids, but just so I know they’re alive.

You see, when your kids hit the teen years – especially when they start driving – the worry really kicks in. Rather than worry yourself sick (seriously, the constant worry is exhausting), sign up for the Life360 app (a parent favorite, but there are plenty of other good ones out there), so you know where your teen is and that they’re safe, alive and well. 

#15 Buy a BIG Box of Toothpicks

It’s inevitable… the minute you get all cozy in bed, ready to close your eyes and finally get some shut-eye after a long day, your teen will plop themselves on your bed (typically around 11p.m. or so) and decide it’s a good time to chat. Rather than shut them down (‘cuz, seriously, you gotta grab those moments when you can), you prop your eyes open with a few toothpicks and listen even though you’re exhausted. 

#16 Take Control of What You Can, Let Go of What You Can’t

It’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” when you’re parenting teens. Will they pass Algebra? Will they get into college? Will they ever learn to pick up their wet towels or put their dishes in the dishwasher? But no amount of overthinking, worrying or sleepless night will change the outcome. Take control if/when you can, but don’t waste precious time and energy worrying and overthinking. LET. IT. GO.

#17 Stock Up on Poster Board

Have a stash of poster board, pencils, pens and paper in the house so when your teen comes to you at 10:00 at night and tells you they need posterboard for tomorrow (which they will), you’ll be ready! This little trick will save you countless late-night trips to the store AND your sanity.

#18 Love What Your Teen Loves

Whether it’s playing video games for a while, binge-watching their favorite Netflix series, throwing a football in the backyard, going to an amusement park, or hitting the mall for an afternoon of shopping, dive into what your teen loves. Then, one day…they’ll come to realize that it didn’t really matter what you did when you were together. Your favorite thing was just spending time with them. (It’s the BEST way to connect with your teen.)

#19 DON’T Take Their “Teenagering” Personally

Of all the cheat codes for parenting teenagers, this is a BIG one! When your teen starts hibernating in their bedroom, spending less time with the family, and choosing their friends over you (which is all normal, by the way) DON’T take it personally. Don’t put the guilt trip on them. And, don’t worry where you went wrong. Take it as a compliment! Your teen is growing up and becoming more independent – it means you’re doing something right!

#20 Invest in Really Good Wrinkle Cream

The teen years will wear you down to the core… from keeping up with their schedules (school, sports, clubs, activities, internships, their job and driving them to Timbuktu and back) to keeping up with their unpredictable, crazy moods and swinging hormones, (not to mention ALL the worry that comes with parenting teens), you might find you’re aging in dog years. But try not to sweat it… it’s nothing a really good wrinkle cream can’t fix. 

#21 Be Good to YOU

Take it from a mom who’s been there, it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of your kids’ lives and futures so much so that you forget your needs. Have lunch with friends, go on girls’ trips, take up a hobby, binge-watch your favorite series – do what YOU need to do take care of yourself. Long before you brought kids into this world, you mattered. You STILL matter. Don’t put your happiness, your life, OR your dreams on the backburner. 

If you enjoyed reading “21 Cheat Codes for Parenting Teenagers,” check out these other posts!

12 Must-Watch TED Talks for Parents of Teenagers

21 Things Only Parents of Teenagers Would Truly Understand

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment