Remember the days when our kids were toddlers, pre-schoolers and in elementary school and we thought those days were long and hard?
Looking back… boy, what I wouldn’t give to go back (just for a quick visit) to the simple life when spilled milk, Target temper tantrums, and trips to the doctor’s office filled my more challenging days.
Now that I have a few years of experience raising teenagers under my belt I’ve come to the realization that the days I thought were tough when my kids were young were actually a walk in the park on a warm sunny day in comparison.
But despite the mountain of tough decisions I’ve had to make, all the hormonal fluctuations (with more heavy sighs and eye-rolls that I care to mention), and a handful of “battle of the wills” with my kids, I’ve learned a thing or two.
Yes… the days are exhausting, maddening and frustrating, but they’re also crazy fun, exhilarating, and totally rewarding.
With a healthy dose of humor, a little patience (okay, maybe a lot of patience) and a few “self-pats” on the back on those days when self-doubt creeps in, I’m making it out alive…
Still, it sure would have been nice if someone… anyone… had taken the time to give me the low-down on raising teenagers. Maybe a few pointers or a heads up… heck, anything to help prepare me for the hormonal swinging, winding, unpredictable curves ahead.
If you’re on the cusp of raising teens (or maybe you’re deep in the throes), here’s hoping this insight brings a tad more clarity to the days ahead with your kids.
Here are 36 things no one warned me about raising teenagers:
- That between the ages of 13 and 19 they would look at their phone or a screen far more than they looked at me.
- That keeping my child safe as a toddler was far easier than keeping my child safe as a teenager.
- That even though they know how to do something (something you taught them when they were four), they would still ask for help.
- That secretly I’d want to take revenge on the kid that made my child cry… even if it meant going to jail for a couple of years.
- How incredibly sweet they would be when they need money… or anything else for that matter.
- That they would do such a good job of pretending not to need me… until they do.
- That there would be days I would be so exasperated by my kid’s behavior that I’d come within inches of packing my bags and moving to Mexico… forever.
- That there would be songs from my generation that they knew the words to better than me.
- That no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shield my kids from the relentless pressure they faced in school, with their friends and society.
- How incredibly talented and creative they would be at coming up with excuses why they missed their curfew, failed a test or didn’t clean their room like I asked.
- That no matter how much food I bought, it would never, ever be enough.
- That teaching them how to drive would take five years off my life and another five years when they drove off by themselves.
- That even though their bedroom was a total disaster, it would bother me far more to see their room empty when they left for college.
- That when they were sick they’d need me just as much as they did when they were toddlers.
- That I would lose as much sleep as I do waiting up for them in sheer panic because they’re 10 minutes late.
- That there would be days when I would feel as though I lost them forever and that they don’t need me anymore.
- That when I saw them all dressed up for Homecoming or Prom that I’d fast forward and envision them on their wedding day… and then brush a few tears away before they noticed.
- That I would miss frogs, finger painting, and fairy tales as much as I do.
- That the space and privacy they crave as teenagers doesn’t mean they don’t need or love me.
- That the idea of them growing up and heading out into the world on their own scares them as much as it scares me.
- That I could buy a luxury car for the amount of money I spent on their teeth…only to have them never wear their retainer.
- That I’d long for simple decisions like what birthday present to buy for their friend or what bow to put in my daughter’s hair.
- That every time they struggled in a class in middle or high school it would always be the teacher’s fault.
- That there would be days that I would deny knowing my child when asked by a total stranger, “Do you know that child?” Me: “Umm…nope, never seen that kid before in my life.”
- That teenage girls could be SO incredibly loud.
- That I’d long for little giggles, rowdy couch jumping and the days when Polly Pockets and Hot Wheels scattered the kitchen floor.
- That Smartphones would replace the toy phones they had when they were little, but they’d still find a way to break them.
- That they would become my biggest critic and my biggest supporter.
- That when they’d leave for college I’d feel as though I just lost my best friend.
- That there would be days (ok, maybe months or years) when their hormones would control their behavior.
- That they could win an academy award for their performance in front of other parents.
- That I could possibly love them more than I did when they were babies.
- That I would turn every darn newscast into a “teaching moment” and drive my kid’s absolutely nuts in the process.
- That peer pressure would play such a powerful role in their lives.
- That my influence as a mom would not only impact my kid’s lives but their friends’ lives as well.
- That the precious days I shared with my kids would fly by all too quickly.