When our kids are growing up, they go through many different stages. Some of them are fun and exciting. For instance, teaching them to ride a bike for the first time, writing a letter to Santa Claus, and getting a visit from the tooth fairy are all fun. However, parents, let’s be honest, that constant need for attention and the pretend play stages can become a bit tiring in many ways.
Even though I enjoyed all those stages with my son, when he began to move from those stages of toddler, grade schooler, and now a teen, I have to say it was an interesting new phase. Conversations became fuller and more realistic, we can now play board games, and if I win, I win without a tantrum from him.
However, parenting teens comes with many challenges as well and even though it is a blessing to see our kids grow up and watch them become, “hopefully”, responsible young adults, there are other interesting challenges that come with parenting teens. If we are honest, some of these can be annoying at times.
Welcome to the Uber driver, without pay. Our teens now have friends that want to “hangout” or “chill”, they also have school-related functions, and afterschool activities. This is great, in the way that our teens are figuring out themselves and no longer require that much supervision and attention on our part. But if we are honest, that stage of (non-driving) teen life can soon be pretty annoying and can make us feel like a lifelong taxi driver.
When my son first asked me about music, I was excited. I introduced him to bands I enjoyed. I bought him a few CDs, his first guitar and paid for classes. But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’m sure you too can agree that the radio in the car no longer belongs to the parents, once the teens are in the car. All our favorite podcast and radio talk shows are something we will have to listen to in our own time. “You will probably be called old and uncool for liking that stuff anyways”.
The Refuse to Eat Teen
Having a teen son, I did not think I would experience this phase with him, or at least not the way I did. One day, teens just decide they feel and look fat, and go to the extreme of simply deciding they will not eat. As a parent maybe you’ll figure it will soon go away, but when a few days go by, it becomes concerning. Until this day I don’t know the direct reason my teen went through this, even though I think it was a crush on a girl, I am not certain of it. It wasn’t long until he understood that starvation is not the smartest way to go.
The Annoying Dance
No longer a kid, and not yet an adult. This new stage can make us feel lost as parents. We are familiar with protecting our kids and stepping in to solve problems. But at this stage, it feels more like a dance, of stepping in and out. Stepping in as parent to teach and advise, when our teen needs us, and stepping completely out when we are crossing boundaries and our teens need to learn lessons on their own. That can be a bit tough to watch from the outside without wanting to come to the rescue and solve it all.
The know-it-all teen
There is nothing more annoying than trying to help our teens, advise them and attempt to guide them, only to find out that they have taken none of our advice and do the opposite of what we suggested. One thing that helped me understand why teens do this, is to understand that a significant part of your teenager’s brain, the prefrontal cortex, is undeveloped. In fact, the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until age 25! Therefore, many of the things they do is just because they are still trying to figure out themselves and in the developing stages.
Gazillion Showers Teen
Does your teen take multiple showers? And stay hours in the shower? I know…that is a bit of an exaggeration of my part, but it sure feels like hours. I recently asked other parents, and I can tell you I am not alone on this one. But unless we notice a serious problem – OCD, for example – I think we can be honest and say we know exactly why teens spend that much time in the shower. Ha!
Best to give some space, he’s in a bit of a funny mood!!
Love me one day, Hate Me the Next One
One day they want to spend time with us, they miss mom, and just want all the attention and love. Yes, it feels good, we finally get our babies back, but only for a day. Next thing you know they hate us. Surprisingly, this often happens when discipline must be enforced.
The One-word teen
How was your day? Good. What are you doing? Chilling. Do you love me? Sure… This drives parents crazy, and for a valid reason. But it is important to understand that our teens are constantly fighting many battles themselves. Comparing themselves with others, trying to fit in and developing their own personality. Some days they want to tell you all about their day, and others you’ll get the one-word teen.
The Always Hungry Teen
As teenagers are growing up and developing, it is normal for them to feel hungrier. Like mentioned before, at times they decide they will starve themselves, and other times they will eat everything they find. I honestly debate if this is a good thing, or a bad one. My bank account and budget will probably say it is not fun.
Deeply in love
Love is a tricky emotion, and even though many of us go through being in love as teens, for parents, it can be somewhat concerning. Why? Well when we see our teens in, “lala land”, school is no longer a top priority, grades can begin to drop, they want to be on the phone all day, and lastly knowing that they might be sexually active can be rather scary to imagine. Why is this also concerning? This is because teenage breakups can be one of the more painful experiences in life, and it hurts to see our teens go through that. There is one last reason why the idea of this is concerning. Honestly, I am too young to become a grandma.