Surviving Parenthood With a Teenager

teenage boyRemember when they hit terrible twos’ and literally on cue, it began? I have news for you, it happens again when they turn into wonderful teenagers. Treading new waters is never easy as a parent and we all get through it one way or another but I thought I would give you younger parents a sneak peek into the daily reality of your futures. Every kid is different so hey, it may not be this bad, but hey, it could be worse ; )

Talking: Do NOT talk to him unless need be, even then he thinks there is no need. Forget asking questions, they are all just to prove how stupid you are!

How do I deal? I talk to or ask him about whatever the heck I want to; but I do try not to make “small talk” anymore, he likes his quiet solitude especially during car time or shall I say, MY quiet time while his head phones are on. However, if I need to ask him something or tell him something, I HAVE to touch him to get his attention and he hates that even worse 😉

Touching: Do NOT touch him under any circumstance! (unless bribery is involved).

How do I deal? I do miss cuddle time, but I wait patiently for my opportunities. If he asks me for a back massage, sure, but you are talking the whole time!!! Literally, as I give him a massage he spills the beans on his life from school to friends to baseball! I can ask whatever I want, those are the rules, no attitude. He wants something from me, let’s say to play ping pong, fine, I want a “real” hug first. Works every time because I believe (but I could be wrong) that they secretly still want hugs from us!

Watching practices/games: Do NOT come to ANY practice what so ever! Games are fine because all the parents are there but all those practices that you used to go to and support him are now HIS practices and you don’t belong there anymore. Do not show up early to catch a sneak peek, in fact, he will take the late bus home just to keep this from happening. Same thing goes for after practice, it’s none of your business what happened during practice, it’s strictly between him, his coaches and teammates. You are no longer a back seat coach/cheerleader. Those days are over and it’s big time now. (he will now and then spill some good things that happened in practice IF you don’t ask) For games, he knows you are there but no talking about the games after the games. Headphones back on for the ride home.

How do I deal? I tell him when he was great anyway but don’t really bring up the bad things, he already knows. He is also the type of kid that doesn’t even like to hear compliments but as him mom, I HAVE to tell him. I do try to allow him his independent life as much as I can where he can own his own success and failures.

Communication: There is NONE! Playdates, oops “hang outs” are now made between the kids only and you will find out 6 minutes before you are expected to jump in your car and drive them across town regardless of your plans. They do NOT understand that you have your own life and it may include things other then themselves, that is just crazy talk. Communication about game and practice changes, again none!

How do I deal? I have to remind him that I have a life and he needs to communicate with us if he wants me to do ANYTHING for him. He also needs to be polite and not “get angry” at me because I just got out of the shower and can’t be in the car in 6 minutes : o I have also become my own investigator with emails, school websites, and texting anyone from other parents to well, more parents trying to figure out practice changes and game locations. You see, the coaches too, are trying to teach these teens to be responsible, resulting in JUST telling the teens and expecting them to show up…..uh, excuse me, but mine doesn’t drive yet and still relies on me to get him there..a little help please!

Attitude: There is TONS! This is probably the hardest of all to deal with. I will try to capture a taste for you but can’t really write about TONE, but the TONE is what’s just awful! It goes something like this….Hey Jess, are you hungry? Do you want me to make you something to eat? “NO MOM, GOD, OBVIOUSLY I JUST ATE, DON”T YOU KNOW ANYTHING, MUMBLE BLAH, BLAH?!?!?!” Except this is ALL the time about so many topics.

How do I deal? A couple ways, first, I have to distinguish the difference between total disrespect and just normal teenage hormones raging and address it appropriately. Where there is direct disrespect, there needs to be direct consequences. Something they know will happen if it continues, such as taking their phone away. This almost always needs to have a warning prior to, due to the fact that they are operating on half a brain (literally) and sometimes don’t even realize how disrespectful they are being. Second, when it’s just teenage hormones, I try to have a sense of humor about it. I mean truly, if you listen to their tone about the silliest things it is quite humorous. There are plenty of times where I will just start laughing at him at which point he starts to smile hearing himself back. It’s quite funny. And third, I try not to take it too personally. This is a phase and it will pass. I hang on to the little moments where I can see maturity and what he will be like when he grows out of it. I like that kid very much and think he is/will be very cool! REALLY looking forward to having a conversation with him, and giving him lots of hugs when that day comes ; ) Meanwhile, I find comfort in the kind words I hear from his friend’s parents and his teachers, because no matter how icky he can be with us, to the outside world they inform us that he is completely respectful, funny, and engaging! Whew! Guess we are doing something right.

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