The UP Side of Living with Teenagers

12 Mar

In the past several weeks, I have been with lots and lots of teens and their parents – a ski trip up north with few other families, a trip down south with my cousins, their children and their friends, a couple of basketball games and some family dinners with close friends.

The good news is that whenever the kids were around adults who were not their parents, they were, without exception, polite, respectful, grateful and engaged in conversation.  The bad news is that once their parents entered the picture, the behavior they reserved just for them came roaring out – the eye rolling, “are you kidding me?”,” no”, “mom/dad – STOP”,  “OH MY GOD”, the ignoring, “you are so ________” , “why do I have to_____” and on and on….

How reassuring it was to see that they all act like that!

There are so many books, blogs and resources that try and explain why adolescents behave the way they do (snarks), what their internal struggles are about (like we care anymore) and how parents can diffuse their outbursts and anger (yeah, right) and learn not to take it personally (a little difficult when the darts are hurling in your direction).

But since I’m optimistic most of the time, I’ve decided to tally up the advantages of living with a teenager or two. Here they are:

  1. Go Team  If you and your spouse have ever been at odds about how to raise your kids (please tell me you have), you can take comfort in knowing you don’t have to fight anymore – since your kid isn’t actually talking to either of you most of the time, there’s nothing to argue about and you are always on the same (losing) team.
  2. Philanthropy   Because your kids are growing like weeds on a daily basis, your charitable giving (their clothing, uncool DVD’s/video games and in our case, Lego’s by the trunkful) is increasing.  (And because I’m optimistic, I won’t go to the flip side of that, which is that you’re having to spend your life savings on replacing outgrown clothing and shoes.)
  3. Independence Day! When there’s a snow day, working moms and dads no longer have to take a day off or even get angry at school for canceling – our kids can finally stay home by themselves!!
  4. TTYL  When talking to your kid gets tough, you can always text your instructions, frustrations or….love!
  5. Fashionista   You will always have the opportunity to dress and act appropriately, because your kids are sure to let you know when your skirt is too long or too short, whether cuffs are in or out, if your hair is acceptable and of course, if your speech is appropriate (“nobody even talks like that anymore”).
  6. Home Alone    When you want to go out on a date, you no longer have to use your retirement savings to pay a babysitter or drive someone home in a snowstorm or after a few drinks.
  7. Personal 401K   If you have a boy in middle or high school, you are saving a ton of money on winter clothing, since most of them refuse to wear a jacket, hat or gloves, even on sub-zero temperature days.
  8. Geek Squad   How nice is it to have your own personal IT person living under the same roof? These kids can do EVERYTHING digital….you know, if they’re not too busy tweeting, vining, face-timing or mad at you or something.
  9. #%**/&#   I don’t know about you, but I am especially happy that I no longer have to temper my language to the degree I did when Ben was younger. I can swear – and even swear at him (sorry, but it’s true) to my heart’s content!
  10. Stranger in the House    As unsettling as it can be, watching your son or daughter change from a little kid to a full-fledged adult looking thing right before your eyes is an indescribable event.  Every stage is fun to witness, but this transformation is actually awe-inspiring.
  11. Pet Perks   You no longer have to run home to feed the dogs or let them out – just throw the kid a text and pray that they actually follow through so there’s no present waiting for you on the carpet when you get back a couple of hours later.
  12. The Dean’s List   If you catch a glimpse of your kids’ homework or quiz them for a test, you can enjoy learning history, finally understand how the government works, learn a new language, brush up on your grammar and totally improve your vocabulary. (Math is not in this point for a reason.)
  13. Into The Future  The best part of raising an adolescent is knowing (or praying) that in a few short (right?) years – when their allergy to you has been neutralized by simply growing up – you will have a bright, respectful, fun and amazing son or daughter…that actually likes you again!
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One Response to “The UP Side of Living with Teenagers”

  1. Layman March 12, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    I love this!! Haha!

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