Annoying (Unsolicitied) Parenting Advice “Just Wait Until They’re Teenagers!!!”

This post is brought to you by the fact that my creative writing is in a bit of limbo as I’ve started a few too many projects and need to take a break from them. I had started writing a post about my youngest child, to give people a little more insight into my weird little family and realized that there were some basic parenting topics that I wanted to talk about first. I hadn’t intended to write so much about parenting, but… well, I have a lot more to say than I thought I did!

This is an updated post that I originally wrote for a family blog back in the day. It’s STILL relevant and I think it’s something that parents and people thinking of becoming parents should hear.

When my kids were younger, I heard this All The Time. Strangers, relatives, well meaning friends, etc… “Well, you think it’s hard now (or you think they’re cute now…) Just wait until they’re TEENAGERS!!”

I guess it didn’t help that I had FIVE kids, which seemed to bring out all the opinions (which got a bit sketchy sometimes, you might be surprised at the things people say about your kids or THEIR kids in FRONT OF those kids!)

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It drove me to pick my ass and I always responded with some sort of “Yeah, my kids are going to be awesome teenagers, I can’t wait!”

And they would shake their head, their lips pursed as they looked at me with that barely tolerant “Just you wait” look.

But you know what? OMG, I totally, like, DID wait! They DID become teenagers, and I love them even more!!!

Although maybe I just like me teenagers because they’re so awesomely witty and big old smart asses just like me ūüôā

I read this in an article titled,¬†“Why Women Are Crabby”

“We started to ‘bud’ in our blouses at 9 or 10 years old only to find that anything that came in contact with those tender, blooming buds hurt so bad it brought us to tears. So came the ridiculously uncomfortable training bra contraption that the boys in school would snap until we had calluses on our backs.

“Next, we get our periods in our early to mid-teens (or sooner). Along with those budding boobs, we bloated, we cramped, we got the hormone crankies, had to wear little mattresses between our legs or insert tubular, packed cotton rods in places we didn’t even know we had.”

Then HALFWAY DOWN THE PAGE… this same person says, “Then come their ‘Teen Years.’ Need I say more?”

This is quite possibly my BIGGEST PET PEEVE!!!!¬†(I swear this isn’t directed at any one person, the author of this piece included, I’m just sick of this mindset!)

I disagree vehemently with the automatic assumption that “teen years” are always this hellhole of dysfunction, impotent rage and unhappiness… need I say more? (I do realize that some kids¬†Do¬†go through that kind of stuff due to extenuating circumstances, undiagnosed mental illness, abuse, etc. I’m not saying that NO teens go through it, I’m saying don’t EXPECT it from them and don’t treat them like every bad day is a sign of impending and constant doom!)

Does anyone else find it ridiculous that they start out explaining why we are so crabby (including our teen years) and then halfway through are complaining about their teenagers being crabby?

Hypocrisy? Why are teenagers not allowed to have emotions and moods that we ourselves expect to be allowed to have??? I’ve been hearing this literally since my kids were born…

“Is s/he a good baby?” (another peeve)
“A good baby? s/he is just a baby, I don’t think there is anything inherently bad about a baby… they eat, they sleep, they poop… that’s about the extent of their life right now. Nothing terribly exciting.”

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To which the loving, helpful, put in my life to mentor me with their sage wisdom would put on the voice of doom and give me the dire warning, “Well, just WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE TEENAGERS! THEN you’ll wish and pray that they were babies again” or something of that nature.

“Just wait until they don’t want to hug you anymore! Then you’ll wish they were at this cuddly stage again…” (Wait, when does this happen? Because I’m not a cuddly type, and at 22, my 6’2″ big son practically breaks my ribs with his hugs every time I see him!)

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Just wait until the evil beast that is the teenager claws its way out of your sweet, soft spoken child and they turn into a MONSTER!!!

I heard this from nearly everybody. Relatives, doctors, strangers in the store, strangers at the park, neighbors ad nauseam.

I would always reply with, “No, I think my kids are going to be awesome teenagers. Probably WEIRD teenagers, but I think I’ll enjoy those years too.” And they would cluck their tongues at my naivety and shake their heads. I think they often wanted to pat my head as though I were a toddler trying to convince them that I wanted to be a turtle when I grew up.

Well sorry to say people… My kids are now well into and mostly PAST teenager land. My youngest is 17, I guess, and maybe she’ll suddenly turn into a raving lunatic werewolf who eats vampire placentas in the night, but I’m fairly confident that isn’t going to happen. If it does, that video is totally going on my youtube channel.

As it is, my other kids are 19, 21, 22 & 26 and they are amazing people. Yes, we had some rough times off and on where kids went through puberty and learned to adjust to the hormone shift (Proper supplements can be a life saver for all involved and don’t let anyone tell you differently!) and even figuring out how to transition to adulthood. But guess what, those “rough times” were a matter of months. MONTHS. Figuring out what each person in the family needed when they were having a hard time took a little bit, but because we actually paid attention to what they needed… it worked.

One of my children needs quiet and alone time when they’re feeling moody/sensitive/PMSy, or just having a bad day. One of my children needs together time, one on one quality time to talk things out. Another one just wants to watch movies for a while or play video games. Another wants to go for a walk or hang out with a friend and then later will probably want to talk. Another child doesn’t want to talk at all. As for me? I like to have quiet alone time to write because that’s what makes me feel better and more sane.

I DO have some very real tips on helping kids through that whole “moody” phase in life where the hormones kick in and they don’t quite know how to handle the influx of emotions and random¬†new¬†feelings that seem to come out of nowhere and I may post that someday soon as well.

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BUT, Just like we, as adults have to do several times in life, when we go through life changing experiences. It doesn’t have to be the living hell that some people seem to expect if you can treat your children as human beings, worthy of your love and respect instead of some sort of failed science experiment when it turns out that they might have a different way of handling emotion than you do.

Don’t treat the people in your life like your enemy or like something you need to fix. You’re raising children (I would hope) to be happy successful, functioning adults.
Help them find the ways that make it easier for them to cope with change or struggles that are always a part of life. That’s your job as a parent, to help them become the best THEM they can be.
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I love my teenagers and I love them as adult human people, too… perhaps partially¬†because¬†of the fact that I raised them with no preconceived notion that they were going to suddenly turn into demon spawn when the number 13 was on their birthday cake. Maybe its because we celebrated their 13th birthdays late (most of them, anyway) and they forgot that they were supposed to start foaming at the mouth, back talking and being a huge pain in the butt.

And yes, I realize the whole original article is supposed to be funny. I don’t know where its from, but yes, its funny that we women tend to be moody. Thank goodness that I can use the fact that I’m a woman for being so “crabby” about this subject.

We tease and torment each other, our love language is sarcasm, but we definitely have a lot of love… and a lot of sarcasm.

And no, as a matter of fact, I am not PMSing¬†although I might be nearing/in the process of menopause, I’ve just been waiting nearly twenty years to say “I told you so! I’m all grown up now, so na na na na BOO BOO! Take THAT negative-mentor-y people from when my kids were babies.”

 

Cover Photo Source KS Visual Media

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