You know all those moms you used to see at the mall or grocery store who had no control over their toddlers?
Well now their kids are teenagers.
And they’re writing all the blog posts.
All of them.
And honestly? I am tired from reading allllll of these posts that people are sharing all over Facebook with lists of what your teenager will and will not do.
Because as I am reading these cleverly titled lists, I keep saying…um. Nope. Not my teenager. Nope, not that one either. Nope. Nope. Nope.
I can see how it may resonate with so many people, but here’s where I struggle.
If I am having a hard time with a certain part of parenting and I read a blog post about how all these other moms are also having a hard time with the same thing? I start to get lazy and feel like, Ok. I guess this is just how life is and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. So I guess I will just quit trying.
Let’s all just sit in the proverbial mud puddle together.
But then there’s gotta be annoying people like me who hopefully make you second guess those other posts.
I read one post that had ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE COMMENTS agreeing with her. In this post, she pushed it as a warning to moms of pre-teens giving them her “professional” opinion about how teenagers act.
Number 8 on her list was that teenage boys will not want to hug you anymore once they turned into a teenager.
And that’s where she lost me.
To be fair, my teenager is only 14 and my other son is just a month and a half away from being a teenager. But still.
I would love to see how this woman parented through the younger years.
The posts I am seeing are filled with things moms “MUST” know and include:
“expect your teenager to not talk to you anymore”
“expect your teenager to know everything and act like you know nothing”
“expect your teenager to leave the house a mess all the time”
And then I see the hundreds of comments and die a little inside.
I start to think…is there any hope for humanity?
I know, I know. I’m a bit dramatic. But seriously people.
So here’s my list.
1. Expect your teenager to respond to you with the same respect that you required when they were 4.
If they were allowed to whine, talk back and pout then? They will most likely do a teenage version of that now. This will also quite possibly be very similar to your grown up version of the exact same respect you show others. It doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s allowing it to be a common occurrence year after year after year.
2. Expect your teenager to be messy…or neat. Depending on their personality.
It’s funny when I read about all teens being messy, because my oldest son is the most organized, neat, clean person ever. He always has been. His closet is coordinated by color and style. His bed is always made and he knows where everything is. My youngest is the opposite. It has nothing to do with age. It has to do with personality.
Don’t be confused by that.
3. Expect your teenager to love you.
I read one post (again with hundreds of agreeing comments) that said expect your teenager to love you then hate you. They said that you should expect them to roll their eyes at you all during dinner and be mortified when you show up to their game.
This literally hurt my heart.
This is what hundreds of people are reading and agreeing with?
What on earth do I have to get me through the difficult years of getting no sleep and 24-hour care of my babies if all I have to look forward to is my teenager suddenly not wanting me around and rolling their eyes at me all night?!
Please do not expect this. Please.
Teach them to love you. To honor you. To respect you when they are toddlers. Then you just reinforce it as they get older.
4. Expect your teenager to eat. A lot.
Ok. This one is true. Dang, these boys can eat.
There’s really nothing else to say about it. Expect your grocery bill to continuously get higher and higher the older your kids get.
5. Expect your teenager to obey.
I don’t know when the whole All-teenagers-go-through-a-rebellious-stage thing came into play, but I just don’t buy into it.
Listen. The bottom line is, we are all rebellious. We can all go through a rebellious stage! It is not limited to teenagers. When you start planning for your kids to start rebelling as soon as they hit the teen years, I kind of feel like you are setting yourself up for failure. We don’t need to set ourselves up for that.
Let’s plan for success. Expect them to obey.
6. Expect your teenager to act how you raised them to act.
When you work hard during the younger years, you get to work less during the teenage years. It’s just the way it works.
If you let your kids roll their eyes, pout and get their own way when they are 2, they are going to do the same when they are 15.
If you don’t have open communication when your kids are little, you aren’t going to magically have good communication when they are teens.
If you let your kids control you when they are 2, they are going to control you when they’re 15.
It’s not really that hard to figure out.
Sure, life changes. Schedules change. Friendships change.
But know this.
Your relationship with your teenager will be a direct result of your relationship with your toddler.
Your life with your teenager does not have to look like all the lists of doom that you read about on the internet.
And also? Just because 150 people agree that their teenager never talks to them, never hugs them, doesn’t love them…does not mean that you have to settle for the same!
Plan for the best. Pray for the best. Expect the best.
Teenagers are amazing.
And to go back to the beginning and combat the stereotyping of teenagers I’ve been reading everywhere:
My boys talk a lot.
My boys don’t act like I know nothing.
One of my boys is neat and one is not.
Both of my boys hug me. A lot.
And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again:
Teenagers make the best friends.