Speaking from experience, I don’t think there’s any child-rearing stage that parents fear more than the teen years. We talk of going through these tumultuous years as if we’re headed to war, armed with little more than our own experiences, limited knowledge and the (sometimes questionable) wisdom garnered from fellow parents. We run through countless tips, read books or watch shows in an effort to get ready only to discover we are woefully unprepared for the battles to come.
Yet in our quest to teach our teens how to survive in this world and usher them safely to adulthood (hopefully with our sanity intact), we often forget that we’ve done this before. Sure they might bear little resemblance to the cuddly angels they once were but your teen’s mannerisms sometimes do mirror those of the terrible twos and threes.
Let me show you the similarities:
- Their tantrums
- Their fierce need for independence
- Their uncanny habit of bending the truth
- Their messy rooms
- They like taking risks
- They love saying no
- They are constantly outgrowing their clothes
Just like toddlers, the amount and volume of crying, screaming and yelling teens are capable of is actually astounding and fascinating to watch. The fact that experts say this crazy behavior is vital to their development doesn’t make it any easier to bear.
Remember how your kid used to insist on crossing the road alone or feeding and clothing herself? Well, if your teens are anything like mine, they wouldn’t be caught dead within 20 feet of you. Also, all your offers to help them can and will be met with resistance.
Teens and toddlers like to tell their own version of events. As toddlers grow, the innocent fibs of yesteryear become elaborate tales backed with questionable facts and you learn that it’s much harder to catch a lying teen.
For some mysterious reason parents are yet to discover, toddlers and teens can be surprisingly, effortlessly messy. Your teen’s ability to find anything in the mess they call a room will fill you with a curious mix of horror and admiration.
Just like when they were toddlers, you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time protecting your teens from themselves. This task will be constantly thwarted by their limited impulse control, their belief in their own invincibility and their high emotional reactivity.
Teens love saying “no” to almost anything. If they’re feeling particularly chatty, the emphatic “No!” will be followed by an unfriendly, “Leave me alone!” normally punctuated by the slamming of a door.
With teens and toddlers in the house, you’ll constantly be buying new clothes. Funny enough, your teen will swear they have nothing to wear and you’ll frequently butt heads over what constitutes an acceptable outfit.
Raising teens can be grueling, I know. Whenever things get too overwhelming remind yourself that this too shall pass. That always works for me.