Mental Survival Tips for Parents of Teens

It’s really just about mental survival.

It’s not exactly biologically probable that a set of parents could have 8 to 10 teenagers at once… but here we are. If I round up our 12-year-olds to teens, that puts us at 10 in the house at once.

In case you were wondering how this manifests itself…it’s generally just a lot of hormones, eye-rolling, heavy-sighing, and “ughhh”-ing to absorb on any given day.

I swear it was easier when we had 12 between 3-15 years old. Sure there was a lot more “wiping” of things to be done, but almost any problem could be solved with a hug, a snack, a nap or a distraction.

Now that they are almost all between 12-19 (two moved out and we have the one kindergartner), problems can only be solved by a full Congressional Committee on the Perceived Fairness of Actions and Inherent Unfairness of Resulting Consequences in a Household Setting.

That, or turning off the internet.

Give me your tired, cranky, tantrum-throwing, food-refusing, non-potty-training toddlers all day long. Teenagers are the real test of a parent’s resolve to not eat their young.

In order to help maintain my personal sanity, I’ve devised several ways to make my kids roll their eyes that have nothing to do with laundry being done, my requests that they keep food in the kitchen, bring all 7,943 water glasses back to the sink, or inquiries about where all the silverware is hiding.

Don’t judge me…it’s fun.

In case you need some ideas (other than the obvious: exist, breathe, ask them how their day was, suggest solutions to anything, you get the idea…):

  1. Always call them Air Buds. Like the golden retriever movies. Not Air Pods.
  2. Find t-shirts that use phrases they will obviously hate. My favorite is pink with a fancy llama on it that says “My llama don’t like you and she likes everyone.” (reference to a Justin Bieber song.)
  3. Music torture: for our kids, Frank Sinatra, Jack Johnson, and anything by Kidz Bop. My personal favorite is Jack Johnson The Sharing Song – which is a kids song, by Jack Johnson. Double whammy.
  4. Definitely sing the wrong lyrics when forced to listen to their “newfangled pop music”. Calling it that also gives you an air of “cranky old person” which is also really amusing.
  5. Ask if they would like to invite a friend over for a play date. This is especially effective because you are A: speaking, and B: using incorrect terminology (the term is “hang” or “chill”). Super fun.
  6. Wear a tutu to take them wherever you will be taking them. I have a black one, a blue and teal green one, and a pink one…I keep my options open.

In all fairness, having teens has been a big shift in our parenting. It’s much more mental and emotional now than the physical-nature of things from when they were younger. They may not think they “need” us as much as they did when we were directly responsible for keeping them alive and clean, but we know they need us now even more somehow.

Parents out there with teens – we see you.

Moms of littles…we envy you a little, and we don’t mean to be super cliche with the “it goes by so FAST!” comments, but it does.

Grandparents smiling and remembering the day you said “one of these days you will be grown up and have a child that acts EXACTLY like you do!”…well played.

Now, go buy yourself a tutu and a llama shirt.

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