FFFUUUUNNNN let me tell you. Do you remember going to the stores to buy all the baby books that you could get your hands on? There’s one out there called “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”, and it’s a book that a lot of mothers are eager to read – and why not? It talks through everything to expect while you are pregnant, and the first year beyond that. It’s stuffed full of information and you and your baby can get through it together.
The problem? It does not talk to you about what to expect when your kid hits puberty and you’re about to have a teenager. It does not talk to you about how to take your kid to the police because they were caught shoplifting and need some tough love from the big guys out there. It does not talk you through the heartbreak of a heroin addiction treatment center that you are touring because your fifteen year old thought drugs would be a fantastic idea. These things? They don’t happen to every family. It’s not every parent that has to go through dealing with puberty in this way, and yet too many families do. So, it pays to know what to expect when your teenager morphs from a difficult nine year old into a precocious thirteen year old and then into a confused and scared fifteen year old. Those teen years? No picnic – no picnic at all.
So, mom and dad, let’s take a look at some of the good and bad of puberty and what you can expect to handle.
- Peer pressure is a b*tch. Yeah, sorry for the language there, but let’s be honest, other people’s kids can suck. You are trying to keep your routines and your boundaries, and then Ryan from the class at school decides to offer weed to your fourteen year old son. Your son wants to be cool, to fit in, to break the rules – as all teenagers do. And the pressure is becoming too much. You can expect to deal with a confused and angry child who can’t understand why Ryan won’t take no for an answer. Working with your teenager and keeping the lines of communication open is SO important, and you need to do the same with their school, too.
- Hormones – oh, God, the hormones. Teenagers are hormone soup. Picture a toddler, but with words – that. All the tantrums and boundary pushing without any of the babbling and cuteness. Ride it out, mom, you were here once. Give them enough space to breathe without leaving them alone. Don’t assume to argue; simply ask what they need in that moment and work with them, not against them. It’s going to settle down soon enough.
- A lot of love. Your teenager is blossoming because of you. They’re becoming more independent and self-assures (not at first) because of you. They’re going to thank you for being steadfast and sure – it’ll just take time to get there.
The teen years are hard, but if you work at them, you’re going to have happy, secure adults. What’s your biggest teen struggle? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!