Growing Pains

19 Mar

There’s only one thing harder than raising a child, and that’s raising a teenager.  You’re suddenly faced with major changes—changes of the body, mood swings, desire for more control.  And that’s just the parent . . .

The teen also experiences dramatic change. Don’t be surprised if your teen gains interest in his friends and loses interest in certain things he used to enjoy, such as his parents.

Some specialists divide the “surviving the teenage years” phase into periods: early teen, middle teen, and umpteen. The umpteen years are the period where you yell things like, “For the umpteenth time, I told you to clean your clothes off the bathroom floor, clear the old bowls of chili from under your bed, and strip your underwear from your jeans before you throw them in the wash!”

This is why at the beginning of the teen years parents should make sure their kids get enough sleep, eat healthy food, and move into their own apartment.

A teenager experiences such rapid physical change that things appear to grow overnight. One day your teenage son goes to bed with peach fuzz above his upper lip and the next day he comes to breakfast wearing more facial hair than an orthodox rabbi.

Teens develop special language skills, like the unique ability to shrink entire sentences into a string of three letter abbreviations: “OMG, POS, GTG !” (Oh my God, parent over shoulder, gotta go!).

They also start to use universal facial expressions to express themselves:

Parent: “I don’t care if Josh’s parents are letting him go to a Smackin Isaiah concert on a school night.”

Teen: Furls eyebrows.

Parent:  “Video games aren’t going to get you into college.”

Teen: Eye roll.

Parent:  “Did you remember to call grandma for her birthday?”

Teen:  Blank stare.

Teens begin to pay closer attention to appearance: “Mom, don’t ever wear that dress in public again.”

It’s hard to watch our kids grow up. My daughter used to wear underpants decorated with cute Disney characters. Now Cinderella and Snow White have been replaced with words like “Juicy.”

A teen does not want to be treated as a child.  Some parents aren’t ready to accept this. They pack their teens juice boxes and teddy grahams and wonder why their kids insist on buying lunch at school each day.

It’s important to treat teens like grown individuals. This means helping them learn new life skills, like how to drive a car. It may also mean teaching them more difficult skills, like how to unwrap your car from a telephone pole . . .

It’s time for me to face that my daughter’s umbilical chord is no longer attached. I’m sure of this, because two weeks after she was born I found it in the lint compartment of our clothes dryer.

Soon I will be sending my daughter off to college where she will be attending The University of Far from Home.

It makes me sad to send her off, but I know that no matter where she is, my role will always be to nurture, comfort and protect.

I also know that she will always be reminded of that— every time her hamper is full.






37 Responses to “Growing Pains”

  1. Audubon Ron at 3:18 pm #


  2. transparentguy at 3:26 pm #

    What is most bizarre to me is the phenomenon where my former clingy-to-the-point-of-being-marsupials child slams his bedroom door and we don’t see him again for 8 years except if he needs food, money, or keys to the car.

  3. Of course WE were never like that to our parents!


  4. Jen and Tonic at 3:37 pm #

    Teenagers scare me. My sister is 17 now, and although she’s a really great kid, there are times when her moodiness catches me off guard. My parents had to raise three girls, and sometimes I don’t know how they got out alive.

    • God bless your parents! If they’re like you I’m guessing they got through it with a sense of humor 🙂

  5. crubin at 3:55 pm #

    As a mother of a teenager, you gave me some great laughs. Loved the facial hair thing!

    It’s difficult to find the balance between staying actively involved in their lives and pulling away enough to give them their independence. Just when I think I’m striking out, my normally non-demonstrative teen will give me a hug and tell me he loves me. And given that’s all I have to go on, I assume it means I’m doing my job okay. 🙂

  6. thelaughingmom at 10:21 pm #

    Oh, I dread it. That is freaky how they literally transform overnight. Worth a slo-mo camera in their rooms while they sleep. On second thought-check that. I don’t want to know.

  7. mimi at 10:28 pm #

    a joy to read……

  8. Paprika Furstenburg at 1:14 am #

    I’m not a parent, but I’m sure that one day when your teens are older and have moved out of your house, you’ll look back on this time in your lives and be glad it is over 🙂

  9. Enjoyed this post. My niece just turned 20 (no more umpteen).
    And there is NO F….’N way that she is not always right for everything. 🙂
    OK, she admit sometimes that she’s wrong, but not without “putting a fight”.
    Still, those are the best years … ehh…

    • Glad you enjoyed the post! Like your niece, I had a hard time admitting I was wrong at that age. My husband would argue that sometimes I still do . . .

  10. Huffygirl at 8:22 pm #

    I don’t know about girls, but the boys start to like you again after they’ve been away from home for awhile and begin to miss all the things you did for them. When they start getting bills to pay it’s even better.

    Every single year we drove our kids to college, helped them unpack and get settled, and took them out for one last meal before we left. We left satisfied that we had done our job as responsible parents. But, we were surrounded by kids who drove themselves to college in their brand new cars, with nary a parent in tow. At first our kids hated having us bring them, but later I think they appreciated it. At least I hope they did.

  11. I bet they did appreciate your help. I know I still appreciate when my parents help me get settled and take me out for a meal!

  12. earthriderjudyberman at 1:37 am #

    Yes, there are those cringe-worthy moments when dealing with your teen … their teachers maniacal calls about their latest transgressions, the disgruntled neighbors who endure the t.p. (toilet paper) hanging from trees, etc. But life returns to normal after they’ve gotten past those -‘ I want to be in a separate movie theater from you” moments. Then, you can again enjoy each other’s company. Until then … God bless, my friend.

  13. Dawn@LightenUp! at 12:00 pm #

    “and move into their own apartment.”
    My thoughts EXACTLY! Loved it, Lisa.

  14. Dawn– I get the feeling we share the same thoughts on a lot of things 🙂

  15. Lou and Kitty at 5:35 pm #

    I’ve often wondered who has the most scars from long ago, our children now parents {good luck] or their still healing parents. However, taking account, the good scars outnumber the bad.

  16. My Pajama Days at 6:18 pm #

    LOVE this and could relate on so many levels. I wasn’t at all prepared for the smell either. Seriously! There is no air freshener strong enough for a teenage girl’s room.

    • I hear you! I’ve considered volunteering my teenage daughter’s room for the Febreze commercial where real people are blindfolded and brought into a filthy, smelly room . . .

  17. Tammy at 2:53 am #

    This has been a big growth year for me regarding my teen. I’ve had to realize that the foundation I’ve provided is set and now, so much more is up to him. AND, much of it is not going to turn out according to MY plan.

  18. Exactly. We can only hope that the foundation is solid and from it something good will continue to rise!

  19. Downith at 2:38 pm #

    As the mother of two under 10 (but rising!) I am running scared from this post.

  20. Cherish the age of innocense!

  21. timkeen40 at 11:28 pm #

    God’s punishment for being a teenager is being the parent of one.


  22. simonandfinn at 1:45 pm #

    You are so funny! Not one but many quips and jokes scattered throughout – it’s great.

  23. You are so kind!

  24. Sylver Blaque at 1:47 am #

    Okay, um, excuse me but, just fyi, it’s much harder raising a parent. I remember how I almost lost my developing mind trying to educated my mother out of her embarrassing ways & wardrobe. So, like, you know, give a teen a break, Mom. (giggle, giggle)

  25. I didn’t think I would survive my two sons’ teenage years.

    Amazingly, the years flew by–although there were single days I thought would never, ever end.

    Hang in there.

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