I wouldn’t say being a parent of teenagers is any harder than the manic years when they are toddlers or that it’s any easier really. The only way I can describe it is that it’s ‘interesting’ or ‘different’. When you meet another parent you can normally tell instantly they are parents of a toddler. First off there might be the biggest clue of all with junior swinging off the bottom of the parents jeans, only pausing to peer at you from behind parents leg and then ask in a very loud whiny voice if it’s time to go yet as they examine the contents of their nose that they just wiped on parents jeans. You smile sweetly at junior and parent apologizes for juniors outburst and rolls eyes, heavily bagged eyes that are. There jumper or jeans in this example probably have an artistic smearing of the morning’s breakfast just to finish things off. Its only 9 in the morning but said parent is already looking like they have already spent the last 6 hours engaging and encouraging helpful play with junior.
Bump into a parent of a teen and the signs are little less obvious. For starters, most teens won’t be out of bed at 9 am let alone be in touching distance in public (or non-public for that matter). I would like to say a parent of a teenager is easy to spot as they have conquered the mornings and dress impeccably with an air of sophistication about them. But alas I can’t, yes there are some parents who have reached these dizzy heights but I don’t speak to that sort so I can’t tell you how they do it. All I know that whiny toddlers grow into whiny grumpy teenagers. To spot a parent of a teenager you need to dig deeper and look at their homes.
Here you will spot damp patches in corners of rooms from discarded towels as they no longer think it’s helpful to put laundry in the wash basket. You will find all manner of forms of transport like skateboard and scooters or bikes right outside the back doors as no one else ever wants to walk in or out the back door without putting their life in danger. You will notice the recycling changes slightly from cans of pop to cans of cider and the wine bottles start multiplying ( that’s the parents on more wine).
As a parent to a teenager, you still don’t warrant any gratitude for all the help and advice you try and give and you still don’t know anything as your teenager argues black is white just so that you’re not right.
So as you push another grey hair behind your ear as you put on your glasses to read the small writing on that second bottle of red to drown out the music thudding through the floorboards that they reckon is turned down as low as it will go, I can only give one piece of advice, remember this ……. they too will have children and they too will be a parent of a teenager. What goes around comes around.