What I’ve learned from raising teenagers


raising teens,teenagers

Before I tell you what I’ve learned, I must mention that I love my kids with all of my heart. I adore them. Just because a parent loves their kids doesn’t mean that those same kids aren’t incredibly annoying at times. When they were little I couldn’t wait for them to get older. Well, I got what I wished for, as time has FLOWN by. Knowing what I know now, I think I’d rather be changing diapers and dealing with the terrible-twos.

What I have learned from raising teenagers:

I am stupid.  There, I said it.  Because you know, I don’t have years of experience that have helped me learn so much about life. And they have (*insert eye roll *).  What I love the most is when they ask me for advice and I give an answer and they look at me like I have a third eye, while disagreeing with me.  I finally just smile to myself, knowing that they will do it their way, and will want me to come to their rescue to “fix” things.  This always happens.  I have to use all my strength to not blurt out, “I told you so!”.

When your child is old enough to complain that their clothing hasn’t been washed yet, they are old enough to wash their own clothes.  Yep.  I started this when my daughter was upset one Monday morning that her gym clothes hadn’t been washed (I’m fairly positive they didn’t even appear in the laundry hamper until Sunday night).  When she came home from school, I announced that she was now in charge of washing her own clothes.  I taped easy-to-read  instructions conveniently inside the cabinet that holds the detergent and softener.  Now she has only herself to blame when her clothes haven’t been laundered in her desired timeframe.  I have to say that this also helps with them tossing clean clothes in the dirty laundry, just because. Or maybe they have worn something for 5 minutes before chucking it in the hamper.  It’s not my problem anymore!

Their idea of “clean” and mine are two different things.  It should seem obvious when something is still dirty (ie countertops, the microwave, plates, glasses, the tops of pots and pans).   My kids are in charge of washing their own dishes. Which to them means carelessly swishing around some cold, slightly soapy water in a dirty pot (but the inside only – because nothing EVER drips down the side).  I have finally resorted to saying “if you wouldn’t lick it, then it doesn’t go back in the cabinet”.  Wiping the floor – same thing. They limply swipe a damn paper towel over the spill, which basically just spreads the mess further.  I am reminded of their “cleaning” ways when my foot is firmly attached to the floor when I am trying to walk through the kitchen.

They are selfish.  Teens think only about themselves.  I’m not sure if it is because they wear their earbuds most of the time, and can’t tell how much noise they are making, but it frequently sounds like a herd of bison marching in unison.  They slam doors (not really slam, but they don’t bother turning the handle so the door will shut quietly).  They especially love to to do this late at night with their many trips to the bathroom!

They steal and “borrow” my stuff.  This is probably my biggest pet peeve.  I am constantly looking around for my things.  They have this habit of helping themselves to everything I own, but typically they “borrow” my grooming items: Tweezers, nail files, magnifying mirror, brushes, and hair clips. Oh and band-aids and Neosporin. I can NEVER find these things when I need them, and have to hunt through the drawers in their bathroom to recover my missing items.  I always buy extras of these (to keep my sanity), but when they lose their own, they steal mine again. I have resorted to hiding these items. How pathetic is that?  I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE TAKE MY STUFF!

water bottles,labels

They don’t restock the refrigerator.  This is another major pet peeve of mine.  I enjoy cold bottled water and Diet Coke.  It never fails – I will load about 6 of each in the refrigerator.  The next day I go to grab one of them and they are all gone. All of them.  Maybe one of them had friends over and handed them out, but they don’t replace them!  This drives me insane.  I have resorted to writing my name on a couple of things when I put them in the fridge, which sometimes helps.

Someday they will realize.  I know a few years down the road, my children, while pondering life’s many mysteries, will realize that I actually DID have words of wisdom for them.  They just didn’t realize it at the time.  One day they will look back and think, “Mom was right”.  I remember saying those exact words about my own parents, when I was done “knowing it all”.

They do love me.  Sometimes out of the blue my teens will say or do something so heartwarming that I just melt with complete love.  A store-bought greeting card with their own personal message.  A message that says, “I love you more than anyone”, or “You are honestly the most awesome mom ever, in fact, I wouldn’t want any other mother”.  I love those moments when we laugh together and know they want to be around me. My children are my life. I would fight for them, I would die for them.

I’d like to think that my parents never had the same gripes about me, but I just know that is not the case.  I was perfect, don’t cha know!

What do your teens do that drive you up the wall?



About Author

Jennifer Regan is the owner/editor-in-chief of Eighty MPH Mom, a family-friendly blog. She is active in Brand Ambassadorships and campaigns, and is active in social media, helping brands promote!


  1. I really love these posts about your teens. My kids are 6 and 5 and I am SCARED TO DEATH of parenting teens, one boy and one girl! Your insights make me laugh and ease my fears some. I know those special and unexpected moments make it worthwhile!

    • 6 and 5 are wonderful ages! FYI – 11 is a terrible age lol, so that is something to look forward to before the teen years. The list could have been much longer, but yeah, teens are tricky. They are really good kids other than these things, but still!

  2. I’m mostly lucky *knock on wood* that my teens have turned out quite well. They clean up after themselves and don’t back talk. They also purchase most of their items with money they earned. My biggest problem right now is with my almost 15 yoa son. He has several extracurricular activities and I don’t mind being his chauffer. But he doesn’t tell me about them until literally the day before or the day of. Like I’m supposed to drop what I’m doing and cater to him.

    • Oh that drives me nuts too! I remember it well – the last minute school supplies, needing to go somewhere, etc. I feel for you!

      It sounds like you have well-rounded teens, and I hope they stay that way. Mine are honestly really good too – no back talking either (we would never allow that!).

  3. Nice article! One thing I wish I had known then that I know now… Don’t save or rescue “every” time. The two I didn’t rescue all the time and let learn by failing (not every time), learned self reliance and appreciation. 🙂

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