My teenager sleeps until noon or later on a regular basis. It’s a point of contention in our relationship but I’m learning to let it go because I realized that more sleep = less fighting and I’m all about less eye-rolls these days. Fifteen-and-a-half is kicking my ass 100 times harder than two or four or seven-and-three-quarters, but I can honestly say that sleep and sleep issues have never been an issue for my daughter.
When you have a new baby, people will offer you parenting advice. Some of it will be good; some of it will be bad; and some of it will be straight up bat-shit crazy and involve burying a half a sprouted potato in the most northern corner of your yard under a full moon.
Teens are notoriously hard to talk to, because they're upright hormones fuelled by $7 iced coffee drinks and hair spray. Okay, that's not entirely true, because sometimes they're not upright. I know that when I attempt to have a discussion with my almost-16-year-old daughter, it can quickly spiral into a vortex of door slamming, eye-rolling, and what I must say are some pretty creative curse words. Sometimes she gets upset, as well.
Should you follow your teenager on social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Still no, but with an explanation.
My teenager uses social media. Not all formats — she despises Facebook, as do most teens. The younger set are turning away from it in droves, calling it “their parents meeting place,” which means it's about as cool as moms jeans and white runners. It's as cool as calling shoes "runners." It is not cool at all.
I was born in 1973. Pierre Trudeau was the Prime Minister, a carton of eggs cost 45 cents, and construction began on the CN Tower in Toronto, so future families could travel 114 stories up an elevator to experience being nauseous at 1100 feet.
Life is full of awkward moments. I’ve spent 41 years stringing them together, and there’s been no shortage of material since my oldest child became a teenager. It’s a regular grimace-fest here on a regular basis because anything I do embarrasses and mortifies this teenage child. You too can expect to encounter several awkward moments before your youngest heads off to University or runs away to marry the drummer in a Coldplay cover band.
I hope there’s a lab someplace working on removing colour from produce, because I’m not sure how long we can stave off scurvy here at our house. Despite unlimited access, my teenager hasn't eaten anything of colour in the last six months that a) grew from a seed or b) had roots at some time in its evolution. This "all-white" diet isn't cutting it.
Remember all the stuff we did when we were teenagers? Sometimes I’m amazed I’d made it through those years, and while I was never a kid who actively bought into invincibility clause, my past behaviour certainly indicates that on some level I believed this was true.
The teenage brain is an interesting and scary place. So is Disneyland, but I’m not forced to live with that in my house.
My daughter is 15, and while she is by all accounts a great kid and a model student, she is EXHAUSTING and aging me before my time. My 10-year-old son exhausts me physically, but I can handle that. A good night’s sleep after a day with him and I’m back in fighting form. Nerf bullet sniper attacks and silly putty on fabric surfaces are nothing compared to the emotional and intellectual tangles a teenager provides.
Being a teenager is hard, but being the parent of a teenager is harder.
If you are the parent of a teen, or even if your children are still small, today’s post is for you. One can never prepare enough for the turbulent years ahead, and any morsel of information you can gather now may pay off later.
There are many things I am good at and there are many things I like. These two ideals do not always come together in the middle section of a Venn diagram because life doesn’t work that way and if in your case it does then you probably have no debt, a roof that doesn't need repair, and a full tank of gas in your recently vacuumed minivan. Please take your rescue dog on a 20 km run; there's nothing for you to see here.
I drink. I guess that makes me a “drinker” but not in the “cannot function without it” way, rather the “I enjoy the flavour and it goes well with meals and okay, sometimes it helps me function” way. There is alcohol in this home. Alcohol not currently under lock and key, but out of the way with the exception of what is in my wine glass after 5pm. So far my teenager has shown no desire to drink. I know that by her age — 15 — I had been drunk several times, primarily on homemade Italian wine which flowed like a river in my town.
I've only been the parent to a teenager for a few years, but I was a teenager from ages 13 through 25, so I think I've got a pretty good handle on teens and teenage behaviour. Sure, teenagers today face a unique and different set of challenges than we the previous generation did, but that's how it goes.
How do you feel about your body? Do you want to change it? When I look back at photographs of myself when I was sixteen and seventeen I wonder how I wasn't the most confident person in all the land, because despite whatever I thought then, the clarity that comes in looking back shows how amazing I was. I don't think I would have done anything drastic to change that teenage body if I had the chance, but it seems that many teens now have that option and are taking it.
The other day I stumbled upon a parenting blog while doing a Google search. That blog’s blogroll led me to another blog and then to another blog and then to an afternoon of shaking my head and wondering when we all became so short-sighted. I shook my head for these parents because they have no idea what is coming. It’s not that the content of the blogs was harmful or ignorant — it was just incorrect. But it wasn’t “wearing white after Labour Day” incorrect; it was “striped knee socks with sandals and no pants” incorrect.
She’ll be 15 in a less than a month, so a Friday night party isn’t completely out of the question, nor is it an inappropriate request. But she's not going, and I'm the bad guy here. The kicker? No parents will be in the home.
This morning, my nine-year-old son left to catch his bus and I went outside to clear more of the never-ending %^&*ing snow we're dealing with this year. I can't remember a year when we had such amounts, and as much as I have begun to loathe it, my nine year-old son finds it an absolute joy. He's blown through several sets of ski-quality gloves, two pairs of snow pants, and much of my patience as he's lost more kitchen utensils in the backyard than I can count.
I have a teenage daughter. I’ll pause here for dramatic effect, and although I know you can’t see me, take this time to visualize me hanging my head and practicing deep breathing techniques. She’s a great kid, and while she doesn’t do anything “bad” in the way I did when I was her age, she is exhausting. ALL-CAPS. FULL STOP.
You don’t have to live in Toronto proper to know who Rob Ford is. That my family does live near Toronto, coupled with the fact that we own a television and speak a recognized human language, means even my teenager knows who Rob Ford is, and worse, what he’s done.