Raising three teens is like riding a roller-coaster that you have both anticipated and feared. You feel like you are ready until the ride starts moving, at which point your mind begins screaming for somebody to let you off, but it is too late. So you close your eyes and hold on tight, terrified, but hoping the exhilaration outweighs the fear.
Mostly, you wonder if anybody will make it out alive.
While I expected some aspects of raising teenagers before my kids reached that milestone, others caught me off-guard. Here are five of the surprises:
1. Boys have mood swings too
I knew that teenage girls were an emotional mess, but I was not expecting my boys’ emotions to be all over the place. Their mood swings are, perhaps, not quite as frequent as you would expect from girls, but no less dramatic. It is not uncommon for stomping, door slamming, eye-rolling, and exaggerated statements of perceived fact (“My life is ruined!”) to be followed by fits of laughter a few minutes later.
For my boys, this excitement started around age 11 or 12. When my oldest went through it, I remember thinking, “What is wrong with you, boy?!?” having no idea that this emotional upheaval was the precursor to teenagehood.
The mood swings got far less frequent in the years that followed. Now that my boys are 16 and 18, the emotional drama is (mostly) a thing of the past.
2. Teens stay up later than I do (so alone time is hard to come by)
I am a morning person through and through, loaded with energy in the morning and drained of it by dinner. When I had little kids, I was religious about their 8:30 bedtime because I NEEDED some time to decompress and relax or I became one cranky mom.
Now that a majority of my kids are teens, my evening relaxation ritual is virtually non-existent. They are often still buried in homework at 8:30.
Until a few years ago, we sent them to their rooms to finish homework if they were still awake at 9:00, which gave Greg and I a little bit of time together before heading to bed. We cannot do that anymore, however, because 95% of their homework requires a computer, which we do not allow in their bedrooms.
Consequently, Greg and I have very little time together without the kids, the TV rarely goes on during the week because there is homework strewn all over the living room at all hours of the night, and I often go to bed before my teens. I do not miss the TV in the slightest, but I do long for uninterrupted time with my husband. So……