I love teenagers. They are fun, engaging, and flat-out hilarious. But they are weird.
Somehow, I have acquired a houseful of them. I swear, my babies were in preschool yesterday. I tucked them into bed last night with a kiss and a story, but then, mysteriously, I woke up to children with acne and mood swings. I’m not sure where their cute chubby cheeks went, but I want them back!
If we count the 12-year-old, we are up to four teens in our family. And, let me assure you, that 12-year-old has teenager written all over her sweet and sassy face. She counts! And the baby is nine going on sixteen because of attitude alone. Apparently, having four teenage siblings teaches you how to behave like one of them, without the accompanying “maturity,” of course. (Because we all know that teens are the epitome of mature.)
The Sheppard home is a party a minute; I tell you.
While I adore them, there are some things about teenagers that I do not understand.
1. They have forgotten how to talk
I remember being so excited when my kids learned to say actual words. Those words turned into adorable sentences. Eventually, their sentences started to make sense.
Then, they grew into teens and all of that disappeared.
If you ever want some good entertainment, read through your teenager’s text messages. Reading them aloud is even better. The words you will find will not be English, and they will not make a lick of sense. You will wonder what happened to your educated child because they evidently missed a few grammar and spelling lessons.
One of my teenagers recently taught me that, when you want to emphasize a word in a text message, you repeat the last letter of that word several times. Also, you use the word “like” repeatedly. That combination makes you a credible teenage texter.
Being the awesome mom that I am, I thought I would give it a try:
I am pretty much a pro. Also, I do not understand how this is cool. It gives me anxiety and makes me want to scream into my pillow:
“USE YOUR WORDS, SWEET CHILDREN OF MINE! I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU CALL THESE COMBINATIONS OF LETTERS, BUT THEY ARE NOT WORDS!!”
The writer in me cannot handle such things.
2. When they do talk, they have no idea what they are talking about
I do have pretty good relationships with my growing children, but sometimes, they do not like to speak to me. Their answers to my questions are short, curt, and laced with the unspoken, but clearly understood, “Leave me alone.”
When they get home from school, I always ask them how their day was. The answer is automatic, “Good.”
That is all. Just good. (Now please leave me to my phone, Mom. I have much catching up to do with the people whom I just left five minutes ago.)
Frustrated with the lack of information they were giving me, I started following that question up with another question, “What was good about it?”
A few days ago, I asked one of my teens what was good about her day (after she had already told me that it was good). Her response?
“Actually, nothing was good about it. It was a pretty rotten day.”
Well, why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?
Sometimes, you just need to change your questions. Also, you must accept that teenagers often say things they don’t mean, especially when they come from a family that is prone to exaggeration and drama. (But I wouldn’t know about that because my family is perfectly composed and rational at all times. #ornot #saveitforthestage)
3. They forget how to sleep during normal hours
That schedule you have worked hard to establish over the years goes out the window once teenagers roam the halls of your home.
Bedtime? What is that? Must we go to sleep at a reasonable hour?
No. Midnight is when the fun begins.
Teenagers come home from school, eat a meal disguised as a snack because they are STARVING, and fall asleep until dinnertime, or until they must leave for some activity, whichever comes first. If you try to wake them during their afternoon nap, they pretend they have lost their hearing.
Then, after dinner, they want to watch their favorite TV show or waste time on YouTube or Instagram.
“Maybe they do not have homework tonight,” you think.
At 10:00, when you are getting ready for bed, your teenager finally pulls out their backpack and starts studying. “How much homework do you have?” you ask.
“Not too much,” they reply. “Only a couple of hours worth.”
You give up and go to bed. They stay up until after midnight, sleep for a few hours, and wake up at 6:00 am to start another day.
When you suggest that they could, perhaps, come home and do their homework after school instead of napping, allowing them to get to bed at a decent time, they reply, “No way, Mom. I am a night person. I do my best work after everybody else goes to bed.”
I’m sure you do, dearest child. You do you!
Parenting teenagers is not exactly what I expected when I set out on my motherhood journey 19 years ago. It is so much more interesting! It allows me to use my decoding skills, teaches me how to ask questions that get more than one-word answers, and reminds me that I will never be a night person. That mixed with a healthy dose of laughter is a winning combination.
Teens may be weird, but they are also a whole lot of fun!