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As a mom with a teenager, I understand firsthand the challenges of raising a teenager.

They are often misunderstood because we just don't understand them. As a first-time parent to a teenager, initially, I was not properly equipped with the right knowledge on how to navigate my son's teenage years. He had sort of outgrown his childhood so I couldn't treat him like a child (and he definitely didn't want me to!). Neither was he an adult. It's a weird space to be in.

As much as he was trying to understand, find himself and navigate through the awkwardness of being a teenager, I was trying to do the same.

I used to think that once my son reached his teenage years, I'd be a little bit more relieved from serious parental duties. I mean, as teenagers they are more independent and would require less supervision than a toddler (or so I thought!), but I would soon find out that though all that is true, you would still need to be all in with parenting - with both legs in!

The teenage years are a time of great change and upheaval. Hormones are raging, emotions are heightened, and the pressure to succeed is at an all-time high. As parents, we want to guide our children through this tricky phase and help them emerge as successful, responsible adults.

surprising facts about raising teenagers

Raising a teenager has its own set of ups and downs and here are 8 of the surprising facts about raising a teenager that I wish I had known sooner.

Mistakes, Mishaps and Forgetfulness

I could write a whole book about the mishaps, mistakes, and forgetfulness that my teen seems to make on a daily basis. It's like he lives in a constant whirlwind with so many things going on in his mind, and I'm just here to make sure the mess is contained.

My teenager could forget his own head if it wasn't attached to their body. He forgets his homework, school stuff, phone, house keys, taking out the trash and lately even the keys for the car he's about to drive. He'd kiss me goodbye, and walk out the door to the car, only to come back moments later because he forgot the keys.

Then there are the mistakes and mishaps, and how they have a talent for getting themselves into strange situations. Whether in school or when he's out with friends, I'm also constantly left at the edge of my seat waiting for him to come home just so I'm rest assured that nothing untowardly has happened. My phone is never on silent when he's out just in case he needs to reach me.

I have learned to just be patient, and allow him to make his own mistakes and learn from them. It happens and will happen even to the best of us. But I also remind him that some mistakes have consequences that are so great that they are mistakes not worth making.

I must remind myself that he is learning to handle responsibility and independence and dealing with the consequences of his own decisions so a lot of patience and trust are required here.

Teenagers are expensive!

Let's face it, teenagers can be expensive. Between their insatiable appetite for food, and fashion and their constant need for the latest gadgets, it can feel like you're funding a small country. And that's not even taking into account the cost of their never-ending social lives.

But it's not just the big-ticket items that are expensive. It's the little things too, like the cost of driving them to and from their various activities (hello, gas prices) and the endless supply of toiletries they seem to go through on a weekly basis.

He is expensive, but he's also hilarious, kind, and endlessly entertaining. Plus, I figure investing in him now will pay off in the long run when he's famous and buying me a house on the beach! A parent can dream, right?

Those mood swings

Ah, teenage mood swings. They're like a rollercoaster ride that you never signed up for. One minute your teenager is laughing and joking with you, and the next, they're slamming their bedroom door and blasting angry music. It's like living with a tiny dictator who's constantly changing their mind.

But as frustrating as it can be, we have to remember that mood swings are a normal part of adolescence. It's a time of huge changes, both physically and emotionally, and sometimes that can be overwhelming. So, while we might not love the mood swings, we have to learn to accept them.

We don't always understand them but we can learn to. They may be dealing with stress from school, peer pressure, and other outside factors.

And let's be real, sometimes the mood swings can be pretty entertaining. One minute your teenager is crying over a broken nail, and the next, they're telling you about their plans to take over the world. So, embrace the mood swings, and listen to what they have to say. Don't dismiss their feelings or tell them they're overreacting. Instead, offer support and help them find healthy ways to cope with their emotions.

But then again, mood swings are not something you see in every single teenager. There are outliers, those who are able to self-regulate their own emotions and be on top of things, and there are those who mask their emotions and make it seem that everything is dandy from the outside.

I'm not sure which is scarier, the mood swings that blow up right in your face or the ones that are hidden so well they seem like the perfect teenager when in actual fact there is so much going on internally.

Whatever it is, maintaining an open relationship with your teen is essential regardless of how much pushback you get from them. You try and try.

Mood swings are just part and parcel of growing up. Remember, moms have mood swings too! And dads!

surprising facts about raising teenagers

They are constantly under a lot of pressure

There is no denying that kids today are under a lot of pressure! They've got so much on their plates that sometimes I think they need to grow an extra pair of hands just to handle it all.

The pressure to tick all the societal boxes is simply ridiculous.

First of all, there's the academic pressure. It's like they're expected to be Einstein and Drake all rolled into one. They've got to get straight A's, join every club, and volunteer for every cause under the sun.

Then there's the social media pressure. I mean, I thought acne and braces were bad enough when I was a teenager. But now, with Instagram and TikTok, they've got to worry about looking perfect 24/7.

And let's not forget about the future. These poor kids are worried about finding a job, paying off student loans, and maybe even buying a house someday. It's like they're supposed to have their whole lives figured out before they even get their driver's license.

But despite all the pressure, I'm so proud of my teenager. He's handling it all with grace and humor, with resilience and patience. As a mom, I want to swoop in and take the pressure off. I tell him it's okay if he doesn't get straight As, but that's what he wants. I tell him that everyone has their own timeline and their own journey and he doesn't have to decide what he wants to do with his life before he's 17!

And as a mom, my job is to remind him that he is loved, no matter what.

The Peer Pressure

Teenagers can be so influenced by their peers, that they can start acting and behaving in ways that are out of character. They may adopt new habits, pick up new interests, and even change their entire persona just to fit in with their peers.

It's a fine line to walk, as you want your teenager to be accepted and liked by their friends, but you also want them to maintain their own sense of identity and not lose sight of their values and morals.

I try to have open and honest conversations with my son about the importance of staying true to himself, even if it means not always fitting in with the crowd. I remind him that true friends will accept and appreciate him for who he is, rather than who he is pretending to be.

It's not an easy lesson to learn, but it's an important one that will serve him well in the long run.

surprising facts about raising teenagers

Crazy Nocturnal Habits

Apparently, their teenage brain goes through some major changes that keep them up until the wee hours of the morning.

He'd either be studying, doing homework or playing video games. I'd hear him talking and laughing with his friends online all the way from my room. His laugh is something I live for and being the stalker mom that I am I've often times recorded his laugh on my phone for keep's sake! (is that weird?)

If he's studying or doing his homework, I'd feel obliged to stay up with him. Not that he notices but I feel bad for him for being up so late into the early mornings. I just want to make sure, he's not alone.

He'd come out of his room every now and then and we'd have a good chat for a few minutes before he goes back into his room.

Not only that but staying up till the wee hours also meant there'll be a lot of foraging for food in the middle of the night, so as the doting but tired mom that I am, I'll make sure that there was always a meal for him, even if I have to cook something at midnight so he can have it at 3 in the morning.

It also means I wake up to dirty dishes in the sink! According to him, he avoids washing up because he'll make too much noise and doesn't want to wake me up because of it. He's sweet and sneaky at the same time.

With only a couple of hours of sleep, you'd better believe that I'd still have to wake him up for school because if I left him to his own devices, he'll probably only be up at noon.

Can I do anything about it? I don't know. I'm just hoping he gets into his own rhythm and finds his normal routine. I'm sure it's no fun, having to stay up late and still go to school in the morning. As he struggles to get through this phase, I will be up with him (as long as my eyes will let me) so he won't be alone.

They still need your love, support and attention

Let's face it, teenagers can be a tough crowd to please. They're moody, they're unpredictable, and they're often more interested in their phones than talking to their parents. But despite all of this, teenagers still need the love, support, and attention of their parents, even if they won't admit it.

It's like trying to convince a cat to cuddle with you. They might act like they don't want it, but deep down, they crave that love and attention. And just like a cat, teenagers can be fickle creatures. One minute they're rolling their eyes at you, and the next, they're asking for your help with something.

So, even though it might feel like your teenager doesn't need you anymore, don't be fooled. They might not say it, but they still need your love and support. They may not want to admit it, but they still rely on you for guidance and support. They need someone to talk to when things get tough, and someone to turn to for advice.

So don't be afraid to reach out to them and let them know you're always there for them.

It is truly rewarding

Despite all the challenges that come with raising a teenager, it can also be incredibly rewarding.

Watching my son grow and mature into a young adult has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. He's starting to develop his own opinions and ideas about the world, and it's been amazing to see him become more independent and self-sufficient.

Of course, there are still moments when he needs me to be there for him, but it's been a joy to see him becoming more confident and capable with each passing day.

Being a parent to a teenager isn't easy, but it's a journey that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

So, while there may be times when you want to pull your hair out or run away from home, remember that it's not all bad. Enjoy the good times and cherish the moments you have with your teenager. They won't be teenagers forever, and before you know it, they'll be all grown up and out of the house, arghhhh!

What has surprised you in your journey of raising a teenager?


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