One day, while shopping with my two small children, an older woman came up to me and said,
“Ahh, how cute, wait until they turn 16,” and walked away. I frowned. How dare she make a cryptic premonition about my kids? Soon, my little darlings turned 16 and I began comparing notes with other parents. Finally, I understood what the mysterious woman meant. Here’s what I learned:
1. Their friends will have more influence than you – Your teen will trade in friends he’s known since grade school for some unknown “loser”. The good news, it won’t last.
2. They need you but dislike you – In their opinion, you’re a clueless old fart. They’re trying to carve out their own independence and you’re in their way. On the other hand, you are useful in a crisis. They need to know if they venture out into the world, they have a soft place to go when the world bites back.
3.Social media- It’s as important as food and air to your teen.
4. They will rebel- They will become little anarchist who hates everything. They will challenge the world, authority, and you.
5. They will get into a car accident or fender bender- This is a scary. The way your teen drives with you is not how they drive with friends or when they’re alone. Teach them what to do in case of an accident. Make sure they keep registration, insurance, and their driver’s license with them at all times.
6. They are sexual – Teenagers have sex. That’s it. Talk to them about birth control and protecting themselves from STD’s.
7. They will not listen to anything you have to say. But, keep talking anyway- The sound of your voice makes them want to gouge their eyes out. But, one glorious day, everything you taught them will resonate.
8.They will be surly and disrespectful.- They will say mean things that will bring you to tears. Stay strong and positive.
9.They will experiment- Sorry to break the news. Most teens will experiment with drugs, alcohol, or both.
10. It’s not over at 18- Jr. graduated from high school and on his way to college and you’re breathing a sigh of relief; not so fast. Be prepared for failed classes, changed majors and oh yeah, he’ll quit his job because he doesn’t believe in “working for the man”, and wants to borrow money.
My daughter is 21 and my son is 18. I don’t have any positive antidotes or words of wisdom to pass on. I’m still in the trenches. But, when I survive it, I’ll let you know.