Teenagers need a PR makeover. They have a bit of a bad rap. While adolescence is undoubtedly full of craziness, there are many things to love about teens. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, here are 14 of my favorite things.
Teens can be hilarious. And their laughter is the best. We recently hosted 14 high school seniors for dinner in our basement before a school dance and hearing them crack each other up was delightful.
Between school, jobs, extracurriculars, volunteering, friends, and more, there are a lot of demands on their time and they so often rise to the challenge. They particularly have a lot of energy on the weekend for social activities. Do not, however, expect to see that energy right after you’ve asked them to do chores.
- Unique Perspective
The saying “through the eyes of babes” could be retooled to be “through the eyes of teens” and it would still be very true. Our kids perceptions of the world can be insightful, thought provoking or just comical (see #1).
- Excitement and Hope for the Future
Whether it’s college, trade school, the military or their first job, many teens are chomping at the bit to be in the world. They are fired up to see what the future holds for them and that enthusiasm can be contagious.
- Peeks into the Past
As much as teens think they are ready to be adults, as parents we catch glimpses of the tiny creatures they used to be, ones who were completely dependent on us. Whether it’s a particular mannerism, how they sleep or an expression that crosses their face and then disappears, those reminders can simultaneously both fill and break our parental hearts.
- Ability to Learn
Kids are sponges. That’s true when they’re little and still true as they get older. Whether it’s learning how to drive or a new piece of music or studying for a test, they are constantly taking on new information.
- Desire to See the World
Teens can be great travelers. They are excited to visit new places and traveling together can be awesome. (Need ideas? Check out these trips to take with teens.)
- Ability to Run to the Store
You’ve seen that meme that says the second part of your life begins when your kid has a drivers license and can pick up something you forgot at the grocery? It’s true.
- Digital Natives
Dealing with technology is a layer of parenting that our parents didn’t have to address like we do, but it also means that we have other ways of connecting with our kids and connecting them with the world, and that can be pretty cool.
- Always Changing
Don’t like your teen’s mood? Chances are it will change. Teens are ever evolving and that means their mood, their interests, their brain, their bodies – it’s all in a state of flux. While this is undoubtedly exhausting, it’s also a bit reassuring to know on the bad days that it won’t be like this forever.
- Independence = Time for You
When they are able to do more themselves, you are able to do more for yourself. Given that teens require a great deal of parental energy, take advantage.
- Teens Keep You Current
From the latest slang terms to performers at the Grammys, teens can help keep you up on the latest trends.
- They Will Always Be Our Babies
Doesn’t matter how tall they grow or where they go, they will always be our babies. As Toni Morrison wrote in Beloved, ““Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing.”
- They Love Us, Too.
Teens may not always express their love and appreciation (though it is magical when they do), know that you will always have a special place in their hearts.
Hug your kids and have a very happy Valentine’s Day!
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