The REAL Survival Guide To Parenting Teenagers (That Doesn’t Involve Killing Anyone)
Set boundaries. Pick your battles. Know when to get close, and when to back off. It will all be over someday, just hope they make it through alive…
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But nobody every gives you any REAL help, like any ACTUAL hands-on, idiot proof advice. Well, not until today anyway…
With that, may I present to you twelve concrete, “these really work, try them” tricks/methods that are guaranteed to help you make it through this game. And believe me, raising teenagers can feel a lot like playing strip poker. It’s only fun if you’ve been drinking…
1. Keep some extra cash in the bank for those times when you need to get away, read: when you think you just MIGHT kill someone. Go far, and go for as long as possible. Go by plane, that way it’s harder for them to track you down. It’s also nice to have a little money saved up for when you just want to reward yourself for getting through a particularly hard day by buying a new pair of shoes or some very expensive jewelry. Diamonds make me breathe better, I don’t know why.
2. Get a gym membership, or have some other physical way of relieving stress. This also comes in handy for combating those very blunt and unintentionally (but sometimes intentionally) hurtful comments like, “Wow, do you ever look old. You are turning into grandma,” Or, “Since when do you have a tire?”
3. Have a sock full of batteries on hand for the times you really need to come out swinging. Just kidding, it’s only supposed to be used as a threat.
4. Invest in a stand alone freezer. This is particularly important if you have boys, or if you have children who play sports or are part of any sort of large social group like Girl Guides or Cadets. When they bring their friends over, you’ll be glad you’ve stocked up on Pizza Pockets, otherwise say goodbye to your steaks.
5. Buy Advil because you WILL get headaches.
6. Have some kind of disinfectant to be used on stinky shoes and/or socks. I find throwing things into the wash with a bit of ammonia or colour-safe bleach seems to help. For unwashable items, baking soda usually does the trick. It’s better than nothing. Your entryway or mudroom will thank you, and so will your guests.
7. Get Gravol because someone WILL throw up at some point, most likely from drinking WAY too much alcohol.
8. Have an old blanket in your car for the reason stated above, and for when you are transporting those people home from parties.
9. Put away the good china until your kids move out. and purchase some plastic dish ware. Teenagers are inexplicably rough on everything – at least mine are – and this will keep you from replacing your dishes every few months. We go through glasses in our house like John Mayer goes through women.
And finally, three things you absolutely MUST have…
10. Condoms - you may not need to use them anymore, but there will probably come a time, when you want to hand a few of these out, of slip a few of these into someone’s purse.
11. A hammer - yes, teenagers ARE that hard to wake up in the morning, especially after they go to bed at 3 o’clock in the morning, which they will routinely start doing around the age of fifteen or so. Don’t you know, Facebook can cause a person to burn through the hours like nobody’s business.
12. Patience – you will need as much of that as you can get. Good luck.
All kidding aside, if I’ve learned one thing in all of my years of parenting, it’s this, and boy, I’ve needed to remind myself of it a LOT lately…
Translation: when they dent up the back of your car from doing donuts in the parking lot, just say, “It’s OK dear, I feel so much more unpretentious driving an old junker.” And then when they FINALLY make their bed, give them a hundred bucks and tell them that you think they are well on their way to becoming the next leader of the free world. As if people wouldn’t know this already…