There seems to be a regular complaint I am hearing from moms whose kids are newly entering their teenage years and it goes something like this…”NO ONE WARNED ME!” I’m here to tell you that yes, you were warned. You just didn’t listen. In your defense, you were so caught up in the day to day business of tiny ones and toddlers that you were sure, JUST SURE, that nothing could be more exhausting than that and so you turned a deaf ear. Then, out of nowhere, BAM! Those little people have grown and you are amazed at the difficulty level you are encountering.

But fear not! There are some universal truths that apply to all teenagers and it isn’t too late to acquaint yourself with them. Also, it will make you feel better to know that your kid is not alone in these things, not weird… well, actually they are weird, all of them, so take comfort in that too.


Look, learning new things is hard and you were probably a crap driver at 16 too. Ask your Mom, she will tell you. Getting in a car with them is like getting onto one of those roller coasters where they suspend you by your earlobes and send you spinning through at least 42 loops and inversions, only probably way less safe than that, because roller coasters have better regulations. They will hit things. Every one of them will hit something. When it happens and Junior takes our your neighbors mailbox, rather than getting angry drop to your knees in gratitude that it wasn’t your neighbor or his dog they hit instead.


They smell like BO or Axe body spray or some crazy BananaSMoresCherryBlossomHawaiianSunsetVanillaCitrusBonfire shit from Bath and Body Works. More likely, they smell like BO AND Axe body spray AND BananaSMoresCherryBlossomHawaiianSunsetVanillaCitrusBonfire all at the same time. And Taco Bell. Fucking Taco Bell. They reek. Febreze cannot fix this level of stench and it will take years to go away.


Oh, I can hear you now… Oh Hell NO! This cannot possibly be true. It is. There is this wonderful and tricky little lull between 8-13 or so where you can see them applying logic and working things out for themselves and you will be tempted to think it’s so cute and evidence of your superior parenting that you have a child that can think things through, etc. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. It’s all going to fly right out the window with the hormone rush of puberty. You will stare at them, swearing they know better, but they don’t.


The same person how can solve for the circumference of a 4D trapezoid using letters and numbers and formulas like xp-q14(4-y*17p) will look you straight in the face and ask you if the cups go in the dishwasher right side up or upside down. They will be dead serious when they do this. There are GAPS! Grand Canyon-sized gaps that will stun you because even if you never specifically taught them this it should be obvious. It is not.


I cannot emphasize this enough to you. I know, your toddler gets hysterical if you won’t let him eat rocks, but did you know you can completely ruin your teenager’s ENTIRE LIFE by saying “Good morning sweetheart.” Makes the toddler look like the logical one, right? (see #3)


This one is more difficult to swallow than some. Your littles likely think you hung the moon, or at least if you give them some random, crazy explanation of how the moon got hung, they will believe it. Because you know everything. As teenagers they are pretty sure you are so inept, so ridiculous, that you know NOTHING. Not one damn thing, including what you are making for dinner, because “It doesn’t smell like spaghetti.”

So from those of us who have come before you, take comfort. This too shall pass. It may be a while, but it will pass. For those of you still coming up through the ranks, consider this fair warning.





Melissa Coble is a mom living in Phoenix, Arizona just trying to survive the teenage years with a lot of laughs, an occasional rant, and copious amounts of wine. You can find her counting the days until her nest is empty on her blog An Unfit Parent and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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