In Defense of Teenagers, and In Praise of Their Parents

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Teenagers these days! Am I right?

If ever there was a more timeless phrase, I have yet to hear it.

All they want to do is learn dances from Fortnite and post on Twitterbook and use the Snapgram. They don’t even know how to hold a conversation!

I’ve heard it all, but as someone who spends seven hours a day with them, five days a week, I can tell you this is only sort of true. And it is completely normal. Admittedly, I don’t have to live with them, but I’ll get to that later.

Kids these days. They are just being kids. And when they need to be, they will show you how they are curious, inventive, caring, creative, and loyal. Take, for example, my kiddos who will, without hesitation, give a friend their last dollar to buy some Doritos. Or the ones who ask me every Monday how my weekend was. Or the ones who notice when their classmate seems down, and make sure to check in with them and listen or try to cheer them up. Or volunteer to help their classmates learn math concepts or how to use Photoshop, and be patient as they do so. I have kids who will put their phones down for 49 full minutes and talk about current events (they do know about them), ask questions about college/trade school/life after high school, and even to discuss books (!) and not just the ones we’re studying together in class (!!). They are excited to talk about paintballing, rebuilding computers, and even spending time with their grandparents. Sweet, right?

Don’t get me wrong, they can be smelly, annoying, over-emotional, and way too into Call of Duty for me to ever understand. Their parents know this best, for sure.

Parents of teenagers, like all parents, are doing the best they can, and are doing one heck of a job. They have to wake these kids up earlier than anyone wants to be up, endure the hormonal ups and downs that can flip flop in seconds, and try to reason with kids whose brains and bodies are changing so much that even they don’t know how to handle it. These kids generally keep it all together for the 7 hours they are at school, and so when they get home these amazing adults are there to handle the meltdowns, blow-ups, or indifference that the kids can finally express fully. Add to that trying to teach them to be good humans in the few minutes a night they’re not in their rooms, and these parents are superheroes. 

Yeah, teenagers are frustrating when they lock themselves in their rooms, and gross when they wear the same socks for a week, but they are really awesome, too. So instead of being wary of every earbud wearing, sweatshirt clad kid looking down at a phone, take a second and ask how they’re doing, or give them a chance to babysit your kids, or just watch what they do next, and you’ll see them for the interesting people they really are. Oh, and when you see their parents, give them a high five. 

 

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Katie is a St. Louis native, coffee lover, and difference maker. She has a passion for teaching at-risk high schoolers how to find joy in reading and writing. She is a divorced mother of two incredibly strong girls who can be found watching The Voice, eating ice cream, and staying up late reading. Katie and her girls love exploring St. Louis-hiking and playing at local parks, getting away to Pere Marquette, breakfasting at Strange Donuts or The Barn, and learning at all of the museums.