There are many good parts of raising a teen
There is a whole list of things Nico, my fifteen-year-old and I fight about. The topics lately are: what time to go to bed, getting up in the morning, doing treatments and taking his pills that continue to help him win his battle with Cystic Fibrosis , hanging out with friends all day instead of helping around the house, what time to get home from hanging out with friends, sleepovers, letting him drive everywhere we go and growing up faster than I am ready. So far, 13 was a piece of cake compared to 15 and I thought that was a tough age which has me wondering what 16 and 17 will bring.
Admittedly, I complain a lot about this stage. I think it might single-handedly be the reason for my insomnia and my perpetual headache. I went from being confused at what my newborn wanted to knowing what my child wanted to sometimes getting it right and sometimes being way off with my tweens to feeling completely inept with my teen. It’s a tough time to be raising teenagers. This is not the same world we grew up in. They are growing up with an audience. They are front and center making the same mistakes that we had the luxury of learning from in private. Things are happening so much faster than they did when we were young. Our teens are overscheduled, overstressed and sometimes over entitled.
That being said, there are many things I love about my teen. It’s time for me to stop complaining for a little bit (you know, until the next bone-head thing he does) and talk about some of those. Since I have a boy, I can only speak of boy things.
Conversations: I have a talker. I know that is not always the case and it is both a blessing and a curse. Since this is a pro, I’ll focus on the blessing part. When he is confused about something, he comes to me to figure it out. I love that he still thinks I have the answers. I enjoy conversations with Nico because they are more meaningful. He lets me into that mind of his to tell me what he is thinking and sometimes I really feel like he listens and follows what I am saying.
TV: I watch TV with all of my kids but watching it with Nico has become so cool (That’s a great descriptive word, isn’t it?). He watches some of the same shows that I do and I get someone to talk about the show with. Several life lesson discussions come from what we are watching and I love that when I look back after he flies the coop, I’ll have these moments to hold onto.
Babysitting: He is old enough to babysit at night for longer than an hour. Not that he is all that into doing it but he is old enough to. If I leave him home to watch Gia while I am with the other two, Gia loves, loves, loves him and I think it’s probably the only time the two of them get along.
Help: Okay, this is not what you think. He is not the best at helping physically, with anything. He is like a giant toddler constantly complaining about having to do anything but, he is essentially helping us raise the other three. Well, maybe not Gia but definitely the twins. I’m sure they don’t appreciate it when he points out to them not to act a certain way or when he tells them the ways of middle school or high school, but I do. It helps reiterate what we are trying to teach them and helps that it is coming from someone closer to their age. He helps Tommy out with football, basketball and baseball and I am convinced Tommy does well because he has Nico and Leo (and my dad) teaching him what to do. I can tell Belle 100x’s that she needs to stop texting a boy she likes and she’ll only stop when Nico says it’s annoying to get a bunch of texts at the same time from the same person. He probably doesn’t realize that when he messes up, he is helping the others to not do the same thing which is huge in my book. I can only handle some of this stuff once, know what I mean?
Sports: My friends, I am not going to lie. Sports at the teen level are a lot more fun to watch. They are intense which isn’t always “fun” but seeing your kid have the passion he does for the sports he loves, is pretty cool to watch. Gone are the days when your kid is picking weeds in the field or carrying the basketball or running the wrong way on a football field. Gone are the painfully long games where the kids just don’t get it. They are fast paced and there is maturity at this level that makes it easier to watch. Watching your kid melt down on a court or a field is never fun but watching him recover and come back stronger makes you take notice that your kid is growing up.
I am hard on Nico. He’s my first so I know that is to be expected but since I am the first-born, too, I have a special place in my heart for him. I remember what it was like to forge the road ahead for your siblings and sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I really need to take a step back and realize that he is a good kid with a good head on his shoulders. Sometimes it takes another parent to point out when he was respectful or kind to their kid. Sometimes it takes a coach or a teacher to tell me that he is a good kid or how much they enjoy him for me to remember that I enjoy him, too. He’s not all hormones and attitude. Sometimes, like when he had to give me a kiss before every basketball game for good luck, it reminds me that he is still my little guy in a big guy’s body.
Like I said, raising teens is hard work but with a kid like Nico, I’ll admit, it’s not that bad. (Sssh…don’t tell him I said so.)
What about you? What are you enjoying about raising a teen if you have one? If you don’t, what has been your favorite age and why? Let me know in the comments.
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