Teenagers…what can I say…they can totally be a headache and test your patience despite how much we love them. As Martina McBride’s song Teenage Daughters blatantly shares, teenage daughters can be a handful and full of drama. I thought that I was getting off easy with respect to my stepchildren. My husband’s daughter, who he has often referred to as the Drama Queen, was 18 and lived with her mother full time by our wedding date so I did not get to experience any of the female teenage drama…and boy was I glad.
- Girls do not have the market cornered on attitude and drama. Again, I love my son but at about 14,the attitude and drama started and now at almost 16 years old, it is in full blown force. Everything is life ending and dad and mom just don’t understand. According to a marriage and family therapist we know, this apparently is very common and happens regardless of gender…only more pronounced in girls.
- From sharing everything to sharing nothing. About the same time the attitude and drama started, so did the moodiness and silence. My son once would jump in the car and it would be non-stop talking. I remember thinking, “Please come up for air.” Then it slowly morphed into the shrugs, one word answers, and fine. Having a conversation is like pulling teeth on a regular occasion. Even the best open-ended questions that require more than a one word response seem to end up short. Not sure how he does it but they almost always end with one or two words.
- BO…aka Body Odor. I remember a good friend of mine in Mary Kay talking about her teenage boy and how despite body spray, deodorant and multiple showers her son had major BO. I just couldn’t fathom it. That was until my stepson got older. From science I learned that this is just apart of developing hormones and is something that teenagers – boy or girl – can’t help, but that doesn’t change the assault to one’s olfactory senses while its happening…and boy is it challenging. I found a strategically place vent air fresher for the car helps somewhat until they can get home for a shower.
- Brain Function Seems to Cease. I do not know how many friends my husband and I have spoken to that have agreed or made comment to how once their teenage boys became teenagers, their brain function seemed to decrease. I’m reminded of an old Bill Cosby comedy routine where his teenage son says in response to something stupid he did, “I don’t know.” It seems to be a kin to “I forgot.” And both seem to be the main phrases in the teenage boy vocabulary. I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have recently looked at our son and thought to ourselves/said to ourselves, “you have got to be kidding me” to the lack of follow through or brain power. These are not major cognitive leaps we are asking for here…only that if you take trash out, you might then have to finish the task by putting in a new trash bag or remember to shut the fridge after you get something out or some other stupid small thing. I now understand why parents have said comments like “so if your friends jump off a bridge are you going to jump too?” They were dealing with teenage boys who probably did something stupid and the said, “I don’t know.”
- And despite this lack of brain power, they know it all. Apparently despite mom and dad’s decades of experience, my almost 16 year old knows it all. We have nothing of importance to impart to him and EVERYTHING is an argument/debate that he has to win because his is right after all. Perhaps by the time he is 25, mom and dad won’t be as dumb as he thought. For now, assuming its not illegal, unethical, immoral or could cause irreparable damage, we let him make his mistakes and hopefully he will learn from them. After all, facing consequences, whether good, bad or indifferent, is sometimes the only way people truly learn. We can only hope he can live with them.