10 Best Things About Teenagers

I may complain every once in a while about young people and teenagers, but really, I find them interesting.  Really! I had a lot of fun being a teenager and I can only hope they’re having as much fun being young. And that they’ll look back on these years fondly. And that they’re making the most of their wonder years. Because it’s a very unique time in a person’s life. I love meeting and (ever so briefly …..”please go now”) chatting with my daughter’s friends and participating in my daughter’s teen years.


  1. Teenagers keep you young.  In an effort to not totally die of embarrassment should one of their peers accidentally see you in close proximity to them, they do their best to keep you dressed and coiffed  in the hippest possible manner and try to keep you up on music, movie, TV, technological and linguistic trends – taking into account your incredible oldness, of course. And their crazy, innocent, naïve, hopeful view of the world often rubs off on you. So that’s all pretty cool.
  2. Teenagers are so supremely alive. They are just bursting with life and growth and hormones. They have an entire world of possibilities ahead of them — and don’t they know it! The world is their oyster. They still believe absolutely anything can happen. They are invincible. It’s all kind of exciting in a scary, scary way.
  3. Teenagers are so easy to shop for. No more traipsing around Toys R Us for whatever stupid thing is being advertised between bouts of teletubbies. Nope. Now, nothing says I love you, teenager person like cold hard cash. In fact, they want nothing from you except cold, hard cash. (Or ATM gift certificates). Simple.
  4. Teenagers aren’t around much. They have a million social engagements and manage to get to most of them without any parental assistance. So, no more chauffeuring kids around. No more organizing and coordinating play dates. No more hanging around playgrounds while your kids fall off stuff.
  5. When they are around, teenagers mainly just sleep a lot. Most teens need 8-10 hours of sleep a night and are not at their peak until late morning. So, in many ways it’s like having the house to yourself except for that smelly room at the end of the hall that you never dare go into. And the food that keeps mysteriously disappearing from the fridge.
  6. Teenagers are so intense and passionate about everything. The first part of the teenage brain to fully develop is the emotions center. So they can start the morning madly in love with life and everyone in it and by the end the day can be fully prepared to slit their wrists in abject despair. As a parent, it’s best if you can pretend to have no emotions at all, just to balance things out. Teenagers certainly don’t appreciate any displays of anger, worry, sadness or happiness from you. It totally freaks them out. So be mellow. (More about that at #10).
  7. And then again, teenagers can be completely blasé about something you’re sure they’ll be over the moon with glee over. “Hey, XUP Jr., how about we plan a trip to Paris some time this year?” She’s busy texting. And without even missing a keystroke or looking up says, “Why? What’s to do there?”
  8. Teenagers, in short, are very unpredictable. They keep you on your toes. They keep your mind active, thinking of ways to surprise them, shock them, and (my personal favourite) embarrass them.[1]
  9.  And just when you think you’ve pretty much got a handle on this whole teenage thing; just when you think you’ve figured out how to maintain just the right distance from them, and savoir faire around them, they surprise the hell out of you by coming to snuggle up next to you on the sofa and spilling a big, heavy secret. Or crying on your shoulder because of some injustice done to them. Or having a lovely dinner ready when you get home from an extra-long day at work and greeting you with a big hug, calling you “Mummy”.
  10.  Finally, and most importantly, teenagers provide an always available excuse for drinking. Not a day goes by that there isn’t some drama that needs the edge taken off of, and/or some amazing new thing that deserves a bit of celebration. And really, can you ask for more than that from your kids?

[1] The other day, downtown, we ran into “the hottest guy at her school” .  I must admit, for a teenaged boy, he was very cute and very Fonzie cool. However, it was about 92 degrees and he was wearing thick black jeans halfway down his ass with a good 6 inches of his black boxers on display. He and XUP Jr. stop to chat. He’s sweating like a pig in a sauna, complaining about how freakin’ hot it is. XUP Jr. wisely points out that he should have worn something cooler. He says he left the house early and didn’t know it was going to be so hot. I pipe in with, “Well, why don’t you take those jeans off and just wear your boxer shorts?” The poor boy turns beet red XUP Jr.’s eyes almost fall out of their sockets and onto my Birkenstocks with unspoken horror. “Could you just please stop talking now!!” She hisses at me. I reckon my day’s work was done.

23 responses to “10 Best Things About Teenagers

  1. What I remember is everytime we had to go to school with them, they walked way in front of us and off to the side, as if they didn’t even know us…..even tho all the kids and teachers did!

  2. Well, that’s certainly food for thought…

    Because if (or when) I want to start dating again, most women my age would not only would already have kids of their own, but they’d all be TEENS.

    Hmmm…maybe it’s best if I wait another 5-8 years or so, when the kids are in their 20’s and have left for college….

  3. I’m a heavy supporter of #10!
    It’s all the drama – everything is sooooooo dire… I’m trying to survive this one and get her off before the other two start into it 😦

  4. Your embarrassment story was too funny! Boys really have no idea how to dress, particularly these days since they all want to look like hoodlums. (Man I sound old! LOL)

  5. Susan – Ya, it’s an unwritten rule of some sort. It’s best not to try and fight it or figure it out. Just accept and keep in your place.

    Friar – Ummm — this was GOOD stuff about teenagers. Why has it scared you away? One thing you might want to keep in mind – if you wait until these hypothetical women’s kids are all adults, the women you’ll be dating will be pretty damned old by then. Unless you wait a few more years and actually start dating the kids??

    Ian – Yes, as Homer says..”Ah alcohol, the cause of and answer to all of life’s problems” (You should make a t-shirt)

    Hannah – Isn’t it odd how the tighter the girls clothes seem to get, the looser and saggier the boys’ clothes are getting? I wonder what that all means?

    Jazz – No, you don’t NEED an excuse, but it’s always nice when people see you gulping down a drink to shake your head and say, “teenagers”. A knowing look will pop onto their face and they’ll stop thinking you’re just a lush. If you care about stuff like that. (PS: Saying “husbands”, and shaking your head can be equally effective).

  6. My boys, being actually grandchildren who are now my sons, have a bit different rules than what I believe a “normal” son to have. For one thing, they walk with their arms around my shoulders in the school building and all their friends wave and say, “Hi Grandma!”
    However, I loved this post because it reminded me that they are, in deed, just like every other teen. The middle boy told us the other day that he wanted to move somewhere else because “I’m sick of the drama in Brown County.” Husband and I just looked at each other as I went to sweep up the drama that excudes off of middle boy himself. There isn’t any county he can move to that won’t have that drama.

  7. It was tough being a teenager… but there were good days too. Looking back, I probably could have been a better kid in some aspects, but I guess that’s what makes me who I am today.

  8. And they are so smart! I can’t believe all they know. I didn’t realize I was allowed #10 as a response. I’ll be happy to employ that method when my nephew visits this weekend.

  9. hahahahah!!! great post!
    oh MAN, i wish i had some teenagers around here to embarrass – that is a great sport! the closest we have here is a twelve-year-old and he’s still very, very cuddly. he’s also unschooled, though, so he doesn’t have a lot of the complexes that we had to suffer with in the Lord of the Flies re-creation that most of us had to deal with Back in the Olden Days.

    when i was a teenager, i got so annoyed with grown-ups who’d tell me (in the moments of greatest distress) how being a teenager sucked and they wouldn’t relive it for anything. you know, by way of comfort. thanks, y’all. nice to know i have so much to look forward to in the next FOUR FREAKING YEARS which by the way IS EQUALS FOREVER.

    if they’d spelled out some of your pluses there, maybe I could have found something enjoyable to focus on.

    and no, i wouldn’t do it again – but i really wouldn’t do *any* phase of life again. i’m really a one-shot gal that way. the older i am, the mellower and happier i am, and that is worth a lot. but the kids, they’re so fun to provoke sometimes. it’s a sick little hobby of mine, but i can’t help it.

  10. @XUP

    Yeah, but if I start dating the Moms now…in a couple of years, I’ll be expected to help pay for their kids college tuition (that their Dead-beat Dad won’t provide).

    Best wait a few years…till all their kids are grown up and their major expenses are finished with.

    I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of age, for more free time and financial stability.

    Besides, lots of women in their late 40’s are in better shape than when they were young Moms dealing with infants.

  11. I, too, like number 10. But I’m using it early. Having a 6- and 9-year-old often provides an edge that needs taking off.

  12. You really hit the nail on the head. Although my daughter will be 25 in August, I remember every bit of that just like it was yesterday. Truth be told, though, I’m glad it’s all in the past!

  13. “…Well, why don’t you take those jeans off and just wear your boxer shorts?”

    I just about spit coffee all over my keyboard

    That will have me laughing the rest of the day ……


  14. I enjoyed most of DD’s teen years very much. In retrospect, she was actually pretty “easy” for a teenager. She’s probably more angsty these days at 22, since now she’s an adult, but is still a dependent student, so she’s in between two worlds. As for embarrassing her – nope! She tells me that every time I open my mouth, she simply assumes I’m drunk and then whatever I say is just funny and she just laughs at me!

  15. Savanvleck – They thrive on drama. Without the drama it gets really, really boring!

    Chris – Soooo, that’s a good thing, right?

    Lola – They’re smart all right. They know absolutely everything – and better than anyone else! It’s remarkable, really. Good luck with the nephew. Although Aunts are often considered way cooler than parents. Actually, anyone is way cooler than parents –even grandparents.

    Hallie – Embarassing the teenager is almost my favourite hobby these days. It’s so easy – not like knitting or something that actually takes work. I barely have to do anything to embrass her. Sometimes just showing up does it!

    LGS – You might have something there. In some ways I still feel like a teenager, though in many others I feel way, way better.

    Friar – Really? I’d never expect someone to help pay for my kid’s education. I don’t think a lot of women would expect that. However, if that’s the reason you’re not dating it’s probably better that you don’t anyway.

    Alison – As a parent, it behooves you to get plenty of practice in edge off-taking. You don’t want to start cold when they’re 14 or something. I probably should have mentioned that to give unsuspecting parents plenty of lead time. Thanks

    Geewits – I’m sure I’ll be deliriously happy when it’s all over, too, just like I’ve been deliriously happy about every other phase being over so far. Meanwhile, I’m trying to enjoy it like I enjoyed every other phase she’s gone through. I often miss things about that adorable toddler and maybe there will be things I’ll miss about the adorable teenager, too. Who knows. It’s just fun to watch her grow and develop.

    Elliot – Seemed like a perfectly logical solution to me. The boxers were solid enough to pass as perfectly good shorts; the pants were only really suitable for cold weather. But I’m glad you have something to chuckle about.

    Pinklea – Mine is pretty easy as far as being a teen goes. I would hate to have had to raise me, for instance! I’m not sure I’d like my kid assuming I was drunk and laughing at everything I say. What if you want to tell her something serious?

  16. Oh XUP you are hilarious. “What if you wanted to tell her something serious?”
    What adult in the history of the world ever told a teen something serious. You really should go on stage.

  17. Mahhhh gahhhh. I have a lot of catching up to do around here! Posts galore. IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS.

    My favorite kind of people are the kind that quickly go away, so YAY teenagers! I have to ask though: Does one REALLY need an excuse to drink?

  18. I went through the whole thing with Little Bro Dan, except the part about him being embarrassed to be seen with me. I was his Big Brother, after all, not his parent, so I was about a million degrees higher on the coolness scale.
    And you know what? I miss it. I love and adore the young man that he is, but I miss the kid he was at 11, 12, 13 and so on.
    So enjoy the ride. It ends all too soon.

  19. Pinklea – I’m sure she does. Then there’s also the serious “voice” in case they’re not looking directly at you.

    Bandobras – Actually there is a hell of a lot of serious stuff you have to talk to your teen about.

    Lesley – I’ll stop posting for a day or two so you can catch up. And no, I guess you don’t NEED an excuse to drink, but it makes it all so much more socially acceptable and me, I’m all about social acceptability.

    Bob – I know Bob. The years have gone by so fast already and sometimes I wonder who that big person is living in my house with me. And you’re right — pretty much everybody in the world is cooler than the parent. Lucky you!