As of this month, I will have two teenagers in my house. It’s a new world for me, and I thought I would share my advice for those who have kids soon approaching the teen years. 

First, don’t take their death glares and attitude personally. There are hormones running rampant in their growing bodies that they just can’t control. Remember toddler tantrums? These are the same, just much, much bigger. It’s best to just duck and hide until their more pleasant persona returns.

You will never have leftovers again. These kids, boys especially, eat everything in mass quantities. Gone are the days of leftover spaghetti for the next day’s lunch or a container of anything lasting longer than a day. These children will eat you out of house and home. And what they don’t eat they will give to their friends to eat. 

Showers and deodorant are a vital part of the day. Immediately after a shower, my child can stink. And after a day of bike riding, playing sports or just sweating over a math test, the odor is ominous. Throw deodorant and body wash at them and pray for the best.

Tears will still happen. Maybe they’re not crying because they wanted the blue cup but they got the yellow instead, but they are crying. They will cry over a fight with friends, over worldly injustices or because Mom/Dad/the cashier at Target looked at them wrong. It’s best to just let them cry, give them a shoulder and a friendly ear and offer them ice cream or a Snickers. 

And when your teenager actually wants to talk to you, drop what you’re doing and talk. That 5-year-old who said she would never leave your side no longer wants you to even look at her, let alone have a meaningful conversation. So when that teen in your life does want to talk, sit down and chat with them. It might be difficult depending on the topic, but it will be completely worthwhile. 

Teens aren’t that different from toddlers. But what you thought were big emotions from your 3-year-old will be 10 times bigger from your 13-year-old. Prepare yourself – buy extra food, invest in body wash and be ready to either run and hide or give a hug at a moment’s notice.

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