13 reasons why having a teenager is not so bad
Are you looking at that heading and wondering what weirdo would say something like that?
Babies and little kids are great … but not teenagers, surely. They’re not cute like little kids. They’re smellier, moodier and more expensive. What’s so great about teenagers?
Well, true enough! But teenagers get a bad rap. True, there are some of them out there that deserve it. But most teens are great – most of the time. We’ve just got to look a little closer than we usually do.
Here are 13 reasons why teenagers are great:
1. They can think
This can be a double-edged sword, but if we can tolerate the occasional values clash, it is amazing to watch the way our children’s ideas and opinions evolve. Seeing the newfound cognitive development and capacity for complex thought is exciting, as are the new discussions you can have about political and other issues.
2. You can leave them on their own
Now, I know some parents are saying, “No way. Last time I did that they trashed the place!”, but that’s unusual. Teenagers are big enough for us to disappear to the shops or work for several hours without us being stressed out about them.
Many teenagers see life as something that’s about to begin. They are full of hope and optimism, envisioning futures of possibility, prosperity, passion, positive relationships and perfect happiness. Too young to be jaded, the optimism of adolescence can be a powerful resilience buffer when things get tough.
4. They’re creative
Sure, a good deal of this creativity revolves around developing clever ways to get out of chores, homework and family functions, but when they channel it towards productive ends, our teenagers can do amazing things. It may not always be directed to what we’d like it to be, but computer geeks, sportspeople, and entrepreneurial teens have done amazing things with their creativity. Think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, Zac Efron and more.
5. They have a more sophisticated sense of humour
Fart jokes are still funny, but it’s interesting to see how their developing brain starts noticing clever ironies and subtle nuance, and an appreciation for satire and black comedy.
6. Physically capable
Teens aren’t dependent on us for everything like younger kids. They can get their own food, wash their own clothes, mow the lawn or clean the car. This doesn’t mean that they WILL – but they CAN, and that’s something to celebrate.
7. They take risks
Teens take risks with relationships when they ask that special someone out. They take risks with school when they try a new subject for the first time. They take risks with work when they follow their passion. Risks are exciting and can often be one of the great things about being a teenager. You know you’re alive!
8. They can babysit
Remember when you used to go out at night? With teenagers, you can start that again. They’re old enough to look after your younger kids.
9. They love people
OK, not all people. But most teenagers LOVE being with people – especially their friends. As a parent it’s great to watch the way our kids develop relationships with others.
10. They’re passionate
Teenagers get pretty passionate about stuff. We may not always agree with their ‘passions’, but it can be great to see them really care about issues – and even get involved with those issues. Teens get into causes.
11. Experiencing new things
Our teenagers are experiencing so many things for the first time. First outings without parents, first kisses, first time driving, first dates … the independence is intoxicating and energising.
Friendship can be intense during adolescence. Our teens are making promises with friends that they’ll always live in the same street, have kids at the same time as their besties and never lose touch.
13. Enthusiasm and zest for life
For most teenagers, life is about fun. Teens get enthusiastic and energetic, and can bound into and out of our homes and lives with more vigour than we can sometimes handle. Being around them can elevate our own enthusiasm for life.
I asked my teenage daughter why teenagers are great. Her response: ‘Cos we just are.
Think back, remember what it was like
The teen years are some of the most terrifying, horrible, and exciting, hopeful years of our lives. It’s a time of mistakes, awkward moments, having no idea but thinking we are omniscient, and having more fun and more drama in a few short years than we may have in any other decade of our lives.
Sure they might dress in ways we find ‘unusual’. Their music might drive us up the wall. But if we walk gently, don’t push too hard, and take every opportunity we can to connect with them, they will amaze us with how awesome they really are, and how much they actually want to be part of our lives.
More teen articles:
- The bumpy transition from childhood to adolescence
- Make-up and guiding your girls as they grow
- Teens and mobile phones
- Top 5 tips for teaching teenagers about money
- Challenges CAN make our teens stronger
- How to raise a phychologically healthy teenager
- Making the transition from primary school to high school
- How to communicate with your teenager
- Helping your teenager with friendship problems
This article was written by Dr. Justin Coulson - child psychologist, parenting speaker and author, and father of 6 daughters.