Terrible Teens? Not Really.

We’ve all heard the term “terrible twos.”  I’ve heard it a billion times since I have four children of my own, the youngest is 2 and a half at the moment.  I can’t tell you how many people have told me over the years, “Oh, I bet you’re hating this stage huh?  Terrible twos!!”  I have to wonder, who coined that phrase anyway and what kind of authority did they hold that has allowed such a statement to carry-on throughout the years?

I also have a teenager and oddly enough, I hear something similar, “Ah!  I bet you hate this stage don’t you?  I feel for you!”  My response is always the same, “Actually, this is my favorite part.”  This may sound odd to some of you but please consider that I work with teenagers for a living.  I love it!  It can be challenging and sometimes I want to wring their neck and ask them what the heck they’re thinking, but I get it –  I get them for the most part.

They’re confused.  A part of them wants to be young again (believe it or not) and they also want to be older.  It’s hard to be stuck in the middle.  They want their parents to talk to them as much as they did when they were little, yet in a more grown-up way, but sometimes they also just want you to listen.  They want closeness and yet need their space.  The unfortunate things is, parents usually only see the latter part.  Teenagers are so afraid of being looked at as childish and immature, or afraid of being rejected, that they only reflect the negative.  I’ve always said that teenagers will walk through a door just to see if you’ll follow them.

I’m asking you, for them, to please walk through that door, whatever that door looks like.  Don’t give up.  Don’t dread this time of their life, or yours.  They need you as never before, but it just looks a little different than it did when they were a bit younger.  But, you can be sure of a couple things:  They still need your hugs and I love you’s, still want to have your ear and hear your voice, and more than anything else in the whole wide world, they want to know you believe in them and will stick it out till the end.

Come on, you can do it!


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