• Fri, Feb 21 - 12:00 pm ET

Parents, Quit Yer Bitchin’ About The Terrible Teens

teenI have this weird impression of parenting that I don’t know how to shake. It seems like everyone is excited for you the moment you conceive—OMG, YAY! Let’s throw a baby shower! Then, once you pop out that little sucker, everyone gives you the side-eye of pity and jokingly asks if you’re getting ANY sleep at night.

After you’ve mastered the baby stage, the cracks about the terrible twos start. If you have the audacity to say, “I’m actually enjoying my nine-month-old baby,” well-meaning friends and family members respond by telling you how terrible the terrible twos will be.

Well, I have news for all of the friendly naysayers. I wasn’t a huge fan of the baby stage, but I absolutely love the terrible twos. Now that my second son is close to a year old and my older son is two, I’m really enjoying my life as a parent. Sure, toddlers are insane and do totally unpredictable things. But I am getting to know my older son’s personality, and I love it.

Now that I have more of a handle on parenting and am surviving the terrible twos, there’s still more doom on the horizon for me. If we talk about having fun with our toddler on social media or among friends, someone, somewhere will inevitably say… JUST WAIT UNTIL HE’S A TEENAGER!

Ugh. As if the smirking about the terrible twos wasn’t bad enough, more experienced parents are always quick to remind you that the terrible teens are right around the corner. If you think you’re having fun now, just wait—they threaten with a cheerful smile on their face.

I’m as bad as the rest of them when it comes to being snarky about parenthood. Sometimes that’s the only thing that will keep you sane. But I don’t want to spend the next 10 years dreading the teenage stage, and I don’t think I have to.

I’m not planning to be best friends with my sons as teenagers because I’m sure they won’t be having it. But I also don’t think I have to be sentenced to years of communicating with my surly teen via text as he listens to emo music on full blast on headphones during family dinner. There’s got to be a better way. Teenagers can be pleasant, at least some of the time. Quit raining on my parade by insisting that the teenage years are going to suck.

(Image: Edyta Pawlowska/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • Lauren_Alli

    I will punch the next person who says “just wait until” to me about ANYTHING in the cooter. For real. There is no phrase that causes my ears to bleed more than that one!!!!!!!!

    • Crusty Socks

      Just wait until you get a plethora of “just wait until” replies.

    • Bethany Ramos

      You are on fire, Crusty!!

    • Kay_Sue

      It took me a moment to translate this in my head, because where I grew up, “cooter” meant turtle, and I had to remember that isn’t the case in most places. :-P

    • echo7341

      Oh god, I can only imagine. the awkwardness that could/would ensue. I’ve never heard of cooter meaning turtle.

    • Paul White

      Pseudemys! They’re really cool. Gregarious baskers, mostly pretty large. 6 or 7 species and a few subspecies. Mostly found in flowing waters but I’ve seen a couple in oxbows and slow moving river bends. They’re so frigging cool.

    • Kay_Sue

      Obviously you have never been to the Cooter Festival, then, I assume. ;)

    • echo7341

      I just had a vision of turtles and vaginas harmoniously coexisting at a fair. It could happen one day.

    • Kay_Sue

      I think it should happen. That sounds awesome.

    • Lauren_Alli

      I had another word in mind, but I didn’t think it was appropriate!

    • Kay_Sue

      Lol! I’m glad you picked that one. It gave me a real giggle. ;)

    • Lauren_Alli

      FWIW, I would never punch a turtle.

    • Kay_Sue

      Good! *wipes sweat from brow* I’m actually fond of the little things.

    • Alexandra

      I know, it’s really annoying! My friends do this cause they’re done with kids and I’m just starting. I’m like, well, we shall see what I go through, I’m sure it will have similarities, but also differences. Plus I get to learn from their mistakes! :)

  • Crusty Socks

    Beth, remember to use disposable chopsticks to pick up crusty socks

    • Megan Zander

      Lolewewewlolol. I had to read this twice to get it but so worth it.

    • Kay_Sue

      <–is investing in a lifetime supply

    • Andrea

      OH GAWD EWWW. I hadn’t even thought about that dreadful possibility. He’s doing he’s own laundry.

    • Crusty Socks

      Separate loads

    • Andrea

      For REALZ!!!!

    • trixieintn

      We have an understanding…I knock first and he picks up his own socks!

  • val97

    Just wait until they go to college/leave the house and you cry because you realize you have no life! Just wait until they get married to some hussy/douche! Just kidding. So far the teenage years have been fine here. The best part about having a teenager is making them do all the things you don’t want to do – mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, putting together ikea furniture. I can’t wait until he can drive so I can send him to the store.

    • ted3553

      Saw this after I made my comment. Driving teenagers are what makes life good again. You don’t have to drive them anymore and they can run errands. I’m dancing a little while thinking about how wonderful it is.

    • Andrea

      Yeah see I am REALLY looking forward to that and I feel like I am not seeing the big picture because most of my friends are TERRIFIED of their kids driving. But I think it will be great! Expensive (have you priced insurance for teen boys?? OMG…), but great!!

    • val97

      I can’t wait to give him my 15 year old honda and get some new amazing mid-life crisis vehicle for myself.

    • BubbleePOP

      LMAO!! That is so true!! I used to tell my children they were cheap labor.. until they got to high school… then they became VERY expensive labor!

  • echo7341

    I am simply amazed by the man-holding-a-baby-and-catching-a-toddler-falling-backwards-out- of-a-swing GIF. I have watched it over and over. That should win an award or something. Someday, I would like to be that cool.

  • Crusty Socks
  • Angela

    When I was a new mom I actually felt the opposite. I felt like everyone was gushing about how wonderful babies and motherhood are. I felt like I had to seem like I was just so blissed out by the experience despite the fact that my nipples were bleeding and I hadn’t slept in days.

    And while I do think it’s obnoxious for people to try to burst your bubble with warnings of “Just wait!” it bugs me even more when they use it to minimize your current struggles. I mean I get that the teen years are a difficult time for many parents but that doesn’t mean I can’t get upset about my toddler smearing my kitchen with peanut butter or worried about my sick baby that’s been vomiting all night because it will be SO MUCH WORSE down the road.

    • BubbleePOP

      I agree! We women tend to sabotage each other more often than we support one another…

  • Paul White

    why dread something I can’t prevent?

  • Brittany Anne

    Oh my God, that last gif. My mother IS that dinosaur.

    “ROAAARRRRRRR ENJOY YOUR BABY NOW BECAUSE SOMEDAY HE’LL HATE YOU”

  • ted3553

    teenagers are horrible people until they can drive and then they become slaves- which is the best.

  • BubbleePOP

    I am a mom of three teens… 13, 15, and 17. So far…so good. My teens can be surly at times ( but then again so can I!) For the most part though, I find them to be amusing and fun.

    I’ve seen Mom’s “hanging” with their teens and brag abouthow wonderful it is… then I hear the teen totally disrespect that mom. I’ve seen mom’s who are so parental that the teen has no relationship with their parent. It’s a broad spectrum but the bottom line is the teen year’s are whatever you make them.. so if you love the toddler stage… and then the school age… I see no reason for you to not enjoy the teen years… My best advice… keep ‘em talking to you… know their friends… stay involved in their lives but keep your distance from their interactions…

    • Bethany Ramos

      THANK YOU!

  • BubbleePOP

    One last piece of (unsolicited) advice… Don’t save for college… save for therapy.. because it’s all your fault! (with me as a mom.. my kids are definitely going to need years of it!)

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Some people are just miserable and won’t stop until everyone else is also miserable.

  • Andrea

    Don’t dread it, but seriously DO enjoy it now. I didn’t like the baby/toddler stage and wasn’t really looking forward to the teen stage, but I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED the elementary school years! Those are the years where they are fun and interesting and still want to be with you, but at the same time you are done wiping ass and they can get their own breakfast on weekends. I LOVE it.
    Right now, mine are 11 and 13 and while I am doing OK (most days) there are certainly challenges.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    awww, see, I love having a teenager, he is my best pal.

    • Bethany Ramos

      That makes me SO happy. :)

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I think that’s totally true. You are snarky. Teenagers are snarky and hilarious, and if you’re like that, they love you. Which is why Eve gets along with them. That’s why I like to teach them; they’re my favorite age. The more sarcastic you are, the better you will get along with them.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Great to hear! Then it is a win for me haha. I really love to hear that you like to teach them too because seriously, I hear so much bad stuff about teens in general. I had a great time as a teen and would have loved to hang out with my parents more, but that’s just me. :)

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Honestly, they are the most amazing people. And even though I am frustrated by them frequently, I feel privileged to get to be a part of their lives for a little while. And I laugh my ass off at least once a day because they can come up with some b.s.

  • Melissa T

    I always thought the terrible two’s were a misnomer. The three’s were WAY WORSE. ;) ;) ;)

    Physiologically AND psychologically speaking, adolescence is basically Second Toddlerhood. Like Second Breakfast but with less delicious food. So my theory is, if you get the hang of toddlerhood, you will ace the teenager thing. Sounds like you’ve got it in the bag. :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thanks! I just want to have a little something to look forward to. :)

    • Melissa T.

      Everyone told me how awful the middle school years would be, but I am here to tell you they are lying. :D I LOVE my middle schooler! I think some people just make shit up to scare parents for no good reason. Every season of childhood has its challenges, but it also has its blessings. So suck it, everyone who said middle school girls are the worst. <3

    • Bethany Ramos

      Aw, so sweet!

    • SDM14

      I know you’re joking, but I need to vent about this grandma I met at our Early Years Centre. She asked about my two-year-old and I basically said she was a great kid and I loved this stage. “I hate to tell you,” she says, “but three is WAY worse than two.”
      Ugh.
      1) You clearly DON’T hate to tell me because you’re relishing this moment right now.
      2) I just said I love this stage, so if the next is worse, it will be slightly less awesome? I guess?
      3) She said this in front of her three-year-old granddaughter.
      I get super annoyed about these people. Rant complete.

  • Crusty Socks

    IHTM: I have a featured comment!!!

  • NeedsImprovement

    As a teacher of teens, I’m not really sure that I can reassure you of much. I can tell you that students tend to treat their female teachers in much the same way they treat their mothers, which is with a ton of backtalk and misbehavior.

    • BubbleePOP

      I’ll agree that I see that a lot from SOME children… (although I wouldn’t limit it to girls) but for the most part… the teen girls I’ve encountered through my daughters and my volunteer activities… it’s been a positive experience. do I see some cattiness? Of course! But I see that in adults too!!

  • Ddaisy

    When I worked at a hotel, I had a real love/hate relationship with teenagers. Some of them were whiny entitled assholes who spent the entire weekend dreaming up new messes for housekeeping to clean and new rackets for me to shush.

    But some of them were the very coolest customers, and they’d come hang out at the desk with me like we were instant BFFs and tell me all about their lives. It was creepy when middle-aged men did that, but really endearing when the teens did it. Teenagers are just really interesting and hilarious people.

  • Jana

    I have to fully accept that they are separating from me and are itching to launch their own lives in every way. That includes realizing that my own teenage sons don’t want me to give them a hug, or at least that’s the way they act. Accept that they will break your heart and then leave. If they can leave, then you’ve done your job. The ones who bitch about the chores (me) are the ones who will grieve the most when the kids are finally gone.

  • trixieintn

    I would much rather have my sometimes surly and emotional teenager than the whiny little snot he was during the elementary school years. Baby and toddlerhood rocked even with all of the associated stickiness and he can be quite clever and hold an interesting conversation now but from about 2nd-6th grades? No thanks.

  • Sarah Penny

    I’m a teenager – honestly, it’s not that bad. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, but I talk to both of my parents multiple times a day, there’s only 1 TV show I don’t watch with my dad or mom, I read the NYTimes, etc, etc. I am kind of a slob and I admittedly procrastinate all the time. Also I agree that Eve appeals to teens because she is snarky. I love the snark.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thanks for the input! Makes me feel better. And thanks for reading. :)

  • gammachris

    The only real problem I’m having with my 17yo daughter is her room. I don’t go in there anymore, as I’m getting to an age where I’m at risk of breaking a hip in there. True story.

  • wbriyanna

    Hi! Long time reader, first time commenting! So in all honesty I was kind of a pain in the ass as a teenager, not in the “I’m going to sneak out and do ALL THE DRUGS” sense, but I usually talked back and didn’t like spending time with my parents, but the closer I grew to graduating high school I got a lot closer with my mom (not as much my dad but I did stop being douchey to him) and now my mom and I talk all the time, whenever I’m home from school I live with them and hang out with them and just genuinely enjoy being around my parents. I was the exact opposite in high school so just in case is does get worse (through no honest fault of your own, my parents were great in high school I was just kind of a dick) know that it will get better. Love your articles and this site!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Aww thank you so much for commenting and reading!! I will remember this during the “dick” years haha. Great POV. :)

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