My baby girl turns 14 today–I can hardly believe it!
Anyways, in honor of Jayme turning 14, I wanted to share 14 reasons that parenting a teenager is awesome. Teens get such a bad rap in today’s society, and I think it’s partially a matter of them becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. We expect them to be bad and rebel, and so they do. It hasn’t always been like this–history is full of teenagers dong amazing things!
Let’s actually expect our teens to act like the humans they are–they rise to meet our expectations pretty well!
I love having a teen. Here’s why…
Parenting a Teenager is Awesome
1. Teens Can Communicate
When I’m listening to Brynna cry and trying to decipher Simon’s two year old talk, I am so thankful for my teen. We discuss the world, TV shows, a Bible passage–anything and everything. I love talking to my teen!
Teens can communicate. They have ideas of their own, and have learned to take in new information. Talk with your teen–stay in the loop and don’t push them away.
2. Teens Can Babysit
It’s such a blessing to be able to hire Jayme to watch some of the kids! She’s old enough to babysit, and is getting some great experience.
And don’t take advantage of your teen. If we’re having her babysit so we can do something fun, we pay. If she’s watching some kids in lieu of working elsewhere on the farm (such as when we’re butchering chickens or moving hay), that’s her family contribution. There’s a difference!
3. Teens Can Play Games
I love board games! Jayme can play all of the games with me. I don’t even have to read her cards for her like I do the younger kids. It’s nice to have some competition!
4. Teens Can Cook–Full Meals!
Jayme loves to cook. Her signature dish is stir-fry. It’s delicious!
She’s also my go to soup fixer, since I don’t usually do a great job seasoning soup. I just let her taste it and she goes to town shaking in a bit of this or some of that.
If it’s a crazy morning, I know Jayme can make oatmeal or whip up a batch of pancakes. So nice!
Teach your kids to cook when they’re young, so they can bless you with full meals when they’re older!
5. Teens Keep Your Mind Sharp
Homeschooling my 8th grader keeps my mind sharp, and I’m sure it’ll be even more so when she enters high school in the fall. I have to remember events from novels, talk about plot, remember how to solve equations, and more. It’s a great way to keep learning!
6. Teens Can Research
If I need to know something, or need a recipe, Jayme’s my go-to girl. She knows her way around Google, and can almost always find just what I need.
I started teaching her web research when she was about 10. We studied web biases, reliability of sources, and what red flags to stay away from. My efforts paid off, and she’s an excellent researcher.
7. Teens Can Help with a Family Business
I hired Jayme to design the logos for my freelance site and my new Tanner Learning site. I’d much rather pay her than someone I don’t know, and it’s excellent experience and confidence booster for her.
Teens can work hard–put them to work for you.
8. Teens Can Read Price Tags
My little kids don’t really understand why they can’t buy the large toy they REALLY want when they have $1.50. Teens–they have this money thing figured out pretty well. I love knowing that Jayme can pick out her own items at the store when she has spending money, and that she accounts for tax and ensures she has enough.
This money sense is an amazing blessing!
9. Teens Are Creative
Jayme’s created so many costumes for the other kids. She decorates cupcakes. She sees our junk pile out back not as junk, but as possibility.
Teens have so many great ideas. We need to let go of the reins a bit, and let them try. Even if they fail, that’s okay. Being willing to try is half the battle.
10. Teens Have a Sense of Humor
I love Jayme’s sense of humor. She’ll throw a movie quote into a conversation where it totally works, and she knows how to break tension. It’s also nice to have someone in the house get my jokes! Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself.
11. Teens Can Clean
Teenagers can help knock off the to-do list quickly. Reward them with a little free time, and you’ll be amazed at how motivated they are to get the house cleaned.
After having chores for several years, Jayme is pretty adept at most cleaning tasks. She can even help her siblings make sure they’re doing it right.
12. Teens Have Their Own Interests
I don’t need to entertain Jayme. Well honestly, I don’t really entertain any of the kids. But Jayme–she always has a list of things she wants to work on. Between her writing, her coding, her drawing, and her Legos, she knows how to spend her free time.
I don’t usually hear “I’m bored!” from the teen.
13. Teens Are Learning to Manage Their Time
I grant Jayme more freedom with her schedule then the other kids have yet. She is learning how to balance have-tos and want-tos, and about personal responsibility.
It’s a wonderful age to share time-management skills that’ll be useful throughout life. I love watching her make her own to-do list, and see how she tweaks things. For instance, she loves using the notepad on her laptop. I’d never do that!
14. Teens Need a Lot of Love
Teens need us just as much as our littles do. They just need us in different ways. They need us to let them spread their wings, but still have up a safety net to catch them if they fall.
They need us to believe in them, to push them, to love them.
Teens need a lot of love. Though I don’t get as many snuggles from my teen as I did when she was little, I know that she needs me now more than ever.
How about you–what do you love about parenting a teenager?