What to Expect during the Teenage Years: The Book I Need

What to Expect during the Teenage Years: The Book I Need

A number of my coworkers either have or are expecting babies.  Though I try not to emit too many maternal vibes while I’m at work lest they forget that I am a hard-nosed manager, the pictures of my four offspring in my workspace give away my secret.  Due to what is assumed to be my vast knowledge of child rearing, I am often asked baby-related questions that I can’t answer.  Why?  Because my kids are now teenagers.  Who can remember way back when they were babies?  Who really wants to?

Just this week, one dad came by my desk specifically to ask me whether any of my kids ever hated taking baths as his 18-month old has recently started screaming when submerged.  I don’t know- maybe?  Have they exhausted all forms of bribery?  That sounds like the most obvious idea to me.  I have enough trouble getting my teenage son to bathe.  Everyone thinks babies are cute, even if they smell a little funny.  Not so of 16-year old boys.

This morning, a dad-to-be asked me when he could expect his (still unborn) baby to start sleeping through the night.  Good lord, with one kid it was seven weeks, with another I was sleeping on the floor next to her crib at four months listening to the pediatrician’s voice in my head saying that I should just let her cry herself to sleep.  Current sleep concerns are more along the lines of whether the kids will wake to their alarm clocks on school mornings- they seem to all be programmed at a pitch that teen ears cannot hear.  And I still have trouble getting them to go to bed at a decent hour, so I don’t want to worry about newborn problems.

Is there a “What to Expect during the Teenage Years” book?  Here are some truly relevant questions that I need answered stat:

  • How can I motivate my son to care about his Spanish grade when I admittedly have never used my own Spanish education?
  • How much can I still discipline my oldest daughter now that she’s away at college (but currently home for break and verrrry bored)?
  • How can I compel my younger three kids to wear their rubber bands and head gear when they don’t seem to care that they may otherwise have their braces on forever?
  • How can I pump some protein into my eighth grader who declared herself a vegetarian six months ago?
  • How can I stop wondering what my college daughter is doing with her abundant free time while away at school?
  • Are the shows on MTV causing a significant reduction in the intelligence of all four kids?
  • How can I get someone to tell me what to buy at Jewel so they’ll stop complaining that there’s nothing to put in their lunches?
  • How can I teach them that farting isn’t funny, particularly for teenagers at the dinner table or when sitting on a sibling?
  • How can I teach them to notice when the car needs gas before it’s an emergency?

And these are all questions just from this week.  Imagine how many there are over the course of an entire month (although the themes tend to repeat).

By the way, I just checked Amazon to see whether such a book already does exist.  It doesn’t, but there are loads of books about navigating the teenage years, none of which I will read.  It’s easier just to keep worrying and yelling.

Filed under: Parenting


Leave a comment
  • Ha! Love this. I have those same questions - and also won't read any of those books. The answers were much more simplistic when they were babies. Try this, this and this. One of them will work.
    I'm also in the world of people having babies (I have a four year old and teenagers) Preschool is a nightmare for me. When they talk about their problems, I want to say, "You think that's a problem? Just wait."

  • In reply to kirby:

    It's a WHOLE different kind of parenting, isn't it? I just hope I don't screw it up too much before I figure it out!

  • fb_avatar

    Anne- love to read your blog and find comfort in your thoughts and words. I am starting week 2 of my 28 week venture in single parenthood. IT SUCKS!

  • In reply to Kristin Janssen:

    Kris, you'll find your rhythm, although it may take a few weeks. The things that rattle me are the unexpected: sick dog, sick kid, important work meeting late in the day. The boys will step up too. Let me know if you need a pep talk. :)

Leave a comment