I recently engaged in a debate online with other parents about whether they thought the teen years or the toddler years were harder to survive.
Depending on the age of your children, opinions vary, although I think that parents of toddlers who nod and say, "I hear teens are worse" don't really believe anything could be difficult than the perilous parenting of a tippy and tantruming toddler.
Of course, both ages and stages have their challenges, but the general consensus seemed to be that the teens were a little harder to take; mostly because they weren't necessarily so cute anymore and there was this whole bad attitude thing going on. The girls get snippy and the boys get surly; that's what teenagers are made of. But as a mom who has brought up a few toddlers through to their inevitable teenage stage, I know that there can be some great things about having these older kids in the house. So I decided to employ a public relations strategy aimed at the average teenager, and inspire those parents who are currently going through the toddler years, and who might be feeling a little dispirited to learn that it in fact doesn't get any easier.
So, with some positive ink, here are the great qualities today's teenagers have, supported by words from their own brace-laden mouths:
• Budding Independence:
"I can manage my own life, Mom." Pause. "Can you make me a grilled cheese?"
• Critical Thinkers:
"Are you wearing that? Like outside the house? Just asking. Okay then."
"Oh, are you still talking?"
"What is the point of being fat? I mean, just stop eating. There. Done."
"What is the point of a parade? You just stand there and people go by and then it's over."
"That's just your work stuff. I have real work to do. You know, for school. For my future."
"What do you do all day? It's not that important, right?"
"But you'd have to drive me to this party if I didn't borrow the car. So I'm saving you time. What's your time worth anyway? Can you give me some money?"
"Mom. Seriously. Don't worry about your hair. No one is looking at you anyway."
• Mindful of Others, Especially Brothers:
"Someone has to tell him he's an idiot."
• Efficient With Their Time:
"Anyway, I stopped listening 10 minutes ago. What?"
• Advisers :
"Old people go to bed at 10 p.m., Mom"
"Could you buy some good food?"
Like many facets of parenting, it's always beneficial to look on the positive side of things. But try not to take it too far when they're toddlers. We're on to you when say thing like:
• The great thing about the baby waking up at 2 a.m. is that we have quality bonding time together. (HE DOESN'T SLEEP!!!!)
• He's really impossible to feed. Guess he has discerning tastes. (HE WON'T EAT!!!!)
• When he threw that toy at my head I knew he would be a man who knew his own mind. (IF HE ATE AND SLEPT MORE, HE WOULDN'T BE SO FUSSY!!!!)
Personally I embrace the more unpleasant qualities a teenager brings to the (dinner) table, versus his toddler counterpart. Not the least of which, they made writing this article incredibly easy, as I stole all of their lines from them. Now who's showing some attitude? And yes, I'm totally wearing this outside.
When not writing down everything her kids say, Kathy is hard at work on her next book, "I Am So The Boss Of You", due out with McClelland & Stewart, Spring, 2013. Follow Kathy on twitter at www.twitter.com/kathybuckworth, and visit www.kathybuckworth.com.