“Just wait until the teenage years!” is something you hear a lot on your parenting journey. But as mother of two Megan Foster discovers, there’s a lot to like about having teenagers in the house. Here are her top 10.
1. Family games become a lot more fun
When children are small, adults often have to handicap themselves to make it fair. This stops when the children reach their teens, as teenagers can provide you with some serious competition, whether you’re playing tennis, cards or Monopoly. They might even beat you occasionally.
2. You can get a ruthlessly honest opinion
About whether your bum looks big in an outfit or if a new hairstyle looks peculiar. Your teenager does want you to look non-embarrassing in public but they won’t hold back with the truth if you ask for their opinion for fear of hurting your feelings. Just be prepared!
3. Teenage boys have man-sized hands and muscles
This is great if you have a jam jar that refuses to open or something heavy to lift. Mums can also get them to fill in as bodyguards if you have to walk somewhere at night.
4. They have grown out of having screaming tantrums in the supermarket
They will still argue with you and get stroppy but at least they have enough poise and self-esteem to avoid loud public meltdowns.
5. Free (or at least very cheap) babysitting
Once your eldest child hits 14, you don’t have to round up the whole posse every time you need to nip down to the dairy for a bottle of milk. You can just leave them all behind – something that they usually survive. Roll on evening walks alone together for couples!
6. They have skills and knowledge that you don’t
Thanks to information gleaned by my teenage son, I have learned a great way to fix a pair of jandals with an old bread tag, for example. Acknowledging and drawing on their skills is also a great way to boost their confidence and responsibility. Often, the skills are technology related, but they could be in other areas, such as an eye for design or the ability to fix bicycles.
7. If you are sick, tired or working hard to meet a deadline, they are capable of producing a tolerable meal for the family
So what if it’s spag bol and salad? To ensure that they can manage it in emergencies, give them some practise now and again.
8. They have a more sophisticated sense of humour
And can sometimes get you laughing with the jokes and one-liners they come up with.
9. Once they’ve got their driver’s licence, they can share the driving on long trips
Okay, you can’t go to sleep in the passenger seat quite yet, but you do get to have a break and they get some good driving experience.
10. They are capable of earning pocket money from an outside source
Whether they’re doing babysitting jobs, doing a paper run or taking a shift at a takeaway outlet, they have their own source of income and are slightly less likely to come to you for cash.