Ten Things to Love about Teens

teens, adolescence, raising teens

I always wondered what life would be like once our three similar aged older children hit adolescence.  Would all hell break loose, or would things stay as wonderful as they always had been during their childhood?  The hormones hit once they turned ten or so.  And things did change.  For a while it was chaos.  The three easy-going children who I’ve had the privilege of spending each day of their lives with, suddenly became a little changeable.  They were as confused as we were, and lamented frequently their desire to be a child once more.

But we knew this would never be so.  Their childhood was now behind them and as their parents we needed to help them navigate the hormone infested waters of adolescence.  I wasn’t certain I was entirely ready for this.  After all I  had only given birth to them a few short years ago and to be honest it felt like I had only just left my own adolescence behind.  The first few months were hard.  Not because the children were terrible but because it was a change which took time to come to terms with.  Before adolescence, my love was enough.  Now it wasn’t.  There were many things which suddenly mattered to them waaaay more than they had previously.  My job changed as I attempted to help them understand their roller-coaster moods, explain feelings they had never  before experienced and be there for them to talk to whenever needed.

Today is the eve of my twins’ thirteenth birthday.  Tomorrow Gary and I will be the proud parents of three teens.  All thirteen.  I wanted to write this post because, honestly, there is so little out there written about teens which is positive and teens have a huge amount going for them!  I am thoroughly enjoying this age and stage.  Yes, there are difficulties but there is also much to recommend them.  So here is a list of my favourite aspects of having teens in the house.

  1. I love that they are so opinionated.  About everything.  Even things they know little about.  I love listening to their thoughts.  I love seeing them develop their train of thought.  I particularly love listening to the three of them discussing some important issue.  Iron sharpening iron.  I love that I may be their teacher but I have much to learn from them.  I love that they still ask my opinion.  I give it honestly, but always tell them to go and think about what I’ve said and make their own minds up.  I treasure my thinking teens.  I love the fact they have strong opinions and I’m fine about them differing from mine.  So long as they are talking, I will be listening.  Our school which has always been so hands on, activity based, is now becoming far less hands on and much more discussion based.  It is a complete honour to hear their thoughts.  Teens speak without the restrictions of adult societal etiquette.  They are not afraid of their opinions and I LOVE it.
  2. I love the friendships which are developing between all three.  For the first decade of their lives the children adored each other.  They were my three musketeers and each day was one big adventure.  And then hormones hit and each of them developed their own individuality.  This meant sometimes they would grate on each other’s nerves.  We took a particularly strong stance against this, not allowing bickering of any kind.  To be honest, we weren’t sure it would have any effect, but over the past nine months I have watched their former relationships blossom once more.  They have so much fun together – singing, discussing, teasing, joking around.  It is lovely to see.  Don’t get me wrong, all is not perfect but it is pretty darn good!  Nothing warms my heart more than seeing their developing friendships.  I can already see them all going out in a group, having the same friends and enjoying their teen years together in much the same way as they enjoyed their childhood.
  3. I love watching their faith become their own.  We have brought our children up to be Christian, but we have always made it clear that the decision would be their own to make whenever the time was right.  It has been a true joy to see my son wrestle with and then own his own faith.  Watching him move forward in and mature in this area is pretty incredible.  He is asking hard questions, listening to answers he may not like but still he takes on board and thinks them through.  My daughters are slightly younger but I can see their faith maturing and a freedom coming in their worship.  It is very special and a huge privilege.  I now understand far more than I ever have about why God gives us choice.  A relationship formed through choice is way more beautiful than one formed by coercion.  I don’t know what the future holds but I am thoroughly enjoying watching it happen.
  4. I love that they rename everything to suit their own purposes.  For example, we don’t allow bickering but the twins have found a way around this by renaming it ‘disagrinning’, which means they are disagreeing with a grin.  For me, so long as it is all happening with a smile and not any kind of nastiness then I am happy.  Just recently they have informed me that they do not answer back, actually what they are doing is ‘politely correcting me’.  If they think I am wrong, they tell me.  But they warn me beforehand that they will be politely correcting me.  I just grin.
  5. I love the fact that they begin to realise we, their parents, are not perfect.  Yes, I really did just write that.  Perfection is exhausting to maintain.  I never really bothered, being of the lazy persuasion.  But it is still gratifying that they now see my faults for what they are and still love me.  It is so healthy, I think, for teens to see their parents struggling, asking for help, even crying on occasion.  There is a bond which comes when a family group is stripped of their pretenses.  Once facades are dropped, members can get on with the business of loving and supporting each other, faults and all.  My children know I am as confused about stuff as they are.  I have never parented teens before.  Gary and I are learning as we go along.  But we are in this together, adults and teens, muddling through in the best way we know how.  My children know they will never get perfection from me, but they also know they will always get my imperfect best.  And that, thank goodness, is enough.
  6. I love the fact that their knowledge has surpassed mine in so many areas, particularly electronically.  I think I am the cause of much of my son’s amusement in his life.  He is the one I call on to fix my phone, or sort out some problem with my blog.  Granted, it is not difficult to be more knowledgeable than I in this area, given how absolutely clueless I am, but I can see his chest puffing out as he helps me.  Teens need to be needed and we genuinely do need ours on so many levels.
  7. I am loving watching their metamorphosis.  It was a bit of a shock to the system three years ago when the hormones and growth spurts first hit.  My gorgeous three older children, almost over night, turned from sweet, easy-going cherubs to creatures I barely recognised.  It seems to me there is an awkward phase before the child will re-emerge with a beauty which would have seemed impossible just a few short months beforehand.  Much like the chrysalis stage of the caterpillar’s journey to a butterfly, adolescence seems the least attractive stage, and yet it is in this stage that the most growth and change is happening.  Our adolescents often just need time.  Time to come to terms with those changes; time to let the rest of the body catch up with their long flailing limbs; time to understand that this stage shall too pass; time to begin enjoying their new bodies, new minds and new independence.  One day, before you know it, these awkward adolescents will change into the most incredible teens, ready to take on the world on their own terms.  And that is one of the greatest privileges to observe.
  8. Which brings me to the next thing I love about my teens.  I love how teens begin to take ownership of their own lives and their own futures.  Over the past couple of years, T has gradually taken more and more responsibility for his life.  In our house, the more responsible a child shows they are, the more freedoms they obtain.  T is almost 100% in charge of his own life.  He has shown me time and time again that he is ready for this.  I love watching the happiness which comes with this season.  I understand it is sometimes hard to let go, but there is much growth which comes from trusting your teen.  This doesn’t mean they will always choose the right course of action, but I believe trust shows them they can try and fail in a save environment.  I want to bring up children who will become fearless adults.  I love watching T spread his wings, flapping them and strengthening them for the time he will need to fly off and discover the story of his own life.  We have also given the girls much more freedom in their school choices which has allowed them to become more authentically themselves.  I can see this particularly with C who is so enjoying being immersed in literature all day long.
  9. I love the change in our relationships from mother and child to mentor and mentee, and best of all to friends.  They choose how they spend their time and I am always so pleased when they choose to spend it with their family.  My eldest twin seeks me out each Sunday night whilst her siblings are at church with Daddy.  We spend time chatting, drawing, chatting and painting.  We learn more about each other and become better friends for it.  I love that my son when he wishes to talk he closes the hallway door and lies on the floor next to my computer and we chat.  It’s important stuff, even when it’s not.  But this works both ways.  I also share with them.  I ask for their opinions, their views and sometimes their advice.  It is a wonderful transition and I LOVE it.
  10. I couldn’t finish this list without including the sheer amount of teasing which goes on in this household.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It is my newest hobby!  There is nothing more gratifying that teasing my teen!  Especially if that teasing causes embarrassment of some sort in said teen.  I try not to go over the invisible line of what is acceptable and what is not, but I sail waaay too close sometimes!  Of course, if I am to tease them I also have to willing to be teased.  Being of a fairly robust constitution I am happy to be teased about almost anything.  I love to tease my teens and I love to be teased by my teens.  Happy, happy sigh….

What do you love about your teens?

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  1. I love reading positive posts about teens! It’s so encouraging to hear about parents enjoying this age, rather than dreading it. I still have a few more years to go before my eldest reaches this stage, but I hope our experience will be similar to yours.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I’m so pleased you were able to comment because I love receiving comments and getting to know my readers a little bit. Thank you for reading along and for your encouraging comment!

  2. Those are all fantastic things to love. My teens are going through a phase of providing me with a fresh growth of gray hair – we’ve entered the power struggle, as they assert more and more independence, preparing to – but not quite ready – to take flight. It’s excruciatingly difficult, but beautiful to watch at the same time.

    1. I’m so sorry it is hard at the moment. I imagine the times when we have to let go as parents are the hardest 🙁
      We haven’t got to that stage yet, but we will….
      I will be praying it eases a little for you ((hugs))

  3. I love that I am able to share things with them that I have been waiting to share since they were born… Like movies that aren’t animated and books that have more than 100 pages… I like that we can have real conversations about heavy topics and that they can present a well thought out contributions… I like that they are can cook, do laundry, build things, and work hard with an understanding that they are contributing to something outside of themselves… In short, I love watching them become who God created them to be. It goes beyond any *job* I’ve done and speaks of who they are in the fabric of there souls <3 It's humbling and crazy all at the same time – I'm just glad I get to be apart of it at all. I won't even mention how much growing up I do myself through it all… Sometimes I wonder who is learning/growing more 😉 Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  4. It is so nice to hear good things said about teenagers. If we let teenagers know that we expect nothing good from them, then we will get nothing good from them. Sometimes it seems to me that modern society sees childhood as one long string of challenging “phases”.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. When our three eldest were babies (and they were, thank God, easy babies), I was told repeatedly to wait for the terrible twos, then the terrifying threes and the ferocious fours…..
      I have enjoyed every single age, challenges and all 🙂

  5. I thought it seemed a bit odd that Tiger (11) is becoming so difficult these days, not that he was ever an easy-going child to begin with, so it’s useful to know that the hormonal changes start around 10 years old. I’m not really looking forward to the teen years here since it’ll be akin to all hell breaking loose… It’s heartwarming to read about how your teens are growing so close to one another. You and Gary must be doing a very good job guiding them!

    1. You may find the teens are the easiest stage. My mum found me incredibly difficult until I turned about 13, after which I became a veritable angel!!
      My guys had always been so placid and easygoing the hormones were a bit of a shock to the system. But soon it became our new norm and we all cope swimmingly these days, although Gary is intent on building a man shed at the bottom of the garden for T and him to hide out in once the two youngest hit adolescence – five hormonal women in the house is more than even he can cope with!

  6. I hope the girls have a wonderful birthday! My oldest is 12 so no teens yet. Your posts are encouraging to read and I try to keep in mind all that you say as my own children are about to embark on their teen years.

  7. Happy birthday to your set of twins! Ours were 14 this past August. I appreciate your words. What a loving mama!
    We recently bought the book “Do Hard Things” by an American set of twins who are rebelling against rebellion that we so typically stick on to teenagers. Their motto is to rebel against low expectations, and they’ve done mighty things because of that outlook. A good read for all teens and all us parents alike.
    And I’d venture to say their outlook began with some loving parents like yourself and Gary, who were always there for them, in the midst of the hormonal ups and downs of transitioning to adulthood.
    Wonderful post! I’ll come back to this often.

    1. Do Hard Things is required reading in our house. It affected my son deeply. He also joined up to their email list.
      Thanks for all your encouraging words 🙂

  8. I love this! My thoughts exactly! I was just thinking about this this week, as my eldest is now thirteen as well. My biggest love is that they don’t ONLY need me. I need them.

  9. That was such a great post. I love being friends with my adult children. It was fun to compre the differences with your teens and mine. My four boys all went through the hormonal, chaos time when they were 14 to 15 years old. I’m on my last 14 year old right now! My only daughter didn’t hit a hard stage until she was 18 and at college. She was easy peasy and has been my best friend since a baby. Children are a joy and a blessing and it’s worth it to homeschool and go through it together!!!

    1. It really is. I think I appreciate it even more as the children get older because I am so much closer to them and so much more aware of small changes in their behaviour or happiness levels which means we can act almost immediately before things spiral. i love these years!

  10. I love this post, Claire! I like you think teasing teens is the best fun. I love to embarrass my kids by singing and dancing in front of their friends. I think they secretly love it

  11. This is lovely. Teens can be such fun. We have had this conversation at our house too. My 13 (coming up on 14) year old daughter was always concerned we missed the little girl she had been. But honestly it is such fun to have a teenager. It’s not perfect every day, but I love watching her develope into an amazing person.

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