Survival Tips for Teens
Let’s face it, teen years can be hard—on the parents that is. For teenagers, they get lots of new responsibilities and freedoms, and their parents are financing the fun. It really doesn’t get any better even if you have to take SATs.
So teens, if your parents are decent people—you know, they don’t beat you, or lock you in the closet under the stairs—then let’s be real and give them a break. And if they’re not, this blog does not apply to you.
Why you should consider being a more fun and engaging housemate…
1 – COMFORT: It just makes day-to-day life more pleasant for everyone. Be polite to them the way you would if they were a celebrity you admired and just got to meet…only every day. It’s basic manners to say “hi” and “bye,” help out with things, even ask if there’s something you can do (though I know you don’t want to tempt them with that question).
2 – MONEY: If you want to borrow the car, get a car, or drive a car, you need their support and likely financing. Forget buying a car, there’s not a chance most teens could afford car insurance on their own, year after year. Research it.
3 – FREEDOM: If you’re not reasonable and reasonably behaved, how can they trust you? A.K.A. with a curfew, going to a party, staying at the house alone, etc. Bad behavior is indicative of bad decision-making. Don’t let something stupid haunt you your entire high school career. Suck up the tantrum, the “he said, she said”, the “that’s not fair”, and all the other useless arguments. Seriously, how old are you now? You know life is not fair. Deal with it. And deal with the consequences of your behavior. Forgive other, forgive yourself. Then move on.
4 – BRAND: If you’re not nice to your parents it makes you look mean-spirited, which is bad for your brand. And trying to humiliate your parents or make them look stupid also makes you look really immature for 16.
5 – KARMA: It’s bad karma. Take note! This is an important truth to know in case you want to have kids at a future date. It’s a known and documented fact that your children give you back all the pain you caused your parents, but sometimes ten times worse. Beware the kid karma.
6 – KINDNESS: You might be at the age when you only just realized your parents are human, not superheroes. Some teens find that disappointing. I understand. But it’s a reality we all had to come to at some point. The next reality is that they have feelings just like you. Feelings don’t go away when you get older, they intensify. Only your parents and guardians also have a boat load of work to do, responsibilities that require them to care for you and many others, and they don’t have the luxury of throwing in the towel and walking away to start over. You want to know their real superpowers? The have the strength of character not to tell you what they really think when you act snarky and superior. They don’t crush you emotionally and spiritually no matter how many times you do it to them over and over. And you do. I see it all the time. And it literally hurts to watch. I turn away.
7 – UNCONDITIONAL CHAMPION: Parents might not be superheroes, but they are always your unconditional champion. This is an awesome thing! You have someone who has your back no matter what. And they have credit cards! Don’t abuse that gift. In fact, give them a little thanks and encouragement for being your champion. It takes so little on your part to make their day and give them the energy to keep going even after your day is over.
8 – RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Your words of thanks and encouragement will become the foundation of a strong relationship down the road. Don’t wait until you are 30 to have a relationship with the people in your house. It’s just kinda stupid. This is your practice time. Use it. If you don’t figure it out now the badness just keeps coming up in all your future relationships until you work it out—which is a waste of many good times that could be had instead.
Think about your words and actions. You are better than you know. But it’s okay if other people discover that too.
And inside that older parent body is still a teenager, only he or she has learned a little patience, compassion, street smarts, and wisdom that might help you through the next few years—if you don’t kill them before that.
Cheers to You and Your Champions!