Teenage life is like being held hostage on an out of control rollercoaster.
As a parent, you’re held captive on this journey by an alien you vaguely recognize.
One thing you do know is that his bad habits are one of the reasons for your high-stress levels.
There is no escape from this hostage drama. But, you may be allowed into the sacred secret life of a teenager today.
The daily dramas of teen life make a tennis game against Federer feel like a lazy Sunday morning picnic.
But let me tell you that your teenager is probably stressed too with all the changes he has to deal with.
But here’s the good news. Your sweet little one is still there buried deep in the throes of teenage angst.
And when the teen issues are over, you will have him back – a new and improved version.
Check out these awesome icebreakers to quickly connect with your teen.
This post puts teenage life under the microscope. It takes a light-hearted look at the bad habits of teenagers:
• identifies these bad habits
• shows the typical parents reaction
• offers a few tips to help you cope
You love your teen, right? We all do. But there’s no denying that teenage life brings with it a few challenges you would be happy to forgo.
THE BAD HABITS OF TEENAGE LIFE
Here are a few annoying bad habits of teen life that drive even positive parents crazy.
BAD HABIT #1: YOUR TEENAGER IS A NOCTURNAL CREATURE
He exists in a separate reality in which he is above and beyond normal time zones.
The odd hours your teen keeps is enough to make an exhausted mom flee to the nearest hotel for just one night of good sleep
You thought all this ended when your baby started to sleep through the night.
Absolutely not true if you are living with a teenager.
Let’s face it – your teen is programmed to snack at night when the whole family is asleep.
But to truly enjoy his treat, he has to have a few accessories – a YouTube video blasting in his room, a movie with the volume on 25 ( how else can he hear it in the kitchen) and his playlist thumping on his cell phone next to him.
So do you just comfort yourself with your daily mantra – this is a phase, please let it pass ASAP?
Instead, be creative with your encouragement of a list of good habits for your family to follow. Start an evening routine for your family:
• dinner and cleanup
• homework/ study time
• hot drink and snack
This will ensure that everyone has a good night’s rest and that there will be no frayed nerves in the morning due to oversleeping.
Better still, check out this list of fun questions to get your teen out of his room and talking to the family.
BAD HABIT #2: YOUR TEENAGER’S BEDROOM IS A RESTRICTED AREA
One of the unwanted perks of teenage life for moms is overnight ageing just thinking about your the messiness of your teen’s bedroom.
Your head pounds savagely. Frown lines that no beauty product will ever erase stamp your forehead.
Of course, the bedroom is in your house for which you pay the mortgage but it’s strictly a no-go zone for you.
How dare he? You who wiped his dirty bottom and snotty nose more times than you can count is now denied access to his room.
And the flood of warnings every morning – don’t go in my room, don’t touch my stuff – but hey, that’s not nagging.
It is common for teenagers to treat their bedrooms as a refuge from the problems of the world.
But, how can they enjoy time in a room that looks like a disaster zone in need of a joint rescue by The Red Cross and Doctors Beyond Borders?
Features of a teen bedroom include:
- The unmade bed
- At least one pillow on the floor
- A single sock lurks under the cover
- Enough kitchenware to serve a meal to a few people
- A mish-mash of clothes carpet the floor
- Cables and cords crisscross randomly
- Mouldy rotting sandwiches
- Empty pizza boxes from who knows when
- Cupboards and drawers yawn open
You resist the urge to remove everything from the room so you can clean it and disinfectant it thoroughly.
Cleaning a teen bedroom demands the skill of a surgeon when you cautiously enter the room to fetch his laundry.
You have to train yourself to bear the smell of rotting food and unwashed clothing.
Then, try to avoid hysteria at the mix of clean and dirty clothes half on the floor and the rest decorating the bed and desk.
Swallow the anger and annoyance, mom. Expert advice suggests that the best plan of action is to be patient and understanding. It’s all part of growing up.
He lacks the order, focus, and discipline to do routine tasks that you and I would easily do in an hour.
Remember, the teen brain is under construction. He is still growing the parts of the brain that deal with organization.
BAD HABIT # 3: YOUR TEENAGER IS A LIVING VACUUM CLEANER
Did you know that you have your in-house vacuum cleaner with FBI like superpowers to seek and consume any and often all food left in the refrigerator?
For the always hungry teen – anything and everything edible that is not under lock and key is in danger of becoming a midnight snack.
This has to be the most annoying of all teenage bad habits.
Only your refrigerator can beat you in an exhaustion race due to the frequent opening by your teen looking for a snack.
Well, what’s a frustrated parent to do? Simple really.
Empower your teenager with a few basic life skills.
– menu planning
– grocery shopping on a budget
– meal prepping
– keeping a clean kitchen
Remember, your teen is still growing. He needs to eat to give him the energy to cope with the hectic schedule of school and sport.
So, a few cooking, shopping and cleaning lessons are sure to eliminate your stress on this matter.
What better way to get over your annoyance with your teen’s poor habits than to spend time doing something fun. Check out the list of 30 thrilling teen – approved activities below.
BAD HABIT # 4: YOUR TEENAGER IS INFECTED BY TECH-ITIS
This is an incurable disease your teen suffers from.
Vital medications needed to treat it are WiFi and data.
As emergency workers, he is armed and at the ready to save lives with a text, call or share at a moment’s notice.
Your teen shows strange, infuriating symptoms – misplacing his charger, needing to borrow mom’s which then becomes his which he is prepared to grudgingly lend you now and again.
Your home is also probably a health hazard due to overloaded power sockets.
Every plug point has a device charging. Your teen needs to use them all at the same time
It’s enough to drive you to free yourself from anything techy, useful though they are.
Annoying cell phone habits your teen shows are:
• wearing his phone like it’s an extra limb
• clutching the phone like it’s an IV pumping medication into him
• ignoring your texts until he needs you to give him a ride
• endless texting
• frequent hysteria when he can’t find his phone
• selfie overload and a gazillion apps to improve them
So, are you going to just grin and bear this cellphone phase? Not wise. Come up with a workable plan to treat this tech virus:
– daily tech-free time
– tech-free zones
– nighttime cellphone deposit
As frustrating as it is, you have to find a way to connect with your teen. Check out this list of fun questions to break the ice and start connecting.
BAD HABIT # 5: YOUR TEENAGER IS ALLERGIC TO YOU
Having a conversation with your teen is rare and so complex, you need special skills to decode it.
For starters, he has communication fatigue. He responds in monosyllables:
If he is too weary from all his teen issues, he just grunts at you. It makes you yearn for baby talk from him all over again.
Face to face and verbal interaction take a backseat.
So, just how do you get a message to him? Easy – text him. He’s sure to read and digest it.
Forget a text back to say he got your message. That’s so uncool. But if he needs a ride or help with something, get ready for a flood of texts.
Your teen behaves as if you have a contagious disease. He does not want to come anywhere near you for fear that he may catch what you have.
Relax, mom, this too will pass, frustrating though it is to endure.
Again some strategic planning is called for to connect with your teen:
• stay up a little later for a little one on one
• avoid multitasking when you’re with your teen
• listen actively so your body language and verbal clues show it
• avoid face to face interaction
• sit next to him to open up communication
One of the best habits to start ideally before the teen years is regular family meetings. It is a powerful tool that parents can use to negotiate and set rules. They are a great way to connect at least once a week to discuss matters that strictly relate to the family.
This quotation sums up the attitude that will allow your teen to cope with the trauma of the teenage years.
Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations;
he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own.
Logan Pearsall Smith
It is vital to offer your teen love and support during this difficult phase.
Let’s recap. Common bad habits of teenage life are:
• sleeps late
• messy bedroom
• cellphone addiction
• always hungry
• poor communication
As a parent, take the time to understand that teenage life is challenging for your teen too.
Nurture and nourish him during this time with constant love and support.
Create the structure he needs with a few rules:
• a proper evening routine
Find any way you can to bridge the gap between you and your teenager.
Do you have personal stories to share about coping with teenage life? Share your story in the comments below.