5 Times When Teens Are Hard To Love — But You Should Love Them Anyway

Teen lying on a lawn chair, reclined, with a book over her face and her glasses off.

5 Times When Teens Are Hard To Love — But You Should Love Them Anyway

Published on September 22, 2023

Teen lying on a lawn chair, reclined, with a book over her face and her glasses off.

Ah, the teenage years — a rollercoaster ride where emotions fluctuate faster than the latest TikTok trends, and communication can feel like deciphering ancient hieroglyphics. It’s a phase that’s notorious for being challenging, but as parents, we’ve got to love ’em anyway, right? Let’s explore the sometimes mind-numbing, sometimes hilarious journey through the teenage tornado!

When Your Teen’s Room Is A Hot Mess And It’s Making You A Hot Mess, Too

Imagine this: You’ve just ventured into your teenager’s lair (formerly known as their bedroom). The floor is a war zone of clothes, books, and who-knows-what-else. Finding a clean spot on the bed to sit? Good luck with that. They insist it’s “organized chaos.” Sure, you could get frustrated, but remember, it’s a sign of their creative genius (or so they claim).

How To Handle Your Teen’s Messy Room

Try not to nag or get angry. It won’t help. Instead, approach it calmly and remember, it’s their space. Encourage them to take ownership of it. Experts suggest having a conversation about why keeping it tidy matters, like finding things quickly or feeling more relaxed in a clean space. Try to avoid criticizing their lifestyle choices, even if we don’t understand them. Instead, help them come up with a plan, such as doing a quick cleanup every day or designating a day for a deep clean. It’s all about compromise. Make it fun by putting on some music and tackling it together once in a while. If nothing works, suggest they close the door to contain the mess. Out of sight, out of mind.

When Your Teen Doesn’t Say Much More Than “Okay” 

You ask your teen how their day was, and they reply with a simple “Okay.” Just okay? What happened to the days of elaborate stories about playground escapades, when little Jimmy dared Johnny to jump off the monkey bars? But hold on, remember when they were little, and they babbled endlessly about their favorite toy? Teens have their own language – “Okay” might actually mean “I had an epic day, but I’m not sharing details.” Consider it a win if they responded at all. Eventually, they’ll grow out of this stage and you’ll be back to having real conversations with your teen.

How To Handle It When Your Teen Barely Talks To You

First off, try not to bombard them with questions. Instead, find a moment when they seem relaxed and not distracted. Car rides or meal times often work well since they’re a captive audience. Ask open-ended questions that require more than one-word answers. For example, instead of, “Did you have a good day?”, try asking, “What was the most interesting thing that happened today?” When they do share something, listen without judgment, advice, or criticism, and let them finish before responding. Also, ask about their interests, hobbies, and friends. When they see you’re genuinely curious, they might open up more. If they’re still not in the mood to talk, that’s okay. Let them know you’re there if they ever do. Sometimes, just knowing they have your support is enough. 

When Your Teen Constantly Seems Distracted 

Your teenager spends hours staring at their phone screen, seemingly oblivious to the world around them. It’s like you’re competing with Instagram, Snapchat, and Fortnite for their attention. But guess what? That screen is also their window to friendships, interests, and yes, a world of memes. Don’t be surprised if they chuckle at a meme while you’re discussing the headlines. It’s just their way of multitasking.

How To Handle A Teen Who Won’t Put Down Their Gadgets

Lead by example. Model the behavior you want to see in your teen. If you expect them to limit screen time during family meals or conversations, set the same example yourself. Be mindful of your own phone and screen usage. Well, first, try to understand why they’re so drawn to their gadgets. Often, it’s a way to connect with friends or escape stress. Establish screen time rules that work for both of you. If they resist, talk about the importance of balancing screen time with other activities like homework, chores, and face-to-face interactions. With clear communication, boundaries, and a focus on balance, you can help them develop healthy tech habits and maintain a strong parent-teen relationship.

When Your Teen’s Fashion Choices Make You Cringe

One day they’re dressing like a ’90s grunge rocker, and the next, they’re sporting an outfit that belongs on a runway. The inconsistency can boggle the mind, but it’s all about self-expression. And who didn’t experiment with questionable fashion choices as a teen? Perhaps they’re just preparing for their own “glow-up” moment.

How To Handle Your Teen’s Fashion Choices

Fashion choices can be tricky to navigate. The key is to handle it with care. Start by having an open and non-judgmental conversation. Ask your teen about their fashion preferences and what inspires their style. This shows you’re interested in their world. Remember that teens often use fashion to express their identity and individuality. Instead of criticizing, explain your concerns calmly. For example, you can say, “I support your freedom to express yourself, but I worry that some outfits might not be suitable for certain occasions.” If they’re resistant, pick your battles. For everyday wear, consider letting them express themselves. Remember, it’s a journey of self-discovery for your teen. Be patient, and they’ll likely figure out their style over time.

When Your Teen Is A Night Owl And Sleeps Till Noon

Getting a teenager out of bed before noon on weekends? Mission impossible. Some are nocturnal creatures who only thrive after dark. You might question their sleeping habits, but remember, they’re preparing for a future where 2 a.m. emails are the norm. So, let them sleep – they’re honing their nocturnal skills.

How To Handle Your Teen’s Crazy Sleep Schedule

Choose a relaxed moment and express your concern. Tell them you’re worried about how their sleep pattern might affect their health, school, or responsibilities. If they become defensive, try to be empathetic. Let them know you want to work together to find a solution that benefits them. Encourage them to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate their internal clock. Gradual adjustments can help, even going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night until they reach a more reasonable bedtime. Limiting screen time before bed is crucial. The blue light from screens can disrupt sleep. Limiting daytime naps is essential. If they need a short nap, advise them to keep it under 30 minutes to prevent interfering with nighttime sleep. If stress or anxiety is causing their sleep pattern, a counselor can provide guidance and strategies for managing stress.

Loving teenagers can be a wild ride, complete with mood swings, emoji-filled texts, and spontaneous dance-offs in the living room. But beneath the eye-rolls and one-word responses, there’s a complex, evolving individual who’s trying to figure out the world. So, laugh at their quirks, embrace their uniqueness, and remember that despite the chaos, loving them through their teenage years is an adventure worth taking. After all, you once were a teen too, right?

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