I offer these simple tips knowing I do not have all the answers, not even close. But somehow, for some reason as luck would have it, we have one amazing teenager ready to take flight. We have two to go,  ask me again in a few more years and perhaps I wont have any tips at all. Perhaps I’ll be mumbling incoherently on a street corner asking for your loose change – so I think  it’s best I write these tips of what I think I know down right now incase it all turns to custard.

1. Before you do a thing –go buy a paper bag. Place said bag over head in public at all times. You are always embarrassing.

2. Learn the primitive language of grunting. All questions will now be answered in this format so it will serve you well to familiarize yourself with any subtle tones and inflections as to avoid any miscommunications with your teen.

3. You are never right, you know nothing.

4.  Always walk one block ahead of teenager in public, preferably on the opposite side of the street. You are not supposed to exist.

5. Providing food at intermittent periods will guarantee regular sightings of your now bedroom bound teen.

6. There’s a “look”. It is kind of aimed at you and will most likely involve eye-rolling and frowning. It really isn’t for you, it is for the entire world but you just happen to be in the way.  All the time.

7.  Text ” I love u” or “I am thinking of u” at own risk. Some days this will be ok, other times it will be a thoughtless, careless and cruel act. You will never know the difference. If in doubt stick to the basics, like “When do you think you might come home?”

8. It is essential you nurture all relationships with other women who drink. Tell them they are on speed dial and will only have a moments notice to pour you a chardonnay, or gin. Practice this drill prior to your child turning 12, until you are sitting at their kitchen table with drink in hand and a listening ear under 5 minutes.

9.  Always remain close enough, but not too close, learn the difference. Proceed with caution. You may need to wear protective clothing, teenagers can be prickly.

10.  And never, not ever, not for one day, not for one breath stop believing in, trying, giving, forgiving, encouraging and loving this person. For wasn’t it only yesterday you were busy squeezing a zit in the mirror hoping nobody noticed it as you desperately tried to impress the world?  Yep, thought so.


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  1. Alicia says:

    Oh Meg, I love this. I am onmy last of 6 teenagers. He’s seventeen and decidedly prickly! I love him to pieces!

  2. Kellie says:

    I like number 8 – think we have mastered that one!

  3. Liz Wiseman says:

    Love this Meg.  While other people do morning affirmations like, “I am smart and capable,”  as a parent of 3 teenagers, I do better with, “I am an idiot and know nothing.”  It better prepares me for each day!   

  4. I can relate to number 2, 5, and 6.  And, the last one is what keeps me going on those days I drop to my knees praying for my teen – those days I am weary and tired.  Thank you for this clever article to remind us that we are not alone.  xoxo

  5. naomi says:

    Perfect. I cant wait for those years! Great advice…….will file

  6. Jaala says:

    Love this Meg! Thank you once again for expressing so wonderfully what so many of us feel.  Hard to imagine that fantastic teen of yours acting anything like this;)

  7. Tracey says:

    Meg-I’m laughing out loud, but so grateful for the list. I thought the whole grunting thing was peculiar. I’m sort of delighted to know it is a whole other language…I’m wondering if I can learn it with Rosetta Stone. Dare to dream.

  8. Carol Apple says:

    Mine are 19 and going on 16. Boys. They do express themselves uniquely and do not like me to text “I love u” too often but I guess I’m fortunate that I don’t get a lot of eye rolling. My older one has already passed into a new phase and actually likes to have real conversations with me – about art and technology especially. I guess I am a good person to talk too because I never fail to be amazed and impressed by the apps he shows me. Sounds like you are a great Mom and also a great writer!

  9. Having decided to have art children instead of human children, I understand all of this, because some of the pieces are just like teenagers and have taught me all these things. Sometimes they make me mumble on street corners.
    Sending you all the strength and power to be who you are at whatever point of life…
    Have a wondrous day!

  10. Love this. The hubs needed to hear #6 from someone other than me. 

  11. […] Blog Archive » Meg’s Top 10 Tips for Surviving the Teenage Years.Meg’s Top 10 Tips for Surviving the Teenage Years. March 20th, 2012. I offer these simple tips knowing I do not have all the answers, not even close. […]

  12. Tori says:

    Oh, I have just stumbled into these dreaded years. My live in stepdaughter just turned the big 1-3. She is being followed closely into teenagedom by her 3 sisters.  Lord help my wonderful husband! As the stepmom, I am already accustomed to never being right but I am constantly doing #10 because I will not give up on these awesome girls of mine!! Best of luck to us all!

  13. great tips for dealing with any type of teenager!

  14. JS says:

    Cute with nice positive ending.  However I never find jokes about using alcohol or drugs to get through something difficult funny.  There are too many in the world (many of them teens) who find themselves addicted to these powerful drugs.  Just my 2 cents.

  15. Jeanette says:

    I practically cried with laughter over this article. I am on the last of my teenagers and she is 13. She would do a hedgehog proud the way she is so prickly.  It still doesn’t make me love her any less, I still love her to bits prickles and all!!

  16. Kelly says:

    Awesome and comforting. #8 is definitely an essential and I don’t know how I’d have survived this far without my girlfriends. Having teenagers is on my top 3 list of the most painful things I’ve lived though (am currently living through), but it’s necessary and I’ve learned some interesting things about myself in this journey. If I can survive the feeling that half of my soul has left my body, never to return, then I can survive most anything. Again, your post was comforting.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Was just explaining my ineptness in the above terms last night to friends…perfect timing.

  18. As I am just entering the teenage years with my first one, this is sage advice! Love it!

  19. Amroke says:

     Spot on! thanks

  20. Chris says:

    I have to agree with #1 …. Too Funny and Soooo True! Thanks….

  21. […] I still have days when I feel like pulling out all of my hair. When that does happen, I turn to Meg’s Top 10 Tips for Suriving the Teenage Years. I keep on remembering her 10th […]

  22. Anonymous says:

    You write wonderfully Meg ! And you connect with moms beautifully too ! Mine is almost there  ( 12 & 10) thanks for the tips .. I believe that only a sense of humour can save us !  🙂 

  23. Kiersten says:

    Fabulous, Meg!   I’ve just survived the teen years with my oldest and now that he is a lovely adult, I have to send him off to college.    I’m just starting the teen years with my youngest and I may have to laminate this list and keep in handy!

  24. Meg says:

    Haha Kiersten- good luck!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Do you have any more tips. I’ve been through 3 boys but my daughter ……. well lets just say I’m an absolute novice at this 🙁 

  26. Great blog. Enjoyed reading it… My son just turned 13… oh here it comes.

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