There should be a required class for every parent of a teenager. Really. You think you know how it is, because, back in the day, you were one of them. But it’s definitely not the same. It’s a different world altogether. And if you think you understand it today, it will likely change again by tomorrow, so you better figure out how to keep up. People take childbirth classes, so why not another class right around the time your child turns 13? In a way, the “birth” of a teenager can be more difficult than giving birth to a baby. You can certainly feel less equipped. At any rate, an hour lesson on teenage culture would be every bit as valuable as as an hour on the various techniques for coping with pain during labor. I have no idea if such a class is offered in your town, but it is List Wednesday. I don’t know everything, but I have learned a few things that might help ease your mind.
You don’t need to worry if…
your son leaves the house in long black socks and tennis shoes. Sure, you used to make fun of your dad when he did it every Sunday after church, but now it’s in style. Same rule applies when he leaves the house in athletic shorts, a tank that doesn’t match, and soccer/shower shoes. His friends think he’s fashionable.
your son’s latest tweet or facebook status says, “I like boys.” More than likely, his friends got into his account and played a little joke on him. Good one, right?
your daughter’s Facebook status says, “Dieeee in your arms.” You probably don’t need to call a counselor. It’s a Justin Bieber song. See, when you post a status, it has meaning. But when teenagers post a status, it often has none, except to get as many ‘likes’ as possible.
your child texts you to ask what’s for dinner instead of walking 10 feet from the next room. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be annoyed. I’m just saying don’t worry – it’s a common practice these days. Precious, too.
your 14 year old daughter picks up a copy of Guns and Ammo when you’re getting the oil changed at Jiffy Lube, and correctly identifies the gun on the cover as a Barrett 50CAL sniper rifle. If she has a big brother with a PS3 or X-Box, or knows anyone else who has one, she’s probably put in an impressive number of hours in front of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
your teenager has trouble writing and spelling. Texting and the internet defiantly has made written expression more challenging. Now, when one person spells a word wrong, everyone sees it, and the incorrect spelling is permanently etched into multiple brains. You don’t need to worry, though, because most of the other kids applying for college admissions will defiantly have the same problem.
you pick up your daughter’s phone and notice she has texts from 8 different boys. It’s normal. But wait. On second thought, yes, do worry.
when you get on Facebook in the morning, you notice that 34 teenagers “checked in” at your house last night at 3 a.m. These are probably the same pranksters who made you worry briefly about your son’s sexuality.
your teenager stopped posting things on Facebook. She hasn’t become antisocial. She’s over on Instagram, or Twitter, or Tumblr, or Skype, or she’s “kik”ing someone….. The ellipses are there because there will likely be 3 brand new sites or apps that teenagers are all using within the week, which is great for me, because it will undoubtedly provide me with something else to write about.