Every parent of a newborn can bask in the familial love an infant brings. Enjoy it. It only lasts a day or two; then that cute little bundle of joy turns into a teenager. You no longer worry about the little cough at 2:00 am, now it’s the footsteps sneaking home at 4:00 am that keep you awake.
How do you know when you should worry about your teen? Here are ten signs to look for.
1) They turn 12
Though not officially a teen, he or she will spend the next year planning their rites of passage; all the things they will do when they become a teenager. They will talk about it at school and dream about it at night. All those PG-13 movies you squirmed through with your child are now templates for their new life—and it is only 365 days away and counting.
2) They “need” a phone
Yes, Mom & Dad, what was at first an unfathomable luxury, available to only the rich and powerful, is now a bonafide necessity; made so by the only real language your child knows—texting. Without a phone, your child won’t be able to communicate with anyone. Not having a phone is a social death knell for your teen.
The above is the official version. Phones are actually how your teen coordinates their secret life that no longer involves you.
3) You hear the good news last
Mom! Mom, look! No cavities! So goes the antiquated Crest commercial where the child is anxious to share the good news with mom. When your child stops sharing the good news with you until he or she has told every other person on their contact list, you may want to start being a little concerned.
4) You no longer hear the bad news
Right after you stop hearing the good news, you will no longer get a heads up on the bad news. Your announcement may come as a call from the principle or even more exciting, as a police officer at your door informing you that your child broke the neighbor’s picture window—from the inside.
5) The school attendance computer is always wrong
“Those silly computers, they are always getting it wrong. I was in class. The teacher just didn’t call my name. Just ask Sally. I was with her in class all day. Go ahead and call her. I will straighten out the school tomorrow.”
6) The teacher ate my homework
A turnaround on an old standby, except the teacher is the dog. “I turned in my homework. The teacher lost it, again.”
7) They smell funny
All teens are horrified of bad breath. However, if your teen starts smelling like a mint farm or like they ingested a bottle of Scope you may want to check a little closer. Also, the body cologne they wear to excess probably doesn’t mean they need a shower. And sunglasses at night? Really?
8) Their friends no longer have last names
In first grade, your child would have Bobby Baker and Suzie Tanner come over and play on the swings. Now your child’s friends are a speed dial number or at best a first name. Little to go on, really. You know your daughter is at Maddy’s house whoever that is.
9) Privacy becomes their #1 priority
10) They want to know your schedule—in detail
Suddenly, there will come a day when your teen will give you a friendly call just to see how your day is going. They will then want to know what you and dad are doing tonight. “Really? That’s a great movie. Are you going to the late show? When are you going to be home?” Many parents are so thrilled that their teen has finally realized they are still alive that they can’t see the actual purpose for the call.
And, what is the real purpose of the call? How would I know? It’s your teen and we are on #10. If you don’t know by now then you are in bigger trouble than you realize. You may want to contact Redcliff Ascent and get their opinion. They have seen it all.
Kris Lim is a mother of one, who knows how hard it is to worry about teenagers. In this article, she offers 10 signs that parents must consider when dealing with their teens.