I have 3 teenagers.  In a year I’ll have 4 teenagers. That’s where I’ll max out, by the time the next kid is a teen the oldest will have rolled over into her twenties. At times it’s hard for me to believe that this is on the immediate horizon.

I have good kids.  So far even the teen years after a major community change have been really good, with relatively few bumps.  Here are a few things I will contribute to community data points, in case it’s helpful.

  1. Teen years are dominated by a desire/need to socialize, and to be artistic/creative.
  2. Teens, especially late teens, are separating from the launch vehicle, that means they are trying to put distance between themselves and their origin. Don’t take it too personally, it’s a process.
  3. Every kid is different.  “Teenager” is far less characteristic or important than the individual personality of the child.
  4. You aren’t ready for this, almost no parents are. Calm down.

I’m not a big proponent of planning, so as you might expect we’re playing this as we go.  I now we’re going to talk a lot, and perhaps even butt heads, but I hope we’ll keep talking and I hope we’ll keep listening.  Most of all, I hope these teens will launch into stable and functional adulthood when the time comes.  And it does seem like it’s coming pretty fast.  They grow up fast, the cliche is true, I will also add, however, that it’s taken a long time to get here, and there’s still a long way to go, so it’s a paradox.  One parting comment, don’t forget to enjoy your kids.  Even though at times they drive you crazy, remember to slow down and enjoy their company, their insight, and their unique point of view.  It feels semi-miraculous that their delightful and sometimes terrifying otherness came from you.  Take time and effort to stop and enjoy your teens, if/ when you have them.