The Young Teen in Your House

In His Solitude by Charly Palmer
In His Solitude

Little kids love summer. Big kids love summer. But what about teens?

My kids looked forward to every summer until they became teens, and then everything changed. Suddenly, running through the sprinkler just didn’t thrill them anymore.

I was used to them rising early to run out and play with their friends. But once the teen years hit, they’d sleep later and later, completely missing summer mornings and sometimes needing to be called for lunch.

I remember worrying that my older son would suffocate in his room. By 11 am, he was still sound asleep with the window shut tight while the sun heated up that end of the house. My attempts to rouse him were greeted by growls, as though he were a confused bear who thought he was still hibernating through the winter.

Once conscious, he’d stumble downstairs, where the hunger that had built up over 12 or 13 hours of sleep made him eat as though he’d gone days without food. His enormous breakfast would segue into lunch with the rest of us, and he kept on eating. Then he’d head outside to play basketball with friends for the afternoon, come home in time to eat an enormous dinner, and play on the computer before lapsing back into his night-time coma.

I learned from friends with older children that this was actually par for the course for growing teen boys. Looking back, it makes sense to me now. After all, it takes a lot of rest and nourishment to grow to 6″ 4″ and wear a size 16 shoe! But at the time, I was quite mystified.

Do you have a young teen in your house this summer? Are you mystified by some of the things you’re seeing him or her do? As teens’ bodies change, their emotions and behaviors change, too. Learn more about how to live with your teen in my free Special Report, “Ten Tips for Coping with Temperamental Teens.”

8 thoughts on “The Young Teen in Your House

  1. This is why my parents used to insist my brothers and I either work or attend camp (or both in the case of my middle brother when he was a counselor-in-training). Before we were old enough to legally work a regular job at 16, we used to do odd jobs like babysitting/mother’s helper, petsitting, yardwork, washing cars, helping folks move, etc. I even used to work as a trade show girl for acquaintances of my dad (can’t beat being paid to look cute and flirt, LOL!)

  2. My oldest is just 13 and although he has the occasional day of sleeping in late, he still likes to get up and have fun. I can totally relate to the non-stop eating already, though. So far, he has made his debut into teen years quite joyfully and I’m hoping and praying that this will continue:) I don’t think I’ll mind so much my teens sleeping in b/c I see that their bodies need it. It is the fact that many teens turn into night owls and want to prowl the house/eat late into the night and THEN sleep all day that I don’t think my husband and I will tolerate.

  3. My oldest is 11, but already, I can see some ‘teen’ emerging. Actually, some older friends and mentors have seen it. And they warn me about what to expect. And I get nervous. And then I get excited. But mostly, I’m just nervous.

  4. CW, I began working at 14, and realized that once you start, it never ends! So I didn’t mind letting my teens sleep in because I knew they only had a short time before they’d have to work. The son I mention in this post got a grocery store job as soon as he turned 15, and has been working ever since (he’s 24 now), including working his way through college. Maybe all the sleep helped energize him for the years ahead 🙂

    Kika, we didn’t allow the night eating/prowling because we had younger kids who needed their sleep (and we did, too!)

    Iva, we saw changes in all of our kids beginning around age ten. The teen years are scary at times, but we really enjoyed seeing them become adults, exploring their interests, thinking about their futures, etc. Don’t be too worried 🙂

    Janet, I hope you still have your blog then. You have such neat kids, and they’ll be awesome young adults, too, I’m sure!

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