It’s summer and with kids out of school my niece has come to stay with me for a bit. While I couldn’t be more excited, this time together has been a complete crash course in all things teenager. I get that I’m not a full-time parent, but there are still some pretty huge things that have come up even in just this short amount of time, and they are things that I think every parent of a teenager can relate to. Sure, sure, y’all face what I’m facing but with the added responsibility of making sure they also grow into responsible, happy, healthy, well adjusted adults, but since my grocery budget has now almost tripled, I’m going to say I feel at least ‘some’ of your parental pain. Here are 16 things I’ve learned by living with my 16-year-old niece…
16 Things I’ve Learned By Living With My 16-Year-Old Niece…
1. Bedtime is fluid.
If she says she’s going to bed, that just means she’s going to her room. And if I hear her on the phone at 5:00 AM, there’s a good chance it’s because she stayed up, not because she woke up early.
2. Teenagers eat all the time.
All. The. Time.
3. It doesn’t matter if they’re girls, they still eat all the time.
All. The. Time.
4. Concepts of nutrition are fluid.
Eating healthy means eating tons of vegetables and fruits, but also Jalapeño Cheetos. And Star Crispies. And Lindt Chocolate.
5. Eye rolls are a form of communication…
They can mean everything from, “I don’t like what you’re saying,” to “You made me laugh so hard in my head right now, but I’m way too cool to actually laugh out loud.”
6. …as is the word ‘ungh’.
And this one pops out usually when she needs a second to think about what she wants to say.
7. Letting her pick the station in the car will get her to talk.
In between singing about Becky With The Good Hair, these are the times she tells me about her life. And it feels like a privilege to have her open up.
8. Her music sucks.
Not all of it, mind, but enough that letting her pick the station is definitely a labor of love.
9. Late night slushie runs are essential.
Sometimes she just needs to get out of the house. Better with me than someone I don’t know. Also, not all slushies are built the same. Just FYI…
10. The concept of dating is fluid.
She doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she has boy ‘friends’ she talks to…in a flirty way. But also a dorky way. So I’m not even a little nervous.
11. She needs to hear I Love You a lot…but will pretend to hate it.
I think this is true of every teen.
12. I’m a complete dork…
And she’s happy to tell me so. But at least it means we’re talking, so I’m cool with being a dork.
13. …but so is she.
When did kids decide being cool was dumb? IDK, but I like that she lets her dork flag fly.
14. Body issues are a fact of life.
And I could comment on the fact that she’s wearing long-sleeves in the middle of July in Texas, or I can let her realize in her own time that her arms aren’t as hideous as she thinks they are.
15. The concept of besties is fluid.
Sometimes they’re friends; sometimes they’re not. It’s a lot like Almond Joy and Mounds in that respect…except that they are always nuts.
16. I’m grateful for this time with her.
Every. Single. Day.