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Parents of Teenagers Share Things Teens Do

Before my teenagers got their driver’s licenses, I was an underappreciated on-call chauffeur. Of course, I had already organized my schedule around the school pickups and drop-offs and myriad sports and play practices. It was the one-off late-night trips to get poster board for a project they had “forgotten about” or an unanticipated detour to grab a buddy that always derailed my carefully choreographed routine. But then one day even my baby could drive, and I realized I missed the impromptu chats we would have enroute from one place to another—if not the unpredictable jaunts for art supplies.

So I laughed when I read one of the comments on the recent Your Teen Facebook prompt—“Tell me you have a teen without telling me you have a teen” that said, “I was the designated driver for a party at a club that I did not attend on Saturday night.” The stories that mom probably heard! And then I kept reading and my head was nodding as the responses poured in. The main takeaways? Read on.

Clues That You Have an Typical Teenager

Teen houses are devoid of dishes.

The dishwasher might be full (nope, no one unloaded it in a teen house) but even once everything is put away, we seem to be missing our forks, spoons, and cups. Some parents reported wayward plates, but for most of you it was all about the utensils. “We are down to three forks in the house,” one posted. In response came “I bought extra forks; now it’s the spoons.” Parents of teens are all wondering: Where have they gone? Will they someday reappear?

Teens are huuuuuuungry.

Did you just go shopping? Enjoy that full fridge and pantry for the minute because it will be gone before you know it, no matter how much you thought you stocked up. Or it might appear to deceptively full, but don’t look too closely—that carton of ice cream has one freezer-burned spoonful languishing at the bottom, and the snack and cereal boxes hold mere crumbs. Here’s a representative depiction: “A gallon milk jug will sit in the fridge with 1/16 cup of milk at the bottom waiting for someone to use the last and bring in a new gallon from the garage fridge.” Another common issue is that you do indeed have a kitchen chock-full of lovely “ingredients,” but alas, they are not considered “food.” If it’s not Hot Cheetos or a similar grab-and-go item, you might as well have no food at all, parents agree.

They are super messy.

Those missing utensils might be in their rooms or under a bed, but none of these parents is brave enough to figure that out. That’s because the rooms are a black hole you’re not touching. “They won’t start laundry until nothing else fits in the hamper,” lamented one. That, however, would probably be a dream to this poster, who shared, “There’s an empty laundry basket with dirty laundry on the floor piled all around it.” As you might guess, between the “laundry carpet,” the wet towels, the half-consumed water bottles, and the unintentional science experiments that were all mentioned, let’s just say that many of our houses smell like teen spirit.

We’re broke.

Between the energy bill that skyrockets with the lights left on, that darn grocery bill, and the handout they are always asking for—$20 in old school cash or a Venmo, either works—our wallets and bank accounts will never be the same.

And really, I think we can all agree that’s the best payoff for having them spend their own hard-earned money. Ideally, it brings another exciting byproduct—a little more appreciation for when you pick up the tab.

Finally, we leave you with one word…and at least half of you know what it is. “Bruh.”

Want to weigh in on our next burning question? Be sure to join us on Facebook—for supportive, welcoming, witty fun.

Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, and mom of three teen boys. Read more about Cathie at

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