If you were lucky, your friends and family celebrated you and your new child at a baby shower. Armed with a plethora of multi-sized diapers, adorable onesies, and well-intentioned advice, you started your family life with stocked cabinets and closets. Maybe you had to suffer through some annoying shower games, but ultimately, that shower prepared you for the months to come.
And then, years later, the teen years hit.
When kids celebrate their first double-digit birthday, parents get nothing to mark the occasion of having a tween. No shower gifts or celebrations, no “What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Teen,” no filled-to-the-brim-with-provisions cabinets and closets.
So hear me out. What if we celebrated parents of new teens with showers of their own? At this crucial stage in our parenting, we need to be rearmed and restocked with typical shower items; only, those items are for our teenagers (not our babies), so they might look a little different now. Here are some great presents for parents and things they actually need.
How to Stock a Parent Survival Kit
Instead of specialized detergent for washing those newborn clothes, this parent needs Oxiclean, and lots of it. Especially if their teen plays any outdoor sport or insists on wearing white jeans, t-shirts, or hoodies, they’ll need to treat hundreds of loads of laundry with stain (and stink!) remover. Oxiclean makes a great gift for moms, and dads too, so make sure they’re ready with a lifetime supply.
Now is not the time to skimp, so get mom and her teen connected to some top-of-the-line skincare products. Her teen will need help for puberty-exacerbated skin, and this mom in perimenopause/menopause may have some skin problems of her own. Skincare products make great gifts for moms! Perhaps you can find a Buy One/Get One discount.
Shower gel, deodorant, and Febreze
Tweens and young teens can be shower averse, so help these parents out with some literal shower gifts! They’re going to need enticing bathing products to get their teen clean. Make sure they have extra deodorant for their teen’s room, the bathroom, the car, and their teen’s locker. Finally, include some Febreze for combatting those hard-to-decipher odors lurking in closets and backpacks. Trust me. They’ll thank you!
Parents of teens will soon be losing silverware, cups, and bowls to the mysterious void of the teenager’s bedroom. Endless bowls of cereal and ramen will be consumed, with the dishes never to be seen again. Prepare them for this by stocking their cabinets ahead of time.
Boxes of cereal, packets of ramen, and mac and cheese
Parents will quickly discover that their teens are hungry. All the time. Help them feed those ravenous teens by filling their pantry with easy-to-grab foods teens love.
Ear plugs, headphones, and a playlist
No teen parenting survival kit would be complete without a package of earplugs to help dampen the noise of siblings fighting or of blaring music escaping from under the teen’s door. And on those quiet days when parents are on the receiving end of a teenager’s silent treatment, they’ll appreciate the perfect parenting playlist you’ve put together to celebrate your friendship and solidarity in trying times.
Parents of teenagers want Target and Amazon gift cards because with jam-packed schedules they need their shopping trips to be easy, convenient, and quick. And because their teens are always hungry, they’ll also happily collect gift cards to food places like Starbucks, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and other favorite fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. Grocery gift cards will be on their wish list, too.
Winter coats and boots
Just kidding! Any mom of teens knows that money spent on these items is wasted money. Icicles could dangle from their Airpods while they wait at the bus stop, and still, teens will not dress for winter. Save parents the trouble of making returns by leaving these items off your shopping list.
Don’t kid yourself. Parenting a teen is expensive, and that doesn’t even count budgeting for college. Payments for used cars, car insurance, math tutors, piano lessons, and therapy (for the parents and the teen!) can all add up. Give these parents some cushion in their bank account. Cash is preferable so they can squirrel it away for all of those “emergencies” when their teen forgets they need money for a field trip, a class party, or sign-up fees.
Forget those forced fun shower games like “guess the candy bar in the diaper.” Parents of a new teenager just need encouragement from friends who have been on this road longer than they have. Spend a few minutes writing inspiring messages for them to draw from when times get tough. (And they will get tough.) As a bonus, write these messages on the wrappers of their favorite chocolates, to remind them that bitter moments can turn sweet.