Ok folks. I heard it yet again. Another mom spreading doom and gloom to a mom of younger kids about how awful teenagers are and how terrible the teen years will be. And I just have to say enough already folks. Stop, take a step back and just look at the damage you are doing to your relationships with your children when you make such statements and assumptions.
How would you feel if all of a sudden, through no fault of your own, all the adults in your life suddenly started telling everyone that you were awful, terrible, a pain to be around, a big gigantic jerk? Wouldn't you get a little bit angry? Mad? Ticked off? Wouldn't you just maybe decide if you are going to be treated that way that you might as well act that way?
Here's the deal. Teens are people. Real human people with thoughts and feelings and emotions. Like just about anyone else in your life, teens are worthy of respect simply by virtue of their being people. They are struggling with battles we don't know or understand. They are trying to figure out how to navigate this jump into the adult world where one minute your parents expect you to be grown up and then the next treat you like you are still five (because parents are still trying to figure it out too and sometimes screw up).
I say we start a new revolution. One in which teens are automatically given respect as people. One in which we hold them accountable to high standards. One in which we push them to be and achieve the things they are capable of. Kids in general will always live up or down to your standards. If you expect your teens to be a joyful presence in your family and a helpful one, they will be. If you expect them to be moody, sullen, and unhelpful, they will be. Expect great things from your kids and I really don't think you'll be let down. They will live up or down to your expectations. Give them something to strive for.