10 things I’ve learned from my teenagers

Mar 21, 2014, 5:17 PM | Updated: 5:17 pm

Teens often get a bad rap from adults. Sure, they can be moody and irresponsible, but adults can learn a lot from the part child, part not, enigmas living in their homes.

1. Love your self(ies). There are many critics of the selfie. It is used and abused. But, I like teens' attitudes towards pictures of themselves. My daughters comment very little on how they look in the picture. The important thing about the picture seems to be, “I was here,” — not, “How's my hair.” That's the attitude I need to have more often and not be afraid to put myself in the frame.

2. Keep in touch. While it is true that face to face interaction is important to building good, healthy relationships, texting and social media can keep those relationships afloat. Teens are experts at keeping in touch. Social media helps me keep-up on the lives of friends from my past and keep close tabs on my family. Sometimes, it's easiest to reach out in a quick post, text or email.

3. Read. Teens may groan about the classic literature or current events clips they are forced to read, but reading is the best way to learn about people and places just out of reach. Reading not only educates people about the facts of the world we live in, but the ideas and feelings of those who live there.

4. Never underestimate comfort. Teens are famous for playing favorites. Whether it's a sweatshirt, tv show, reading spot or a cup or hot cocoa, embrace what makes you feel relaxed and in control. Life is stressful, give yourself a little pick me up with some of your favorite things.

5. Be patient. On the surface, it may seem teens are an impatient lot, but they are experts as taking life as it comes their way. What happens in a teen's life each day is still largely dependant on teachers, coaches, parents and other adults. They are always waiting for someone to drive them somewhere or decide how much homework they have, and (mostly) handle what's thrown their way without too much complaining.

6. Forgive freely. I've made some pretty big mistakes in parenthood (one even resulting in the death of a hamster.) My kids forgive me. When I get cranky, that's OK. Most teens are also more likely to forgive friends' mistakes or perceived slights from acquaintances (with or without apologies) than adults. Everyone makes mistakes, just let them go.

7. Reinvent yourself often. Whether it's a new haircut, style of clothes or favorite activity, teens embrace change. Adults could learn a thing or two about letting go of the past and trying something new. Have you always wished you were one of those people who . . . ? Well, go ahead and do it, already.

8. A little kindness goes a long way. It's a harsh world, and a kind word can make a big difference to someone. I'm not saying there are no bullies or mean girls out there, but I think most teens get the picture that kindness costs you nothing, but can mean everything.

9. Don't be afraid to try. I have a list in my head of things I already know I am, or am pretty sure I would be, horrible at. My teens haven't turned on this filter, yet. They're not afraid to try.

10. Adventure is out there. Most often, teens look at each day as one with possibilities. They find adventure in meeting new people, trying new things and even appreciate the excitement in things gone wrong. They're experts at enjoying every- day life. Whether it involves where to hang out after school, where to go to college or places they'll visit far in the future, my teens love to make plans. No matter how old you are, life is full of everyday adventures and the future is full of opportunity. Make some plans of your own.

Megan Wallgren is a freelance writer and mother of four energetic children. She blogs about how to wear them out at kinetickids.blogspot.com.

Adventure is out there. (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Don't be afraid to try. (Photo: Shutterstock.com) A little kindness goes a long way. (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Reinvent yourself often. (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Forgive freely (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Patience is power. -Fulton J. Sheen (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Never underestimate comfort. (Photo: Shutterstock.com) A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. -George R.R. Martin (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Keep in touch. (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Love yourself(ies). (Photo: Shutterstock.com) Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.  Franz Kafka (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

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10 things I’ve learned from my teenagers