ADOLESCENCE 103: THE PERKS OF HAVING TEENS AROUND (Part 1)

I know, I know.

With my first two articles, Adolescence 101: Don’ts For Parents Of Teens and Adolescence 102: Things Teens Wish Their Parents Would Realize, Asap!, I quite managed to effectively establish the fact that raising teens could be every parent’s worst nightmare. That it could be the most difficult, the most dreadful, the most traumatic and the most potentially-damaging phase in our lives as parents. That it could leave us with permanent marks such as emotional scars, wrinkles, selective amnesia or, in worse cases, even psychological or mental trauma. That it could drain us of all our available resources – time, energy, money and positive disposition.

Convincing you, therefore, that having teenaged kids around could have its perks might be a tall task. But hey, what the heck! I am trying, anyway!

  1. Teens could be our most reliable gastronomy and culinary guide. Chef Gordon Ramsay has nothing on them when it comes to brutal frankness and candid honesty. When a certain dish does not meet their high standards, for instance, be prepared to hear a litany of complaints and commentaries. But, if they find something that particularly appeals to their discriminating palates, they could talk your ears off with endless oohs and aahs, high praises and compliments loaded with superlative adjectives.
  1. Teens could be our resident techies. While we are too absorbed in life’s various preoccupations, our teens are constantly honing their technological skills. And in today’s age of great and extensive technological advancements, we simply couldn’t cope without our teens’ seemingly indispensable assistance. I, for one, often find myself in need of rescue from a computer key that sometimes decides to defy my wishes and would, instead, take on a life of its own. And those files that magically disappear before my very eyes? No, I definitely cannot live without my techies.
  1. Teens could be our most important key to pop culture. Most of the folks I interact with belong to the same age and academic group as mine, and as such, have also limited knowledge of the things that are “in” today. Aside from the recurrent MRT/LRT breakdowns, the chronic and sometimes epic Metro traffic that could immobilize the entire city, and the usual source of mockery that is politics, I am virtually in the dark about the things that the ordinary Juans and Juanas are raving about. So, thanks to my kids, I know what DOTA, emo and jeje are, or what “idk”, “slr”, “ftw”, “yolo” and “bfn” mean, or how “hugot pa more” and “…pag may time” are correctly used. I became hooked with the YA books through my daughter, Lala. We learned to fall in long queues just to see Heneral Luna, That Thing Called Tadhana, the Twilight series, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, X-Men, Avengers and all the Marvel and DC movies that, according to our kids, are a definite must-see. I know a lot more about basketball, boxing and wrestling than I care to know. They are not fans but they have a pretty good idea why the Aldub mania is taking the country by storm. They are the ones who introduced me to glutathione, K-pop groups, Lee Min Ho, 9Gag, 1-Direction and, of course, the Jadine loveteam. I wouldn’t be on Facebook either if not for their prodding (Though, I’m sure, they regret that now!).
  1. Teens could be our personal fashion consultants. The world is really round. Whereas, just a few years ago, we were the ones deciding on everything for them, especially on their OOTDs, we now depend on their opinions where fashion is concerned. When going to the fitting room of the department store or of a boutique, I make sure that I’m always accompanied by my daughter, while Roel by any one of our boys. Long gone are the days when Roel and I would holler for each other from inside the fitting cubicle to ask, “How’s this?” or “Well, whatcha think?”. It’s now the kids that we turn to for objective – albeit sometimes insensitively delivered – opinions and advice.
  1. Teens could be great floor cleaners. Every single inch of the floor area of our house is fully utilized. Dirty clothes (their laundry hamper is like an invisible fixture to our kids), shoes (shoe cabinets are always almost empty), used towels (towel rods and hooks in the bathrooms are rendered useless), guitars (I’m not sure if my son even knows that his guitars have cases) and school things (apparently, their bags and study tables are reserved for other stuff) are strewn all around. There’s no more space, therefore, for dust, dirt and cobwebs to settle in.
  1. Teens could be an extra hand around the house. We don’t have a housekeeper and when I started blogging, my to-do list has suddenly turned into a mile-long scroll. Hence, a substantial part of our weekends are reserved for household chores. Each member of our family has assigned tasks that he should be able to complete before he is allowed to even get a whiff of whatever it is I am preparing in the kitchen.
Eye rolling, one of our teens' many annoying skills
                           Eye rolling, one of our teens’ many entertaining skills
  1. Teens could be a great and entertaining diversion when things get boring. Consider their many skills – eye-rolling, arm-crossing in defiance, eyebrow-raising, jaw-setting to a grimace, long-suffering sighs, stomping of feet, slamming of doors, talking monosyllabically, playing deaf – the list could go on and on and on. There are behaviors that need immediate rectification, and there are those that are harmless and are only meant to get our attention. As long as the behavior doesn’t involve in-your-face disrespect or compromise anyone’s safety, it is advisable to just ignore it. Or, better yet, enjoy it!
  1. Teens could be our almanac, dictionary, atlas, encyclopedia, yearbook, reference book and, yes, even bible rolled into one. They are a bunch of know-it-alls that could render Mr. Google unnecessary. My son, Emar, who loves reading about (and sharing) trivia has this funny habit of beginning his sentences with “Alam mo ba?….” (“Do you know?….”) And he usually pops this question out of the blue.
  1. Teens could be the show-stopping referees between bickering parents. But, beware. Unlike the sports referees, our kids are not known to promote fairness. They could give verdicts and take sides based on whose win they could benefit more from.
  1. Teens could take us places we’ve never been. There are lots of places they need to go to, either for academically-related activities or social functions. And since we are constantly at their disposal as their chauffeur (or risk worrying our pretty little heads if we let them take public transpo or hitch a ride with someone else), we are in for a lot of sight-seeing. All this chauffeuring could also prepare us for a possible moonlighting job or post-retirement occupation as a cab driver.
  1. Teens could be effective kitchen cleaners. They could eliminate food off our dining table, fridge and pantry in a jiffy. As if the sight of leftover food is a personal insult to their eating prowess, they always make sure that the kitchen is free of any evidence of food.
  1. Teens could be our fountain of opinions and advice. A deep and inexhaustible fountain. What gives them the confidence to dish them out generously, you ask? Please refer to #8.
  1. Teens could bring us good value for money. All my teens are enrolled in Globe Telecom’s unli-call-and-text postpaid plans, and with them using their mobile phones until the wee hours of the morning, these plans are fully maximized. Not a single centavo is wasted.
Teens could be our devoted exercise partners.
                                       Teens could be our devoted exercise partners
  1. Teens could be our constant travel buddy, voracious eating companion, intellectual sounding board, devoted exercise partner, opinionated shopping pal, dashing event escort, and trusted confidant. We should try to maintain a close relationship with our kids. They are, after all, the ones who would choose and pay for our nursing homes, funeral homes and memorial parks when the time comes. They will also be the ones to write our epitaphs and deliver eulogies in our honor.
  1. Teens could be our personal creditor. Need instant cash? Look no further. Our teens have a stash that they accumulated through all the birthdays and Christmases past, year after year. It continues to grow with all the allowances they are able to save because they wisely bring to school packed lunch, water and snacks. From our very own kitchen.

Believe it or not, after racking my brain to the point of being almost brain dead, I was able to list a total of 30 benefits to having these pesky creatures around. And since this article has become quite lengthy (Coming from me, believe me, it must REALLY be long!), I decided to publish this in two installments. The first one, I am publishing today. The final part would be available to you next week.

Finally, if you have something more to add to this list, feel free to leave me a message. If it has not yet found its way to the next installment, I will gladly include it there.

Happy reading! Happy sharing!

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