I initially thought that compelling myself to list at least 15 benefits to having our teens around would cause me severe migraine. But, after browsing through hundreds of pictures, reading lots of old letters and articles, and engaging in numerous positive conversations with my husband about our kids (You see how I had to prep myself to come up with this list?), I was able to do it. And I managed to write down, not just 15, but an incredible total of 30 advantages!
So, this second and final part to Adolescence 103: The Perks of Having Teens Around (Part 1) is a proof that, indeed, if we just put our heart and mind into something, nothing is impossible. 🙂
- Teens could be our reliable memory bank. At our age, memory may already be failing us. We tend to forget lots of things, and being the considerate children that they are, our teens are always there ready to give us a hand. They regularly remind me, for instance, about the allowance I forgot to give them, their personal hygiene needs I forgot to include in my shopping list, the dates of an all-nighter over at a groupmate’s place, or of the debut party they are invited to or of an org event they are required to attend. And, yes, the money I owe them. (Please refer to #15.)
- Teens could be our personal writing editor or grammar Nazi. In my case, it is my daughter, Lala, who helps me with my blog articles. She, without any trace of hesitancy or a hint of mercy, could reduce me to a bundle of nerves, figuratively tear my work into small, pathetic pieces, and turn my ego into a pulverized slab.
- Teens could provide us with a free front seat to their daily fashion show. When getting dressed for school, my daughter has an average of five changes before she finally settles on her OOTD. After shower, she’ll emerge from her room in her outfit #1. A little hair-patting here and there, then she’ll go back to her room. She goes out and sits on the table for breakfast in outfit #2. She goes back to her room and goes out again to brush her teeth in outfit #3. When done, she goes back in then out again to get her packed lunch and snacks in outfit #4. Finally, prompted by her father’s honking, she gets out of her room to leave for school in outfit #5. This daily show could leave me exhausted, annoyed and amused all at the same time.
- Teens could give us free vocal exercises. I start my weekday mornings with four soft little words – “Wake up. Wake up.” I do this at least two more times before they finally get off their beds. Forty-five minutes in their bathrooms, and I’ll start banging doors. “Hurry up. Breakfast is ready.” Amid animated and seemingly unhurried conversations around the table, I would go, “Hurry up and get dressed!” Another fifteen minutes in their rooms, and I’ll be hollering, “Hurry up, you’ll be late! Take your vitamins and get your lunch and snacks!” Ten more minutes arranging and rearranging their bags, and I’m already shouting, “Go! Go! You’re already late!!!” After they leave, I collapse into the nearest couch, heave my deepest sigh and whisper a quick prayer of thanks. Could there be a better way to strengthen one’s vocal cords and expand one’s vocal range?
- Teens could be part of our solid support group. After my husband’s kidney transplant, I decided to sign up as an organ donor under the “I’m A Lifeline” campaign. My kids showed their support to my advocacy by signing up, too. With my most recent project, this blog, I don’t know how many of their friends, classmates, orgmates, and schoolmates my children have already wrestled, coerced, paid or begged just to have them read and share my blog posts.
- Teens could make sure that we don’t get blocked tear ducts. Good or bad news, happy or sad occasion, warranted or not – mothers are known to be shedding tears all the time. Raising babies, though, involves more physical exertion so moms are not as prone to crying. Raising teens, on the other hand, is more of an emotional struggle so we tend to cry more often. And, in my case, that’s thrice the amount of tears I have to spill. So my tear ducts are not just free from possible blockage; they are working overtime.
- Teens could teach us the values of sharing and saving. Lala and I have almost the same shoe size and we tend to favor the same designs and colors in accessories, in the same way that Roel and the boys have pretty much the same shoe size, shirt size and taste in accessories. It’s not unusual, therefore, to see me wearing Lala’s sandals, Lala adorning her neck and wrist with my accessories, Roel wearing one of the boys’ shirts, and the boys sporting their father’s tops and sneakers. With just a few excellent mixing and matching and layering techniques, nobody would even notice that we’re just swapping things among us. A real money-saver.
- Teens could sharpen our debating and reasoning skills. Remember the terrible twos when all our toddlers could say was “No!”? We had no choice then but to simply grin and bear it. Now that we are the ones who always have to say “No!” to their ridiculous requests, demands and queries, grinning and bearing it is not in their vocabularies. Of course not. Nothing could be that simple with our teens. They have to make us defend our decisions and answer their rebuttals before they get to accept that that “no” is well-deserved, after all.
- Teens could turn us into instant Tito or Tita to many other teens. Our kids’ social skills could earn them their own army of myrmidons, a huge group of peers and a big circle of trusted friends. And when I happen to bump into those excitable teens, things could turn into a ruckus with everyone excitedly shouting at the top of their lungs, “Hi, Tita!” and scrambling to get close to me for that customary beso.
- Teens could be our daily source of news, stories and gossips. When the kids get home from school or when we’re all gathered around the dining table on weekends, our children would try to outshine each other with their animated versions of news they read online, stories about their day, and gossips they heard from someone in school. This is precisely the reason why very seldom do I feel the need to watch the news, listen to the radio or read the broadsheets. I have my free and reliable sources.
- Teens could be a testament that we are raising economically-boosting individuals. I don’t know about yours, but my kids are the consummate consumers. From every imaginable consumer product that teens nowadays cannot live without, to every brand available in the market today that they claim they need – my experimental teens have already used, tried and tested it all. All this buying exercise at our expense is putting an enormous hole in our pocket, but who’s complaining? (Ah, yes, I am.) A few short years from now, it’s going to be payback time!
- Teens could teach us to be prayerful. Time and again, I have emphasized that raising teens could be the most difficult challenge that parents have to face. It could be emotionally taxing and draining. It could reduce us to one big emotional mess, with nerves frayed and tempers constantly tattered. Oftentimes, we are left with no other recourse but to get down on our knees, pray like we have never prayed before and surrender everything to Him.
- Teens could be a reminder that we benefit (a little bit!) from all those taxes we pay. All my kids attended a government-owned high school – Lala in Philippine Science High School; and her brothers in Marcelo H. del Pilar National High School via its Engineering and Science Education Program, a special program for the most academically-endowed high school students in our province. So for each year of the entire secondary education of my three children, we only had to dish out ₱50 for each of them. Lala was even accommodated in Pisay’s dormitory for a minimal charge and was receiving a monthly stipend. For their college, two of my three children are currently studying in UP, a state university and considered the premier university in the land, for a much lower cost compared with that of its private counterparts. The two are also recipients of DOST academic scholarship grants.
- Teens could foster a closer and more romantic relationship between Mom and Dad. We, parents, can now have that vacation in Bali, or the Caribbean, or in Maldives or in France (in our case, it’s just good, old Boracay) that we’ve been dreaming of all these years, without having to worry about leaving our children behind. If our kids are old enough to decide for themselves, they are already old enough to fend for themselves, too. The state of the house we’d be going back to is a completely different matter, though.
- Teens could be our night-shift security guard. While the rest of us have already retired for the night and are taking the trip to Dreamland, our nocturnal kids are busy studying, updating their playlist, chatting with friends, watching movies online, playing games, or all of the above. They tend to be at their most active and productive during this particular time of the day.
Finally, it’s not all the time that our teens are in a bad, bratty, dramatic, uncommunicative mood. There are those few times that they are “normal”, and during those times, they could be very affectionate and warm and sweet. These moments could be extremely few and far between though (so we better savor them and bottle them up if we could). But when they come, all the past disagreements, worries, hurts, mistakes and doubts are instantly forgotten. And we are reminded how rewarding and fulfilling parenthood could be.