As a kid, 13 was my favorite number.
Until I actually turned 13, and then it was 16. And then 18. And then, 21.
But, 13 was the first age I remember being eager to reach.
I’m not sure what I thought would happen when I hit the magical teen years, but you can rest assured that none of them came to fruition.
It was really just another year. An awkward, largely unmemorable year. Just like 16 and then 18 and then 21.
In fact, the only thing I recall about year 13 was that it was the year I met my best friend. She didn’t like me until about 14, but that’s a story for another day.
Other than that…
Thirteen was as basic as 12.
Good luck convincing 12 year olds of that fact. As my middle son nears the age, he too is pretty convinced that it will in some way be epic.
When he starts with the I-can’t-wait-to-turn-13 thing I want to be all…
Sorry homie, nothing will be different. Just because you can officially use social media sites without lying about your birthday, I will still be the boss of you.
But, good, supportive, non-dream crushing mama that I am, I’ve decided instead to use this milestone as a celebration.
And not the kind where I’m forced to throw an overdone party that is as expensive as it is exhausting.
I’m thinking more of a celebration of him and this wonderful time in his life, wherein I impart a bunch of awesome knowledge and he pretends to cherish it while also forgetting it just moments after I say it.
Because that’s what parenting teens is like, right?
Some of them are good at faking it, but in reality, most of them don’t listen to the old, wise parent because we don’t know anything about anything.
They’re convinced that time changes all things so dramatically that they’re not even to be recognized, let alone understood.
Like me as a 13 year old was soooo long ago and soooo vastly different that there is no way I can even sympathize, let alone advise, them on anything about living life as a teen.
Just like when my mom was busy telling me 2Pac was a thug (although, still convinced she was wrong about that. He was misunderstood, like most great philosophers.).
I wasn’t trying to hear that noise.
That’s the thing about parenting teens though -it’s discouraging.
It’s hard to keep dropping knowledge on them when they’re not listening.
And that’s what makes good parents great, we don’t let a few eye rolls and lip smacks get in the way of our guidance.
Parenting Teens: 20 Things You Should Probably Say to Your 13 Year Old
It’s not that we don’t understand you.
It’s just that we love you so much sometimes we forget. We want you to be happy -we want you to have fun. We just want you to be safe more.
The dumb stuff they teach you at school isn’t totally dumb.
Unless you’re talking about trig. That crap is dumb. Because, as a grown up with a job that does not have the word math in the title, I have never once busted out my trig skills. And that’s not just because I left them in high school with my waistline and my Lipsmackers. It’s because NO ONE USES TRIG. In fact, I’m not even sure I know what trig is.
Being the best student and the best athlete and the best son doesn’t matter as much as being the best you does.
But, if you want to rock that being a son thing, I can’t say any mom or dad anywhere is gonna complain.
Especially not me.
It’s okay to be different.
Different from others, different from us, different from the you were two days ago. You’re figuring this thing out and that’s cool.
You’re going to forget most of this.
Along with 90% of every thing else that happens to you when you’re 13. Know what that means? Nothing that is stressing you out now is nearly as important as it seems. I know that sounds like me “not getting it”, but I swear it’s me “being and old person who already lived through it and has proof”.
You’re not fat.
And your body is a temple.
The person you’re crushing on could be the love of your life.
But, chances are, they aren’t even the love of this school year. You know that whole lots of fish in the sea thing? TOTALLY true.
But, you’re not special. You’re not any more important than any other kid, no matter how they dress, or act, or anything. The fact that you’re an awesome student or an awesome athlete or the lucky owner of naturally awesome hair does not mean that you’re worth more than those who struggle in these areas. This is a lesson in entitlement, and I want you to learn it as well as you learn the one about it being cool to not be “cool”.
Want to know what other moms wish someone had told them at 13?
Here are a few choice comments from my DudeMom Facebook page to help you on your parenting teens journey…
Stay 13 forever. -Breann H.
Dream big. Do not allow adults to tell you that your dreams are not possible! –Alissa E.
Don’t eat what’s under the sofa. Catrina W.
Don’t ever be a jerk to your parents. Jennifer H.
Life as you know it is really a “small pond”….there is a huge ocean awaiting you. Don’t sweat the “popular” kids & fitting in…be you & do you. –Norma K
Don’t give a hoot what other kids/people think about you. You are loved by the people that matter. And that’s all that matters. –Deana A.
Do the things you love. Listen to your heart and don’t lose your childhood creativity. –Adanna D.
Everything is temporary – braces, glasses, zits, and that unfortunate hair cut. –Kim H.
Once you start shaving you can never stop. –Sarah W.
Remember that people can be idiots -ignore them. -Nancy H.
Read all of the advice here: What Moms Would Say to Their 13 Year Old Selves