6 things you really shouldn’t say to moms with teenagers

A parent basically has to muddle her way through the 18-plus-year adventure, rubbing her eyes from the sleep deprivation. When you approach a mother in the wild, go easy. And maybe avoid these observations or questions when talking to a mom of teens.

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  • Babies don't come with a definitive instruction manual. Sure, advice can be found anywhere, from your mother-in-law or older ladies in the grocery store to expert blogs or books. But much of the information can be conflicting. No, a parent basically has to muddle her way through the 18-plus-year adventure, rubbing her eyes from the sleep deprivation and sometimes banging her head against the wall.

  • When you approach a mother in the wild, go easy. And maybe avoid these observations or questions when talking to a woman who has teenagers in her nest.

  • It's nice you get more sleep now

  • If you're still dragging through your days because of crazy infant and toddler sleep patterns, you may be jealous that an acquaintance with a teen no longer is getting up to feed a baby, change a diaper or snuggle after a nightmare involving flying vampire penguins. But if you think that means your friend is sleeping like a baby, you're dead wrong.

  • Whether a mother of a teen is staying up late waiting for a teen coming home from a late ball game, a date or a weekend job, or getting up early to make sure she's out of bed in time for school, her nights are hardly a dream come true. Give her a hug and share some eye drops.

  • Isn't it great they're almost out of the house?

  • When Junior is finding hitting the toilet a challenge or your preschooler somehow finds a marker with which to adorn the walls even though you're sure you've hidden every last one you own, some free time and a quieter house sound pretty darn good. College? YES!

  • But when your friend's teen actually is about to leave home, she may be reaching for the tissues more than she'd expected. Take her out for lunch. And make sure to pay the bill because she's facing a tuition bill. Have you started 529s for your young ones yet? Never mind, too late; they're already out of the womb.

  • You're lucky they can drive

  • When your children are in middle school or the first couple of years of high school and staying after for band practice or going to rehearsals every weeknight, you become the taxi driver. Being on call and ready to grab the car keys at the signal of a phone call or text is almost second nature, but you're getting pretty tired of not having more than an hour to go shopping or (gasp!) quietly read a book.

  • That friend, however, has a son with a driver's license. How wonderful that must be! You mention it, and she mentions her car insurance premium. Is it too late to start saving for that, too?

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  • At least they're not talking your ear off anymore

  • You remember being so thrilled at hearing those first sounds that formed into words: "mama" and "dada" and then whole sentences. Not long afterward, your toddler was constantly talking and asking "why?" All through the elementary-school years, she was giving you a running commentary of what was happening at school and with her friends and the characters of silly Disney shows. When will you finally have a few moments of quiet so you can think?

  • Your friend, however, smirks and sets you straight: she has no idea what's going on in her daughter's head. "How was your day?" "What did you do?" "What's wrong?" One-syllable answers rule the day, before she retreats into her room, pops on the headphones and becomes one with her iPod.

  • It's so unfair. Remember when we were that skinny?

  • Teenagers come in all shapes and sizes, as do adults. But even those of us who are softer around the middle in middle age tended to be leaner in high school. You can forget this when your little ones are babies with adorable chubby cheeks and thighs that are delightfully squishy. But when they become willowy teens, you start remembering you had that enviable shape once upon a time. To keep yourself and your friends with teens happy, just shut down that thought as soon as it hits.

  • Your son doesn't talk much, do you even know what your son has been up to?

  • Sure, he's playing baseball and tutoring, but what's he even doing in his room besides studying? (His mom hopes.) Eating a whole bag of Cheetos? Check. Throwing the crumpled piece of paper basketball-style just next to his trash can? Yup. But instead of reminding your friend of her lack of close interaction with her son, introduce her to some tools that will help her know what's happening in her child's social media life, since so much of his interaction is virtual.

  • VISR helps parents by notifying them of uncommon patterns in their children's social media usage. VISR can alert parents when their children face online bullying, when their children share inappropriate photos, or when their children participate in discussions online about depression or suicide. Download the app in the Apple Store or on Google Play today.

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Cathy Carmode Lim is the founder of RatedReads.com, a website that reviews books and gives them ratings according to content. She is also a copy editor and blogs at LifeandLims.com.

Website: http://RatedReads.com

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