Kids, Life, Parenting

A list of thoughts: teen related

1) Driving carpool is interesting.

I had to pick up Ethan and 3 other 14-year-old boys from basketball yesterday. All of a sudden, I kind of felt like I was driving a van full of men. Out of the blue, their voices are deeper, their conversations are no longer so juvenile…. hmm. This is interesting and very different. Ethan is still on the smaller side, but he has drastically and suddenly changed in the last few months, too. He has grown almost 4 full inches since March.

2) Bedtime with teenagers is challenging.

It seems darn near impossible to get the boys IN BED before 10 p.m. these days. I know they say teens are “wired” to be up later…. I guess I’m feeling like this is true? No matter how hard we try to make it earlier, around 10 p.m. just seems to be their natural time to want to turn in (or slightly after..). Last night we weren’t even all home from indoor soccer/ swim until almost 9 p.m. Then showers…. plus then they took turns rotating into my room to “chat” on my bed, where I had already tucked myself in to just chill for a bit with the local news on TV + my book. Apparently 9:30-10 p.m. is also their preferred time to sort of randomly putter around the house?! Do I fight this? Embrace/ allow this? I don’t know. 🤷‍♀️

3) My 14-year-old seems completely uninterested in any “planning” study skill techniques, and it drives me crazy- and worries me with high school on the horizon!

Ethan starts high school next year, but I seriously feel worried that he has no real concept of how to organize his life. I swear that at his age I diligently filled out a spiral assignment notebook every single day, crossed assignments off as I completed them, etc. And I liked it. 🤓

I do not think he ever writes an assignment down. 🤯 We talk about it, and he says he just looks at the white board and then remembers. UMMMMM. Please, child. You are killing me here.

I try to explain that that will likely not work in high school…. or as a, you know, adult, with actual responsibilities!! He doesn’t seem to buy it, and seems completely uninterested in discussing it further.

Again, I’m mystified. I guess this may be one of those things he’ll have to learn from the School of Hard Knocks?? Maybe when he misses his first high school assignment, he’ll figure this out?? Hopefully? (Anyone have tips? Do I push this? Ignore this? Let it ride? I’m clueless.)

Please, Cal, I hope you wrote something in this book about being organized and keeping a calendar or to do list?!

Okay, have a lovely Friday and a lovely weekend. It’s a 3 day weekend for me!! We have the MLK Jr. Holiday off. And the boys don’t have school, either.

Asher has an overnight birthday party tomorrow night + tubing at a ski hill on the docket (LUCKY KID!) plus, his swim friend group is having their belated Christmas Secret Santa exchange party on Monday. We still need to run tomorrow and find a gift for the person whose name he pulled- a 14 year old girl! Yikes. I hope I can help steer this one. I know this particular girl seems to like makeup already, so I was thinking of maybe going to Ulta or Sephora and asking them for a rec for some kind of fun product for her??! Or like, a makeup case or something? Asher has no clue what to get if she doesn’t want video game stuff. 😂 I suppose a gift card is always a safe bet, too, but he seems to want to get something that can be wrapped up. This is so not my area of expertise anymore, either… any teen girl moms have suggestions?

Ethan has two basketball games, and I will be taking down the Christmas stuff- finally!!! It’s happening. It’s time. It was time a while ago, but it’s really time now. 🙂

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for a long weekend. A 3 day holiday with NO ACTUAL HOLIDAY plans/ events/ things I have to do sounds amazing.

4 thoughts on “A list of thoughts: teen related”

  1. Ohh I do have thoughts. My almost 13 year old daughter is obsessively organized, to the point where I think she could benefit from massively chilling out. She will do things like hand me a piece of paper where she has written a friends parent’s phone number on it, and then stare at me until she sees me enter it into my phone. Bless her heart 🙂 It also drives her insane to see the way that some of her friends manage (or don’t, as the case often is) their responsibilities, ALREADY – at not even 13. She can’t WAIT until she can have a job, she loves doing 100 things at a time, she VOLUNTARILY organized our entire kitchen, etc.

    And then….. there are my sons. There is certainly some birth order stuff going on here, and age – but my middle son (10, almost 11) he very much sounds like Ethan. He’s a smart kid so he just does well, and is still in elementary school so there are a million reminders to do everything. I’m fascinated to see what happens to him in middle school! He’s very much an absentminded space cadet type, so…. it’s going to be a struggle. My youngest is only 7, so it’s tough to say how he’ll be yet but he seems more like my other son than my daughter.

    I do think that there is not one right/best way to organize tasks – a physical planner/check-list works for some people but not for others. I don’t use one at all, and I never(rarely!) forget to do anything. I rely on my email inbox and google calendar to remember to do things, but even if I make a checklist, I won’t return to it to actually … check things off, so it’s basically meaningless.

    I just did an enneagram training at work and it was fascinating – I love thinking about personality and how it plays into executive functioning and task management. I think let him develop a system that works for him, and IF it becomes a problem, then he can brainstorm some solutions. He will figure it out! Ultimately, it’s something that the individual has to decide they want to do on their own, or else it probably won’t stick anyway.

    As for the gift for the 14 year old girl! Here are some random non-makeup things that my daughter loves: starbucks travel mug/cups, cute stickers for water bottles, this silly little light up duck for her room (??? who knows – here’s the link:, LED lights, picture frames, fun pens/markers, earrings…..


  2. Posts about teens are fascinating to me sine that is a ways off for me. It is going to be a huge adjustment when my kids are up later because ideally my lights are off at 9:30. But Phil is more of a night owl than me (and by night owl I mean he’s up until 10-10:30! Ha! I know that is going to be “early” for some people.). I’m more of an early bird so maybe he will manage our teens at night and I’ll handle the mornings, although by then they probably won’t be up so early unless they HAVE to be!

    I think the planning thing is kind of a gendered thing. I have heard that executive functioning abilities are so different for boys and not something they can necessarily learn from their parents? Like they need some natural consequences, like forgetting an assignment. I was always very very very organized since it’s in my nature, but I will say I did not have to work hard at all in HS and barely studied. My parents warned me that I was going to have a big adjustment in college. And they were right – it was way more challenging and required way more out of me. But I did not have access to AP classes and things like that since I went to a tiny K-12 school in my tiny town of 500 people. But I had the executive functioning skills to handle college. And boy did I love getting a syllabus at the start of a semester and writing in all the due dates/tests in my planner!! 🙂 We sound VERY similar! I bet Ethan will figure it out, though, and at least he’ll be challenged while he is still under your roof. I think it’s harder when someone is challenged for the first time when they go to college and then they have allll this other stuff to distract them/no rules/etc.

    I am no help for the teen girl gift! I am always pro gift card with maybe a lip gloss or something like that thrown in? Or at Target right now, they have these “slipper socks” in the accessories area. That is what I got my favorite things gift exchange with my college girlfriends. I love things like that as i will often throw them in my purse and wear them when we go to other people’s houses since I am always so dang cold! I bet a cute necklace would be a hit and Target has really upped their accessory game IMO!


  3. I will be definitely worried if reaching to that stage and it seems so different to what you think he should be doing. I’m few years behind you so I’d be intrigued to learn the “tricks” or really just let it be. I’ve heard that boys mature later than girls so that might also be a factor.
    late night bed time, I’ve read that they are wired that way too, in a book about teenager brains. I guess we’ll have to accept that it’s a biological stage.


  4. Mmh, I think as a natural planner (who writes/tracks things in multiple places LOL), I can see that it freaks you out that Ethan is nonchalant about keeping a to-do list, but I guess one of two things will happen a) he’s wired differently and truly doesn’t need a list (or will adopt some sort of system for himself) or b) he will learn it the hard way, forget something important, and learn his lesson. Either way, I wouldn’t fret it too much at this point.


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