We’ve learned in our house that being 14 is hard.
When we’d only had one child that was 14 we thought it was just happenstance. Now that we’ve had two, I feel the evidence is a bit more concrete. And the fact that we will have merely 5 months break between one moving out of 14 and another taking up residence in it, well that has me downright terrified.
This is what I can surmise about 14 and why it might be so hard:
- They want to be an adult and a kid all at the same time. Here’s the thing, you don’t get to be both. 14 is like that awkward stage when the tadpole is still swimming around like a tadpole but also has these weird frog legs sprouting. It’s still sort of a tadpole. But it’s almost a frog. Which makes it sort of neither. This is what 14 is for our kids. They want to stay up late and watch shows their little siblings can’t, but they still don’t hang their towel up or remember to put their dishes away. They want to be respected and talked to in a mature and grown up way, and yet they still pull, “it’s not fairs,” out of the bag and stomp around while doing things. It’s tricky being a little bit little and a little bit big. It’s hard to be a tadpole/frog, okay?
- They don’t quite fit into their body yet. Let’s face it, the barely there moustache of 14 is both hilarious and creepy all at the same time. The fact that it’s not shaved away quite regularly enough also serves to prove point one. They’re old enough to have facial hair and yet not old enough to remember they need to get rid of it. It’s a conundrum. At 14 it’s also likely that their limbs have taken on a life of their own, rendering them bambi-like without even having to step on a frozen lake. Let’s not forget the glory of the voice cracks. 14 wouldn’t be complete without them. It’s hard to grow so much, okay?
- They notice that the opposite sex is THE OPPOSITE SEX! Okay, I know. Most of them knew this before but the truth is they didn’t really care all that much. Now they do. A lot. They notice them. They like attention from them. They get these feelings in their stomachs when they’re near. But they can’t do anything about it because they’re 14 and only have a bike and a 3 dollar allowance. It’s hard thinking girls are pretty, okay?
- They are tired all of the time. Let’s face it, if we were growing at the pace they were, while sprouting extra hair on all of the body parts, and having hormones surge at indy 500 pace around our bodies, we’d be tired too. In fact, I’m kind of tired just thinking about it. Being tired means our 14 year olds are a bit irritable, a bit irrational and a bit out of it a lot of the time. So, it makes sense that when we ask them to accomplish something huge, like, say – clean up their shoes, that they would roll their eyes, sigh, move in the direction of said shoes and then stop, stand there, and completely forget what they were supposed to do. It’s hard being tired all the time, okay?
- The words that come out of their mouth sound like words but they don’t add up to an understandable concept. You can try and follow and you might think that there’s going to be a point, at some point, but then there isn’t and you’re just left wondering what happened. Don’t worry about it or think too hard on it. It won’t be like this forever. Also, 14’s have a lot to say, until they don’t. And when they don’t, don’t try and make them say stuff because they won’t. Until they do, and then ……[start reading point 5 again]
The beautiful thing is that 15 is at most 364 days away and that means there is an end in sight. Hold fast, parents of 14’s. You can do it! In the meantime, think back on what you were like at 14 and go and apologize to your parents.