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Monday

The dos and do nots of raising teens:

There are some real advantages to when the little ones grow into teens, don't laugh-I am being completely serious.  There are no more sticky fingerprints on the fridge and walls, I no longer have to mop the kitchen three times a day, check for bees living in bedrooms or discover that the last load of laundry I did contained a pocket full of (frogs, markers, toffee, flowers, ants, licorice, coupons, valentines, homework, phone numbers, w.h.y).  In fact the time I spend daily doing housework is under a half hour, cuz we all (mostly) clean up our own messes (mostly).  The teens do their own laundry with little nagging required (and my husband/partner has been sighted in the laundry room lately as well).  My work load was drastically reduced although I did not notice it happening until voila! Here we sit, I didn't cook dinner (not my night to cook), no one left their dishes for me to pick up, no one needs pants/socks/underwear/towels in a panic and no one needs me to drive them to ballet/soccer/therapy/school/speech.
I work on the sly, these days, using teachable moments to cover those social deficits for NotSoLittleMan (who should be renamed TowerOverTheMotherChild as he is a good two inches taller than I am) and his sister and I also benefit from those moments.
What I have noticed though, is that the rules have changed.  And no one sent me a memo.  So in my usually tardy and tongue in cheek fashion I thought I would share what I have noticed as far as the dos and do nots of raising teens (particular if one is ASD).
The Dos
DO Be sure to stock up on lots of food. And by lots I mean enough for a pack of starving wolves.
DO Still check their back pack for moldy sandwiches, crumpled homework and notes from the teachers.
DO expect a surly tone at any time without rhyme or reason.
DO update your parenting to allow for freedom of surliness expression, freedom to make dumass personal choices, ability to argue negotiate, want it earn it freedom equals responsibility philosophy and later bedtimes.
DO Feed your teen an after school snack, before dinner snack, dinner, after dinner snack and bedtime snack.
DO Visually look at what they are wearing UNDER that ever present hoodie (Failure to comply with this rule can result in your son arriving at school in a Tshirt that is so small he looks like an eighties re-run)
Do Keep clothes that are two sizes bigger than your teen is on hand.  They can and will grow two sizes overnight the very same day you do not have any larger item available.
DO Insist on the same amount of hugs you were receiving the year before (failure to do this will result in all hugs being withheld for the rest of their teen years)
DO know that unless you want grandchildren you are better off having condoms in the bathroom cabinet-not very many teens will broach this subject BEFORE they need such items.

The Do Nots
DO NOT only stock up on carrots.  Feeding your teen only healthy choices will result in them getting out of bed at three AM to raid the freezer, fridge, pantry and dog food in order to achieve their million calorie per day requirement.
DO NOT try to eat the same foods they do unless you are competing against me in the 'mom who gained the most weight this winter' contest.
DO NOT let your teen catch you inspecting their backpack, although it seems fine (so far) to quiz them about what was found when they were not looking.
DO NOT notice the surly tone of voice in which everything is said.  Noticing this tone causes a parent to immediately scold for said tone which immediately backfires into a display of adolescent pouting and denial.  Trust me on this one.
DO NOT forget to update your husband/partner/nanny/wife/sister/therapist to the new parenting rules of 'pick your battles'. (oops, sorry honey)
DO NOT forget a feeding unless you are hoping to see the night of the living dead 3D.
DO NOT comment on their clothing choices, merely throw that nasty too small shirt, underwear, jeans, socks, shoes, hat, W.H.Y out when they are not wearing it.  (Make sure you have something else for them to wear!
DO NOT forget to talk to your teen!  If they won't come out of their cave bedroom bake cookies to lure them out.
DO NOT even hint that your teen was the result of sex you had with his/her other parent.
DO NOT use words that refer to nudity, body parts, intimacy, bodily functions or chores. and of course DO NOT laugh or giggle if your teen does use words that refer to nudity, body parts, intimacy, bodily functions or chores.
DO NOT count the condoms in the bathroom cabinet and then tease your teen mercilessly when one condom is removed from said cabinet (This has not happened here, I don't count them!)

I have had to keep my humour intact at all times since becoming a parent to a teen, and I have found this even more vital since I found myself with two teens in the house (my daughter is a year older than NSLM so at the moment I am the proud momma of a 14 year old and a 13 year old, plus of course my oldest who is out on his own.)
Way too much fun  :)

HUGS and laughter,
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