Sweet sixteen or terrible teen?

I know it sounds mean to some but once a child becomes sixteen, they are on their own choosing who he or she will become. Until this age, parents can still teach their children right from wrong. After fifteen, it just turns into war!

We all know that when a kid hits their teens, they become the smartest people on earth. Smarter than their parents, teachers and anybody that is in their thirties or above, but especially their parents. We all know it because we were once there. It usually doesn’t take long to figure out why the old and not the young are considered the wise.

If all of us as parents understand this concept, why is it such a shock when it happens with our children? I believe we all want our children to be better than that. But if our children don’t go through this transformation from sweet and loving to the evil we all know they can become, does this become a issue later in life?

Teenage girl holding a sunflower up to one eye

We all have to learn what it means to grow up. This can be accomplished as a teenager, in our twenties and thirties or in some cases, never. I would rather have my child be an absolute terror in their teens than later in life.

I’m getting a little off subject here. I can’t help it because I have already been through the teenage years twice and working on two more as we speak. Back to why I’m writing this post…

Why is sixteen a huge mountain in our lives? For one, we are given greater freedom along with greater responsibility. The biggest of these of course is being able to drive. Jumping in the car and taking off to wherever it is we are going is a big responsibility but also gives us more freedom. Alas, it usually ends up showing us we aren’t quite as smart as we thought we were. Did you have to ask you dad for help fixing the car? Did you ask your mom for extra gas money? And this is just a small part.

Two teenage girls sitting on the roof of a car looking off in the distance

I’m no psychological genius by any stretch but as far as

dealing with teenagers, been there, done that. People usually believe that eighteen is the age that our kids become who they are but I believe it is at sixteen that humans determine who they will be. Good, bad, respectful or not. This is the mile stone that is a turning point in our lives.

Of course you can change after this age if you choose but it is completely up to you to change your mindset whether for good or bad. Eighteen is just an age the government sets for you to be a legal adult, but sixteen is where the big choices begin. At fifteen and under you are still considered a child whether you approve or disapprove of this title. One year later and all of the sudden you are starting to become a young adult.  Your not an adult but no longer a kid. Your stuck in the middle as they say.

There are many cultures that call upon the age of sixteen as a turning point. I never quite understood this line of thinking until I really started paying attention,  mostly through my own children but also through their friends. There is a very significant change that happens and it shows in the eyes. Pay attention parents at the blank stare or what I like to call ‘the dead eyes’. This blank stare usually starts between eleven and fourteen, however, the dead eyes are perfected at sixteen.

Two teenage boys. One looks away with a straight face and the other looks towards camera with a smile

Now during the sixteenth and seventeenth year, the eyes will either become clear or become more clouded and farther away.  This is the time when your almost young adult is deciding who he or she will become. For any parent, this is the scary time. We as parents hope we have instilled enough sense into our offspring that they will choose the right path. Of course, parents, it is truly out of your hands now. You can set curfews and take away the keys if they show up late, but they know there are only two years left until they can walk out the door and show you how dumb you really are.

Have you done everything right in raising your child? Of course not, we all make mistakes. Have you done the best you could? Ninety-five percent of the time the answer to this is usually a strong yes. So if you have done the best you could to raise your child to be that good man or woman, you have done your job. If your child becomes a jerk as an adult, it’s on them because of who they decided to be at the so-called sweet sixteen.

I really hate when some young adult does something that gets them in trouble  and people start whispering, “Probably had bad parents”. In some cases this is true but for the most part, it’s that sixteen year old deciding who he or she is going to be and has nothing to do with the parents.

I am up for any discussion you want to draw up either for or against what I have written here. I’m a open book as some might say. I wish you well and for those parents that have the sixteen and seventeen year old kids under your roof, I will say a silent prayer for you. Remember we are all in this together.

By C.S.I

United States Navy veteran, over the road truck driver, welder, plumber, truck driver trainer, sign installer and haulage truck driver for copper mine. After injury in mine (which retired me early in life) I am now blogging the wisdom I have learned through life, with hope of helping others using common sense and old school thought.

4 replies on “Sweet sixteen or terrible teen?”

To some degree, I think we (as a society) have it even more wrong. I’ve been reading some Louis Lamour books, and together with other history books, have realized more that, in our early history, kids grew up fast, taking responsibility. Twelve year olds, raised properly, are adults, but with that, comes responsibility. In other words, if a parent is willing to treat their tweleve year olds as adults, in part because the child also wants that, then the parent gives them more responsibility, but the child must also bear the brunt of consequences. You broke the lawnmower to mow lawns and start a small business, then you’ll have to sell your bicycle for the lawn mower parts. Or, if you’re going to be an adult, then why are you asking me to fix it? In older days, that’s how it was. The damage parents and society are doing is not holding their children responsible.

I really like your thoughts on this. One thing I will point out is in the days you are reading about, the average lifetime was only between thirty-five and forty-five years of age. This meant that children had to grow up faster due to a shorter life span. You are most definitely right about how responsibility plays a huge role. I believe part of the problem is parents that want others to raise their children for them i.e schools/government. Also throw in the fact that today most people don’t have to live off the land. Fathers don’t have to leave for six months at a time on cattle drives or to find work far away from home, leaving all farming to the wife and children. I think we are both seeing this in the same light. I have tried to show this view in a few different post, all leading in the same direction. Thank you so much for your response.

Our third and youngest girl is coming up on 16 (with angst and sweetness). It seems like the world has become so much more complicated after COVID and then you throw some tech and freedom in there and it’s overwhelming I think. I’m sure we all had what I refer to as teen crazy brain till at least 18 when all of our neuropathways have fully connected.

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