10 Reasons Why Teenagers Are Better Than Toddlers

I have something to say about having teenagers and it doesn’t involve seeing a psychiatrist, therapist, or any other mental health professional. In fact, it’s just the opposite: I like having teens! There are currently three of them in my house (and one 20-year-old). Contrary to what many assume about the mercurial nature of these pre-adults, they make my life  more fun and, GASP!, relaxed than I ever could’ve imagined. Having been through the terrible twos and beyond, I can promise you that teens are way, way better. Here are 10 reasons why:

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  • Birthday parties are easier 1 of 10
    Birthday parties are easier
    When you have a toddler you are more apt to worry about making sure that all the relatives are invited and that cousins near the same age get to celebrate with them. With teens you simply throw a $20 bill at them and hand over the car keys and say, "Have a good night. Drive carefully." Party favors are a thing of the past.
    Photo credit: ciro/Flickr
  • They can do errands 2 of 10
    They can do errands
    Do you realize that I haven't had to leave the house for an extra gallon of milk or another loaf of bread since the teenagers have gotten their driver's licenses? Pretty soon I hope to train the boys to also pick up tampons for me.
    Photo credit: wxmom/Flickr
  • They can carry a conversation 3 of 10
    They can carry a conversation
    Not only are teenagers more interesting to debate issues with, but when you watch the national news on television they will have opinions and questions about really important matters and you get to see them shape and form right in front of you.
    Photo credit: PageDooley/Flickr
  • I like their music more 4 of 10
    I like their music more
    Since music is a big part of our lives at home, this one is enormous for me. When my children were toddlers we listened to a lot of Disney soundtracks. If I never hear: "Got a whale of a tale to tell you, lad, a whale of a tale or twoooooo" again, then I will consider myself lucky. As my children have moved into their teens they are far more receptive to buying their own Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder and then sharing with their friends this "awesome new music" that they are just now getting into.
    Photo credit: kk/Flickr
  • Theyre up for trying new foods 5 of 10
    Theyre up for trying new foods
    Hey, I get it that toddlers are picky eaters and you kind of have to feed them, but when they are teenagers (with jobs!) and they don't like what you've prepared for meals they are more than welcome to go get it elsewhere. A phrase popular with moms of teens (okay, with me) is this: "This is not Burger King. You cannot have it your way. You will have it my way or not at all." This doesn't work with toddlers at all. Another benefit to this is that they can make their own sandwiches, which will happens ALL THE TIME and you'll be out of bread. No matter. Send them to the store for more.
    Photo credit: AntiguaDailyPhoto/Flickr
  • They can earn money and they will not eat it 6 of 10
    They can earn money and they will not eat it
    Jobs, people! They can have jobs and disposable incomes and buy whatever the hell kind of deodorant and shoes they want because JOBS, Y'ALL. They can have them. See also: the ability to pay for things mentioned in number 5.
    Photo credit: JohnCohen/Flickr
  • You can sleep more 7 of 10
    You can sleep more
    Remember sleep? The kind you had before those babies came along? The kind that eluded you because someone needed a drink of water at 9:30 and then had to pee at 11:30 when you were supposed to be well into your REM cycle? You can have it again when they are teenagers. Except you WILL have to stay up later until they get home. But that's okay. The next day you can sleep in.
    Photo credit: AlanCleaver/Flickr
  • No more summer camp 8 of 10
    No more summer camp
    Summer camps and water sports and lessons, oh my. Look, my children did all these play dates as toddlers, too, but I never liked the kind of people that attracted. Moms competing with each other and dads hell bent on ensuring that their kid beat my kid at t-ball. All of that stuff is over when they're teenagers because they're either really good at baseball now or they've given it up to play pick up games of basketball at the park. This goes in the Winning column.
    Photo credit: KazzPoint0/Flickr
  • Stupid stuff still makes them laugh 9 of 10
    Stupid stuff still makes them laugh
    They know how to have a good time with you and with their friends and they laugh at inappropriate things. Like farting. It's still funny. That one is kind of good on both ends of toddlers and teens. PUN. Fart jokes are always hilarious. I keep wondering if I will ever outgrow this stage.
    Photo credit: KazzPoint0/Flickr
  • You don’t have to read them the same book over and over and over 10 of 10
    You don't have to read them the same book over and over and over
    Summer reading is fun again. It's not like I hated reading The Monster at the End of This Book twelve times a day to my toddlers. I had it memorized within the first month of buying the book. But teenagers will read really great authors and start to have meta conversations about what they're reading. Book discussions in my house went from Everyone Poops (and why mommy won't let you in the bathroom when she's doing it) to deconstructing characters from great works like Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (which my youngest just finished). See? Teens are great.
    Photo credit: ciro/Flickr


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