Parenteen Magazine (I could be on to something here..)

Last Sunday night I found myself at the grocery store at 10 o’clock p.m., with a basketful of snacks and lunch items that my teen had requested for the upcoming week. As I stood in line with all the other parents who were making a last minute dash to stock up weekday food for their growing families, I couldn’t help but glance longingly at the innocent stack of juice boxes, goldfish crackers, grapes, and peanut butter that a toddler-toting mother was unloading at the check-out stand. I sheepishly grinned as she eyed my pile of organic frozen pizzas, Odwalla protein-smoothie jugs, super-sized trail mix bags, & free-range steaks…”Teenagers. They’ll eat you out of house and home.” I murmured. She flashed a sympathetic smile and turned her attention back to her purchase. I picked up a parenting magazine and begin to thumb through it, eager to distract myself from the impending transaction that was sure to set me back at least $100. Flipping through the glossy pages, I realized that not one single article was written for parents of teenagers. I reached for another magazine and found the same thing. They all cover issues from pre-conception to the tween years, but stop abruptly at the ages and stages of school-age children. As if our children leave elementary school and arrive neatly and safely into adulthood. If only it were that simple. That got me thinking: Why aren’t there magazines marketed to parents of teenagers? What would a “Parenteen” magazine look like, anyhow?
 Perhaps articles on recipes for picky teenage eaters would be difficult to write, as 15-years olds are unlikely to be motivated to eat a “Kale-boat” just because it’s shaped like a ship and given a cutesy name. Most parenting magazines have a section entitled “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” or some variation of  that, where parents can recount the endearing/humourous things that their children say. I can only imagine what that section would be called in a ‘Parenting for Teens’ magazine. Might I suggest: “OMG, My Teen Spoke to ME,” which would be full of one-syllable quotes such as, “Fine,” “Good,”, or  “WHAT???” How about a “Text & Chat Acronym Translator” to help befuddled parents keep abreast on the ever-changing language spoken by technology laden teens? Other possible ideas would be highlights such as:
 – “Help Them Grow”-  pointers and insights related to your increasingly autonomous offspring, and how you can attempt to guide them into adulthood even as they struggle to differentiate themselves from you in every way possible
-“Can You Help?”- suggestions from readers about how to handle a common problem, such as “bad-influence” friends, bullying issues, balancing homework/sports/work/social life, and how to afford college in this jacked-up economy
– Suggestions to keep your child busy in the house (other than TV & video games)-  This used to be my favorite part of parenting magazines, as I loved replicating the games, crafts and other engaging activities with my little-ones. Problem with teens is, you can’t just hand them a glob of scented play-dough and expect them to stay out of trouble. 
– An Emergency Guide pull-out for dealing with various situations like: What to do when your child comes to you and tells you they are sexually active (Do you completely freak-out and ground them for life? Or do you acknowledge their developing sexuality in a way that neither shames nor encourages them. Trust me, there is no easy answer for this one.) Or perhaps, How do I help my child cope with their first broken heart?
– “Teen Style & Fashion Guide”- A section that will showcase all the clothes you WISH your child would wear, and paper dolls that you can dress in lieu of buying the actual outfits, since your teen could really care less what your style preference for them might be.
 Okay, so maybe a parenting magazine for teens would not be an easy sell. Living with a teenager is not exactly cute or endearing. The adolescent years can be trying for parents, as we seek to adjust to the fact that not every ouchie can be fixed with a band-aide, and our hand may not be the first our child reaches for when they are in need of comfort. Our little people are becoming adults, and we are expected to walk beside them—-but not too close—every step of the way as they navigate  through a journey that is sure to have some bumps along the way.
As I watch toddler-toting mother walk out of the store with her bag of goldfish and fruit snacks, I feel a twinge of nostalgia for the simpler days when I could carry my boy with me everywhere— safe, under my watchful eye. And man, that nostalgia really hit home when my grocery total came up to a whopping $115.23. What I would give for the days when that kid could survive on yogurt, wheat thins, and carrot sticks…

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