Inside: Today’s teens are stressed. Giving them space just to let go and not worry about their future is a gift that keeps on giving.
I did not buy my daughter a 17th birthday present.
Nope. I spent $200 on junk food and went into my room, and closed the door.
Because she wanted a Junk Food Party.
That’s right. In a world where our kids can ingest all the adult things by the time they can access a screen, there is still a slice of adolescent humanity that craves pajamas and fuzzy socks, an obscene amount of sugar and salt, and a night left alone to stream movies with friends.
And that slice is about the size of a slice of thin-crust veggie pizza (or four), plus pie-sized servings of cookie cake.
Teens often want to keep it simple.
Midlifers, for 17, I bought cookies and cupcakes and the aforementioned cookie cake.
I set out chips and dip and popcorn and soda.
Pizza, donuts, muffins and – because I am not a monster – precut fruit.
And I asked that they clean-up before bed, which amounted to putting the picked-over fruit back into the fridge.
And friends, that feels about right for 17.
The world pushes our kids to grow up too fast
In this season, when young people are on the cusp of the rest of their lives and are often unreasonably asked to declare majors, careers, and deep thoughts on a universe they’re just beginning to realize exists, thank God that there is still space for a Junk Food Party.
I mean it.
Thank God for the homes that welcome the piles of shoes kicked off at the front door.
Thank God for the community that can exhale together in a pile of blankets and fuzzy socks.
And thank God for kids who are confident enough to achieve ridiculous things at school and work and sports and who also, apparently, like Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough balls, because my refrigerator is full of them this morning.
Let’s not rush teens out of their childhoods
My dear Midlifers, if you are one of the multitudes of parents of students everywhere who are out of steam or hanging-on through the gradation season, or if you are right in the middle of your being asked to show up for the last everything-before-school-gets-out or your kids are cramming for final exams, I boldly suggest adding one empty-calorie event:
A Junk Food Party.
I’m convinced it meets a need for fulfillment in our teens that all the extracurriculars and test prep and prom-shoe shopping and school visits do not.
At least according to the sugar coma-induced sleep that followed in my house.
Looking for a fun game to play for a teen party?
We love this Minute of Fun/237 Challenges to get everyone off their phones and into the game.
Raising teens and tweens is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Here are some other posts parents found helpful.
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