Monday, February 04, 2013

The Teen Years - Different, Not Easier

As our eldest has grown into the teenaged years, our concerns and parenting challenges have of course changed. There are different worries and different triumphs than we are experiencing with Little Boo.

For instance, we no longer have to worry about what or if he's eating. Is he getting enough nutrition to keep him healthy? Heck yeah. He's eating us out of house and home. So, as long as we keep healthy options around, he'll be great. He has a teenaged boy's metabolism, plays football and rugby in season, and walks half an hour each way for school every day.  He's doing just fine.

And, that right there. He can get himself places now. He walks or takes transit. We are no longer chauffeurs. Wouldn't that be embarrassing anyway? Dad dropping him off at his friend's place or the movies? Not going to happen. (I totally remember walking over an hour to get to parties and various gatherings at his age. And home again the same way. Where does the energy go?)

Soon, he'll even be able to chauffeur us (and his kid brother!) Yes, one of the great joys and fears with a teen child is the new-found freedom of a driver's license. Our Teen is taking lessons now, and will hopefully be licensed by this coming summer. (Stay off the sidewalks!)  This development led of course to an additional concern - insurance. When he was going for his learner's permit (G1 in Ontario), we contacted our insurance provider to find out what we needed to know. We found out that your Ontario auto insurance will cover your child free of charge while he or she is on their G1 license and driving under your supervision. All we had to do was add his name to our policy. Once he begins to drive independently, there will be a cost to his insurance as an occasional driver. Important to note - auto insurance discounts are available to new drivers who have completed appropriate, recognised driver training programs. (Check with your provider.) Needless to say, he is signed up.

Nice segue into another concern - employment (money). Summer and part-time jobs for teens not only help them build their resume and gain skills, they teach responsibility and are a source of income. You know, for things like gas and car insurance and movies and college tuition. All of these are necessary, and it's good for your teenaged child to have a role in footing the bills. Our Teen has had summer jobs each of the past two years, for part of the summer. This year will be his last summer before starting college, so he's taking the job search a little more seriously, to fill up the whole vacation period. I plan to write with some tips about that summer job search in a separate post, but for now I'll toss you one important point we learned the hard way - many employers will want references from your teen. If this your teen's first job, he'll need to talk to coaches or teachers before the school year is out, to secure credible references and get their summer contact information. Don't leave it too late!

And that brings us to college. The stress surrounding preparing for your teen's future and helping him or her think through their options and find their way can be intense. This has been the year of decisions and applications, of essays and research and planning. Thankfully, our guy found out on Friday that he was accepted at his first program choice, in a city away from his parents, but not so far he can't come home to get his laundry done every other weekend. We're really proud of him, but now we can start to worry about him being on his own (though hopefully in residence). We can only trust that we've raised him well and endowed him with the life skills he needs to make smart decisions and keep himself alive and well.

At least I don't think we'll ever have to worry about him getting enough to eat. He'll find a way for that for sure.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by TD Insurance. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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