The ABC’s of Teenage Girls…Amazing, Beautiful and Challenging…

I am the parent/stepparent of four girls, aged 12, 14, 16 and 24, so I feel completely qualified to present this A-Z guide to living with teenage girls (I wish I could say it was tongue-in-cheek, but sadly, it’s not):

“Awesome”.  What they say after you’ve just emptied your bank account buying them two pairs of jeans they like at the mall.  Alternately, they might also say: “That’s awesome, Mom!  As if I’d be seen in public in those!” if you make the mistake of not bringing them with you, and come home with the wrong kind of jeans! 

Bedroom.  Where teenage girls live.  There’s usually a big “Keep Out” sign somewhere on the door rendered in purple bubble letters with curlicues.  It’s probably a good idea to heed the sign…you could get your foot entangled in the balled-up clothing on the floor, and fall and break a hip!  Remember when you used to send them to their rooms to punish them?  That’s not going to work any more.  Being forced to hang out with the family is guaranteed to make them reconsider their transgressions! 

Cellphone/Computer.  The two electronic items essential to teenage girls in the 21st century.  They don’t actually talk on the phone, unless it’s to summon their parents to pick them up somewhere.  When they’ve misplaced the phone, they panic: “Oh, no!  Ashley will text me, and she’ll think I’m ignoring her!”  Our girls spend hours on the computer, updating their status on Facebook, commenting on other people’s profiles, and becoming “fans” of pages like “My parents just filed for bankruptcy, but who cares…I just got cute new boots!” 

Dishes.  If you’re looking for these, don’t expect to find them in the dishwasher or the cupboard.  Ditto for silverware, especially spoons.  You will find bowls crusty with milk and (if you’re lucky) soggy Cheerios, on the coffee table, or more likely, the floor.  Glasses may or may not be emptied when left for you to knock off their precarious perch on the edge of the desk where you made the mistake of sitting to check your e-mail.  Plates might be left on the kitchen floor for the dog to lick, forever.

Eye-rolling.  Teenage girls are experts at this, especially if their parents have done something especially “lame” (like telling them to wear a hat in sub-zero temperatures!).

“Fail”.  You may have thought the word “fail” was a verb…you are incorrect.  It is, in fact, a noun, as in “That was an epic fail!” which is what teenagers say when they or one of their friends do something clumsy or stupid.

Giggling.  Giggling is a good thing, except when four girls are doing it during a sleepover in the next room at 2 in the morning.

Hair.  Many teenage girls spend hours on their hair…our girls are no exception.  Our kids’ bathroom is a mass of brushes, ponytail holders, headbands, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, and hair straighteners.  Our lone teenage boy uses the little bathroom by the laundry room, just so that he has a place for his toothbrush!  I wish I had a dollar for every time one of the girls complained that her hair wouldn’t “go right.” 

I-Pod.  If you tell your daughter you’re going to the mall, and she doesn’t jump up immediately, she is probably listening to her I-Pod.  However, if you tell her to do her homework and she doesn’t respond, she’s practicing “selective hearing.”

Jealousy.  Every teenage girl has green eyes…she wants what other teenagers have!  She also knows, down to the penny, how much money you spent on her sister, and will demand the same treatment.  My kids can whine “It’s not fair!” in three different languages.  

Kitchen.  The only other room in the house where teenagers spend as much time as their bedrooms.  They stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open, expecting the perfect snack to just jump into their mouths.  When it doesn’t, they announce accusingly, “You never buy anything good to eat!,” despite the fact that I get Christmas cards every year from Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, and Kellogg’s.

Laundry.  Teenage girls account for 80% of the laundry at our house.  They are completely incapable of hitting the hamper, however, being content to leave dirty laundry on the bathroom floor six inches from it (unless it’s a wet towel, in which case, I’ll find it stuffed in the hamper, three days later and smelling not at all like lemons).  The backup places for dirty laundry are either the family room or bedroom floor (see Bedroom).

Music.  Teenage girls “need” music to do anything, which would be fine if: a) what they were listening to was actually “music” and b) the volume wasn’t set to 200 decibels. 

“Nothing”.  What teenage girls say when you ask them what they did at school or what they’re upset about.  This is a complete lie…”nothing” is always “something,” and it’s usually BIG! 

Opinionated.  Teenage girls are never wishy-washy.  Either they “love” something, or it’s total “crap.”  There is no grey area.  And they never entertain the idea that their opinion could be incorrect.

Perfect.  When a teenage girl is leaving for school in the morning, everything has to be perfect: hair, makeup, clothes, and shoes.  If even one strand of hair dares to work its way out of the ponytail holder, the girl’s day is ruined. 

Questioning.  Do you recall when your child went through the “Why?” stage when they were three?  Well, it comes back when she becomes a teenager:  “I want you home by nine.”  “Why?”  “Turn down the stereo!”  “Why?”  There’s also: “Why can’t I have a tattoo of a pink unicorn?  Jessica has one!”

“Random”.  Two teenage girls can be having a deep conversation about lip gloss, and suddenly, one will say: “I think Cory likes me…do you think he likes me?”  The other will respond: “That was random!”

Sensitive.  Teenage girls take everything personally.  Never joke about their appearance, unless you want to spend another hour waiting for them while they change their entire outfit, and redo their hair.

Texting.  Our girls text, a lot.  The muscles in their thumbs are so strong, they could probably hang 20 lbs. of potatoes from each one without doing any physical damage.

Uncompromising.  See Opinionated.

Vacant Stare.  The look parents receive when telling teenage girls to do something they have no intention of doing.

Wishing.  Our teenage girls spend a lot of time wishing they had stuff that they don’t have (or better stuff).  I wish they would realize how lucky they are to have what they have!

X-Box.  This is the “game system” that our teenage girls use to play “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero.”  We like it when they do things together without arguing.

YouTube.  This is an online video site where teenage girls go to find “awesome” songs and cute boys.  Hope’s favourite singer, Justin Bieber, got his start on YouTube.

ZZZ’s.  Something teenage girls can never get enough of, especially in the morning when they’re supposed to be getting ready for school.  Apparently, they don’t need them much at night, when other people are sleeping…

I hope that if you’re lucky enough to have teenage girls, that you make it through those years with your sanity intact…for me, one down, three more to go!

Our teenage girls: Anna, Brianna and Hope...


Filed under family, music, satire

49 responses to “The ABC’s of Teenage Girls…Amazing, Beautiful and Challenging…

  1. I Love this!!!!! I am the mother of 19 and 21 year old girls. I wish that I could say some of this ends at 20 but not in my house.

    Oh, if only I had a dollar for every blank stare I received or “epic fail” comment I have heard. But wait, they would only spend it on the jeans you mentioned above.

    I would add another “L” for Loss of sense of humor at least in the department of anything their mother has to say.

    I have an Anna as well.

    • Thanks for stopping by, flyinggma…glad you enjoyed it! It was hard to write this post without seeming too negative, and still retain the humour! You’re right…nothing Mom says is ever funny, and anything we pick out for them is not wearable in public. Wendy

  2. Our daughter’s 10. I really thought she’d be a kid a few more years, but this pretty much describes her. (Heavy sigh.)

  3. Too funny! I see you’re really up to date with teenagers today. Totally not an epic fail! 😉

  4. Kim Pugliano

    SO glad I have a boy.

  5. This is a fabulous post, Wendy! Having only sons, my experience and perspective are ever so slightly different, but there are huge similarities. I really loved reading this – great work!
    Sunshine xx

  6. Triple lucky you! I have only one daughter (and two sons). This was a funny as well as heartwarming post. I could walk out of the house with my clothes on backward and have food stuck to my hair and face (a more common occurence than you can imagine) and the boys wouldn’t notice. If I had forgotten to pluck my eyebrows, my daughter would shreik “Mom, I can’t believe you are going out in public like that!”

  7. Loved this post, Wendy! (Although, I don’t love the reality of it. I have one teenager, and one in the wings, and things are already getting dicey.) Very clever~

  8. I was just at a school conference on teens and I thought one of the more amazing facts was teen girls actually get high on drama. Somehow. hooked into endorphins. Which is why as a parent its important to stay close but to stay out of their drama; bringing them down instead of hyping them up. Teen Boys have a similar reaction to thrill and danger.
    Boys practice the vacant stare as well…and seem to be clueless about the dishwasher.
    Great post.

    • Thanks for passing that fact along, Katybeth…makes sense to me! It’s really hard to stay out of their drama though!

      I knew that some of these things would resonate with parents of teen boys as well…

      Glad you enjoyed the post…


  9. Thank goodness I don’t have kids! I still live some of these myself. I must be that old woman that all the cool kats think is lame! I remember a few of them when I was growing up…

    Awesome post…I think you really have covered most of the bases. Since we all know that these young gals come up with new surprises on a daily basis…

  10. planejaner

    lovely, funny and true…what a tribute to your girls…

  11. Wendy,
    This was absolutely fantastic! Thank you for putting the list together for future parents of teen-aged girls.

  12. Oh, my awesome friend Wendy, you got it just right, A-Z. Love it!

  13. Another fabulous post Wendy! I’m not going to have teenage daughters myself, but I’ve been one…pretty much as you describe 😛 Gave Mom a hard time, poor dear! Still do!

    And now would you be so kind as to do one for teenage boys? So I know what to expect in a decade from now. Will be eternally grateful 🙂


    • Glad you liked it, Harsha… I’m really not equipped to do one for teenage boys, as I only have one, and I’ve only had him for two years! Anybody want to jump in here? Hugs, Wendy

  14. “A daughter is a daughter all of your life. A son is your son, until he takes a wife.” Count your blessings, our boys almost never come to see us, whereas the girl is always around.

    “My kids can whine “It’s not fair!” in three different languages.”

    Now that was good … I liked that.


  15. Very funny! Think you described me as a teenager minus all the modern gadgets.

    I’m going to send the link to a couple of friends/family with teenage daughters.

  16. Yet another brilliant post. You made me keel over in laughter with the kitchen one.

  17. What a fabulous, comprehensive (and accuarate list!) It’s a good thing we were never like this, Wendy. 😉

    It sounds like you have such a fun, lively family. And your girls are lovely!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Maura (although I’d settle for more “lovely” and less “lively”). I was never like this, except for G, H, K, M, N, O, P, Q, S, U, V, and W…oh wait, never mind! Wendy

  18. I absolutely love this. I don’t have teenage children of my own but work with them and sounds like you’ve perfectly captured them! It also confirmed that I’m really not ready for my own kids to cross into teen land. Thank God I have a few more years!

    Awesome post. And beautiful girls!


  19. Hippie Cahier

    Boy, was this a trip down memory lane. It strikes me, though, that with all the advantages that ever-rapidly improving technology provides, there are also drawbacks. My daughter had a cellphone, but texting wasn’t The Thing. Not then anyway. Now she stops in the middle of our cookie baking sessions to tweet things that struck her as funny that her mom said. I’m choosing to hope that she leaves @#$% out. 😉 Nice list!

  20. If you leave out the technology, this sounds like my sister and her friends many years ago. Good luck!

  21. izziedarling

    Brilliant! Wendy, you captured this topic perfectly. “Nothing” hahahahaha. Sort of like when we say, “Fine”. x iz

  22. Love this idea!! I used to use A-Z to generate ideas in class with kids – might do an A-Z of France somewhere!

  23. Being a 23 year old and taking a trip down memory lane during this article, I laughed out loud at the kitchen segment. I can’t tell you how many times I asked my mom why we didn’t have more to eat. Also, the vacant stare. I was guilty of that many times over – that and the eye-roll. But I would like to share with you a website I created where I blog about my own teenage experiences, what I learned from them, what I wish I would have done, and things I wish I wouldn’t have, and my journey in overcoming my insecurities. I thought maybe you would want to share it with your younger girls. Thank you – and really nice job on this article!

  24. Thanks for posting this link! I laughed and spewed as I read these because we have the same alphabet in our home. I think A-Z can be summed up in one word….Estrogen!

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