15 Reasons Parenting A Teen Is Actually Pretty Great

"I was really afraid of the teen years, but it’s been my favorite stage so far,” one mom said.

As a parent, every age and stage of your kids’ lives comes with its unique set of ups and downs. But no stage is dreaded the way the teenage years seem to be — at least based on the pervasive stereotypes out there.

But as it turns out, raising a teenager can actually be a pretty awesome experience. There are challenges to be sure (e.g., dealing with the moodiness, the power struggles, the messy habits, the smartphone battles) as there are with every age. But many parents find that the positives outweigh the negatives for them.

“I was really afraid of the teen years, but it’s been my favorite stage so far,” reader Gwen S. wrote on Facebook.

Below, members of the HuffPost Facebook community share some of the reasons parenting a teenager is actually much more fun and rewarding than many people realize. These often-overlooked joys will help you relish parts of the teenage stage if you’re in it — or they’ll give you something to look forward to down the line.

1. They get to exercise their independence in new and exciting ways.

“I recently dropped my son and his friends off for a day of mountain bike riding. It hit me suddenly that I was really excited for them because they were heading out by themselves for the day. It was not the first time they’d done it, but the first time I realized how great their independence and their enthusiasm was.” — Sally K.

2. As a parent, you get more freedom, too.

“Sleeping better, watching what I want on TV, being able to go out and do things because my daughter can stay home alone.” — Danielle J.

3. They can actually do more around the house.

“Cooking! Whether it be feeding himself when I don’t have time or energy, trying a new recipe he sees on TikTok or wanting to make something ‘gourmet.’ Watching him explore, be creative and even teach me some new tricks is definitely a new experience.” — Jocelyn R.

“When I get to send him to the grocery store with a list? WINNING!” — Tiffany G.

4. Their sense of humor can be so entertaining.

“I love the personality and sarcasm my teen has developed. She is so witty and funny and dark — I simply enjoy being around her.” — Lisa N.

“Whenever my daughter cracks a joke that makes me authentically laugh, it’s a pretty surreal feeling.” — Alicia O.

5. You get to have deeper conversations.

“I love talking politics with my son and learning the views of him and his friends and how they differ. It’s great to see him educating himself on the world and social justice.” — Niri K.

“Philosophical discussions about current day generational differences, pronouns, gender, equality, etc. Hearing the perspectives of a new generation and asking questions without public shame.” — Ruth H.

6. You get to see them become their own person, while also noticing hints of you and your spouse in them.

“My husband died five years ago so this is especially joyful for me.” — Tiffany B.

7. The pride you feel when you see how big their heart is is unparalleled.

“When you see your teen taking on responsibilities or being kind and thoughtful. A glimpse of the good human they are becoming.” — Helen W.

Kentaroo Tryman via Getty Images

“I was really afraid of the teen years, but it’s been my favorite stage so far,” one mom said.

8. They can be closed off at times. So when they open up to you, it’s the best.

“I love, love, love that my kids tell me things they are thinking, or worrying about or excited about. It can be hard not to react or lecture — but it pays off in the end to just listen to how their minds are working it out. I feel so much more fulfilled as a parent during these teen/young adult years than I did when they were babies.” — Alison M.

“My son still likes to hop in bed with me on Saturday mornings, talk about whatever is on his mind and show me some cool things he found or learned about. I have learned so much from him and found ways to stay connected with him, even as he gets older and starts branching out. I’m grateful for those moments.” — Ebonie H.

9. You get to enjoy music together.

“I love listening to the music my daughter is into, going to concerts with her and hearing her thoughts about the songs and artists she enjoys.” — Stephanie C. .

“Blaring music that I grew up on with my son on the way to school. They were the same songs I would listen to with my mom when she would take me to school. I now feel the joy my mom felt in those little moments.” — Andre U.

10. You have more mutual interests than you did when they were younger.

“Having someone to do all the wonderfully fun geeky things with! Renaissance Fair! Comic-Con! Cosplay!” — Molly D.

11. They keep you up-to-date on pop culture.

“They introduce you to things in popular culture that you may not otherwise know about. It broadens your horizons and gives you new things to bond over and have in common. My girls introduced me to Taylor Swift, Twenty One Pilots, “Hamilton,” John Mulaney and Iliza Schlesinger for starters. We eventually went to see all of them live and have wonderful memories of each.” — Tanya M.

12. Watching the sibling relationship evolve is pretty cool.

“I love watching them interact with their siblings in a more grown-up way with less conflict and competition and more support for each other.” — Alison M.

13. They’re able to appreciate the values and skills you’ve instilled in them.

“My son is 19, and one of the best things that has happened was when we were driving home from his summer job as a music camp counselor, and he told me how the way I raised him and treated him taught him how to communicate and connect with his students. It was an incredible feeling, realizing that all I’ve poured into him, he is now able to pour into someone else.” — Gwen S.

14. Their more mature outlook on life is refreshing.

“Seeing the switch flip from ‘I have to do this’ to ‘I get to do this.’ The appreciation for the experience is something mine are just coming into. Whether it’s sports, or school stuff, trips, etc. The maturing mindset of, ‘This is an opportunity and not a chore’ is great.” — Michelle W.

15. In a way, you get to reexperience your own adolescence.

“Reliving my teenage years in experiencing dating, falling in love and heartbreak through their stories and experiences.” — Melissa D.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

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