source: the original image was cropped (license: Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Checklist for Parents of Teens

Make it through the gauntlet and a world of satisfaction awaits you!

Mike Treanor
3 min readFeb 24, 2021


I was writing my response to Sky Collection quote prompt №27 by Samantha Lazar and thought I would include this. It seemed to me that it strays a bit too far from the format of that collection so I created this separate post.

People seem to love lists nowadays, so here is mine: If any parents of teens are feeling the terrible impending doom as you watch these horribly overconfident and underskilled people wander around the world bumping into every possible obstacle, here is the good news from the other side of the finish line:

  1. They are listening but don’t ever expect acknowledgment. What you will get instead, and it is tremendously satisfying, is to watch them repeat every word you ever said to them, with the same passion, once they turn 25(ish).
  2. They are watching every move you make. They will copy you even if neither you nor they want them to. Treat everyone with respect. Be kind and compassionate, especially with yourself.
  3. Daughters will look for someone who treats them like their father. Sons will look for someone who treats them like their mother. … in many of the important “behavioral” ways.
  4. Daughters will become their mothers and sons become their fathers … in many of the important “personality” ways.
  5. They think you are utterly stupid because you cannot easily manage a thousand things in your life and have plenty of spare time to play video games. They see simplified versions of simplified problems in their overprotected lives and do not yet realize that they have training wheels on.
  6. Those times they yell at you, “you don’t understand!” … they will realize that you did understand and those will be some of the best conversations!
  7. Teach girls to love themselves … teach boys to care for themselves.
  8. When it seems like their skillset is so ridiculous that nobody would actually pay them to do any of it … relax … the world is changing and none of us knows what it will look like in ten years.
  9. Teach them skills that work in anyone’s life: communication, managing expectations, compassion, honor, respect…



Mike Treanor

Mike is a software developer, chemist, motivational speaker, parent, and musician who writes about creativity and human nature.