Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free TOSapps to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.

“Uuuuuuuh . . . Uuuuuh!”

“No, you can’t have the red cup. You get the blue cup.”         

“Wed cup!”

“You can’t have the red cup. You get the blue cup or you can go without a cup.”         


“Stop right now, or we’ll make a trip into the bathroom.”     


Ahhh, those were the days, looking into the face of my toddler squirming in his high chair, obviously not happy with life or me because he got the blue cup.

Those days were exhausting, and sometimes we thought those toddlers would never grow up. But you know what? They did. And on the way to adulthood they passed through . . . Teenland: a wild and exciting place where everything changes daily. One day the world is smiling, and the next day the world is dark and brooding.

I’ve heard some folks piously say that Teenland is a new phenomenon and that in the old days children passed effortlessly from childhood to adulthood without passing through the teenage years. My response to that: “Baloney!”

The word teenager might be a modern word, but the struggle in training children during those awkward years has been around since the time of Cain and Abel. Adam and Eve were the only ones who got to skip that wonderful time of life.

In fact, I think it was no accident that God skipped the teenage years with his first creation. I bet if He hadn’t, the whole story would have gone differently. It might have sounded something like this:

          “I have to name all the animals?”

          “Yes, all the animals.”

          “Can I give them all the same name?”

          “No, you can’t.”

          “Okay, I’ll name this half Bob and the other half Tina.”

          “Just name the animals.”

          “Why do they even need names? There’s no one else here, and I know I’m never going to care what their names are.”

          “Because I said so, that’s why.”

          “Are you going to have me name the plants after that?”

          “Just go to your room!”

          “What’s a room?”

Let me be the first one to say up front that raising teenagers is no cakewalk. I’m not saying that we should expect rebellion or that the world’s perspective on teenagers is accurate. I’m just saying that as kids pass through Teenland they . . . change.