Not really. Well, okay, maybe sometimes.

Not really. Well, okay, maybe sometimes.

You know what used to drive me crazy? When my kids were little and sweet and some other mom would come up to me and say, "Oh sure, they're cute now. You just WAIT until they're teenagers!" Like they knew it all. Clearly, they weren't celebrating motherhood and were taking their children for granted. They must be such bitter people, I thought. I'll never be that way.

And now? Bitter doesn't begin to cover it. Because there's so much more that comes with being a parent of a teen: confusion, isolation, worry, oh, the WORRY. The little people we raised who used to say, "I wuv you, Mommy," now don't even want to be in the same zip code. It's like learning to be a parent all over again. Only harder.

So, such was the inspiration for our teen issue. Do we have all the answers? Of course not. We'd have made a fortune by now if we did. But, we delve deep into the minds of teens (scary), and touch on some controversial topics such as teen pregnancy. Read this article with your son or daughter, or put it under his or her pillow to read alone. It's sobering, but told from the eyes of a teen parent, which may make your teen perk up and pay attention.

Speaking of listening, how's that going for you? In our Talking with Teens feature, we'll give you tips on how to talk with your teenager without putting her on the defensive. Research shows that involved (read: nagging) parents really do make a difference in the lives of teens. They may not appear to be listening, but the important things do get through.

But it's not all doom and gloom with teens. We profile several in this issue who are making a difference in the community by giving back to those around them and helping others in need.

Plus, we've got Valentine's Day covered with fun and inexpensive date night ideas. To get through the crazy years of parenting, we all need a night out now and then.

Let me know what you think of our teen issue - send your comments to columbusparent And remember, there's no "I" in teen. We're all in this together.

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