All's quiet on the teenage front — FranklyStein

quietSeveral friends have stopped by our house recently and commented on how quiet it was. “Where are the kids?” they've asked.

The fact is, tweens and teens don't make much noise.

When the kids were little, there was constant raucous in the house. Arguments, yelling, screaming, crying, laughing and running up and down the halls were just typical background noise. And since the kids were always underfoot, a visitor couldn't help but notice them.

These days, however, it's pretty quiet. The kids spend several hours swimming most days, so much of the time they aren't home. But even when they are, they're usually holed up in their rooms, earphones in, working on homework or on a screen of some sort.

Lilly might be working on a puzzle or watching a movie on her laptop, all from her top bunk. Jonah is usually sneaking more screen time than he should, playing with Legos, coloring or laying on the couch staring at the ceiling. Adam might be playing Xbox on the third floor or chatting with friends on Houseparty. Maggie is either doing homework, FaceTiming or sleeping.

They don't interact much, so there's little fighting. Only when it's time to head out the door for school, church or practice does the noise level elevate. Then there's jockeying for the bathroom, yelling to hurry up, mad searching for missing items, and me ranting about messes left behind and lights left on.

Most of the time, however, it's a peaceful existence — life with teens. I have to admit, I don't miss the clamor that comes with little kids all that much.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Life editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 18, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 12.