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Winter Care & Feeding of Teenage Sons

Teenage boys need to go outside to burn off excess energy.
Teenage boys need to go outside to burn off excess energy.
Image: dan /

Parenting teenage sons is definitely a challenge.  As a single working mother, I have first-hand experience. I read somewhere that raising teenagers is like nailing Jello to a tree.  I can relate!

Now we have the added challenge of what to do with these teenagers in the blizzard of 2010Baltimore residents found their neighborhoods covered in 20 to 30 inches of snow. WBAL ran extended coverage of the progress of the storm, status of the roads, and snow amount totals.

I have two sons and two snow shovels.  They know that their job is to shovel the walkway, the driveway, and clean off the vehicles. I find myself saying the same thing my mother used to say to my brothers, which was, "Go outside!" 

These boys have so much energy, they really can't be cooped up inside. If it were nice weather, they would probably be at the local YMCA lifting weights. Well, now they can do another exercise called shoveling snow.

While they are doing that, I cook. I figured out a long time ago the best formula for meals for my sons.  I start cooking hours before they are hungry, and I make at least twice as much as I think they can eat.  Then it turns out that we have almost enough to go around.  Honestly, I have boys who make a sandwich while I am cooking dinner, and who rummage through the pantry before the dishes are in the dishwasher.

A good dose of exercise in the cold weather is very healthy for teenagers. Plus it gets them out from under my feet, and I'm sure they are thrilled to not be stuck in the house with their mother.  (After all, I would just find something else for them to do inside.) And they get to go out, talk to people and get news of the world. They even help out their elderly neighbors, often in exchange for cookies. 

A good pair of boots, some snow pants and a shovel are essential.  Having a big pan of lasagna ready when they come inside is a great idea. Then they will be so warm and tired that they may even take a nap. More quiet time for you - hooray!

What are your favorite snow day traditions? How do you cope?

Instead of complaining about the snow, help your sons to embrace the challenge! They might even learn a few life lessons in the process.

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