I think teenagers are amazing!! Perhaps not the most normal of mums, I never really understood the attraction of very small babies. Apart from the glorious smell of Johnson’s Baby Lotion, and an excuse to consume ridiculous amounts of Farley’s Rusks.I loved all of my children instantly, but I can honestly say that I didn’t truly enjoy them until they developed their own unique personalities, and started questioning the world. There was also the mistaken belief that because I had a large family, that I liked other people’s children too! NO!! There are exceptions, some lost souls that I felt compelled to protect, and the rarest of all, the two babies of my much younger friend Jess, who are the most edible of boys! But generally? NO!!
People warned me how awful teenagers can be. Told me their horror stories. Including my mother, who waited with an almost malicious glee for me to experience the horror she had endured. Mainly from me, I suspect. Because I really did push those boundaries as hard as I could. But maybe the trick is to retain that little bit of teenager inside yourself. Just to remember how you felt, and what you really needed at that point in your life.
So! My 10 rules to surviving, and enjoying, your teenagers.
1. Your Teenagers Are Not Your Friends.
Why would they be? Do you ever remember having friends your age, when you were in your teens? Let’s face it, anything older than 23 is considered as ancient, in their world.Your job is to be banker, driver, chef, good listener, cleaner, housekeeper, and ultimately parent.
2. You Are Not Cool.
No matter how cool you, or your friends, or their friends think you are, in your teenager’s eyes, you are a fool! That will never change!!
3. You Can’t Dance.
Even if you were a prima ballerina who danced with Nureyev, you have no sense of rhythm, and should never be seen dancing, not even in your own house, to your own music! And never do the hands raised above the head mum dancing, because they will DIE!!!
4. You Have No Taste in Music.
They invented music! Including The Stones, Bowie, and Joy Division! You are simply trying to jump on their bandwagon. Do not ever download anything they already have, or try to discuss new bands. See number 2. You are a fool.
5. You Have No Taste in Fashion.
Do not ever attempt to buy them clothes. Your only role in clothes shopping is to pay for them. If you are invited on a shopping spree, accept that it is so they can discount everything you suggest, and laugh at what you like. And bite your tongue when they turn up two weeks later in the outfit you chose to start with. Never try to wear the same outfits as them.
6. You Know Nothing.
Indeed, they are amazed that you have survived this long without having any knowledge about anything. Except perhaps how to use a washing machine, oven, bin, and arrange a student overdraft.
7. Do Not Social Network.
Even though you have had a Facebook Account since before they could write, do not try to write a status, share a photo or video, or comment on their status. They can, however, be as rude as they like about yours. And occasionally frape you, when they have commandeered your laptop, because theirs is in the workshop, due to a virus, or a healthy dowsing of Diet Coke!! Seriously, do not pepper your comments with text speak!! Nothing makes me cringe more than people of a certain age who insist on using lol!
8. You Do Not Have A Love Life.
Nor have you ever!! They were the result of immaculate conception! You know nothing about love, or sex, eeiiiuuuuuw!! Why would you, because you are soooo old!! You will never understand how they feel, but will still have to sit for hours while they explain it in minute detail. But you cannot give any advice, because you know nothing!!! And should you actually start a new relationship, that will always be revolting!!! Anything more than waving to each other from opposite sides of the room will always be unacceptable!
9. They Have Different Sleep Patterns.
Accept this! You were the same once. It is a battle on school nights, but just go with the flow on weekends and holidays. You get to go to bed when you want to now, and enjoy lie-ins on a saturday!!! And a Sunday!!! Also accept that they will eat everything in the cupboard whilst you are asleep!!
10. You Cannot Plan Their Life.
You must have rules. Teenagers are programmed to fight these, but they secretly like the boundaries you set, seeing these both as a challenge, and an indication of your genuine concern for them. Never force them in their choices academically, just encourage them to achieve their best. If they want to be a road sweeper, make sure they are the best damn road sweeper ever!!
Most of all, just love them!!! They are mad, outrageous, opinionated, aggravating, irritating, and absolutely wonderful!! And only with you for a very short time!! And if you embrace them, they will make you remember how wonderful it was to be their age!! And give you back a little of their youth!!