Friday, 29 May 2015

Owning a teenager.

I've noticed lately that my previously mild mannered, sweet 11 year old has started to slam doors and mutter under his breath regularly.  I've obviously been here before with my 18 year old so I'm quite prepared for the years that are about to come.  Then it occurred to me, what about those people who are heading into the teenage years unprepared. What if they really believe that they will handle it because they remember what it was to be a teenager so they'll know how their child ticks.  What if they actually think that at some point they won't fantasise about faking their own death or slamming their head in their car door.

As a parent who has been through these years I feel it is my duty to write a guide to owning a teenager.  I hope it's helpful.

LAUNDRY

How to prepare
  • Wear everything you own within the space of 2 days.
  • When eating ensure you drop the tiniest speck of food on either your top or your trousers, this must be barely discernible to the human eye but must prompt you to change your entire outfit, including underwear. 
  • Never use the laundry basket, it is cursed. 
  • Always leave your clothes exactly where you took them off, if possible inside out. 
  • If you're out and about don't worry about stains like oil, ink or grease, your mother enjoys the challenge that stain removal brings.
  • If what you want to wear doesn't appear in your hands clean and ironed within 30 seconds of demanding it fly into a rage because 'EVERYONE ELSE'S CLOTHES ARE ALWAYS READY TO WEAR'
The experience
  • Gather up the washing from the bedroom/bathroom/hall floor.
  • Sort into loads. 
  • Treat the stains with expensive dirt zapping power spray. 
  • Realise expensive dirt zapping power spray is a waste of money. 
  • Spend 2 hours googling stain removal and applying increasingly bizarre things to stain to remove it.
  • Realise you are no longer trying to just remove an ink stain, you are now trying to remove vinegar, tomato puree and yogurt and repair the hole the white spirit burned in your teenagers favourite top
  • Try to dry 16 loads of washing by hanging them over chairs/doors/radiators/pets/younger children 
  • Spend 9 hours ironing all 16 loads of washing
  • Take them into your teenagers bedroom and hang up them up/place them neatly in drawers
  • Drag everything off the hangers and out of the drawers and drop them on the floor.
  • Kick them about a bit so they look like they've never been near an iron.

FOOD

How to prepare

  • Become obsessed with a favourite food.  The more expensive and complicated to make the better.
  • Demand that food for most mealtimes.
  • Wait until your parents have bulk bought that food (ie: 32 salmon fillets/166 bags of risotto rice)
  • Go off that food.  Refuse to even look at it.
  • Tell anyone that will listen that you are forced to eat food you don't even like.

The experience

  • Ask your teenager what they want for tea.
  • Be happy when they answer 'anything'
  • Turn on the radio and cook a family favourite
  • Serve your teenager their meal
  • Continue smiling while your teenager tells you that they are 'NOT EATING THIS SHIT' and 'EVERYONE ELSE'S PARENTS MAKE NICE FOOD'
  • Overhear your teenager on the phone to Grandma telling her that they haven't been fed since breakfast

FASHION

How to prepare

  • Decide that everything in your wardrobe is either 'gay' or 'shan'
  • Refuse to wear anything
  • Consider phoning childline because 'EVERYONE ELSE'S PARENTS BUY THEM DECENT STUFF'
  • Blame your parents because you didn't ask to be born.
The experience

  • Think about what you would pay for a t-shirt.  Double it and add £35.
  • Ask your partner how much he spent on fuel for the car in the last two months. Spend the same amount on a pair of jeans.
  • Spend 6 hours trailing round sport shops while your teenager turns his nose up at trainers under £70. Realise your £3 pumps from primark have given you a blister.
  • Rip a sanitary towel in half to put on you blister because you can't afford luxuries like plasters.
  • Come to your senses and refuse to pay extortionate amounts of money for a pair of jogging bottoms.
  • Go out and buy the jogging bottoms anyway because you're worried that your teenager is quiet because they're being bullied for their pitifully inadequate jogging bottoms.
  • Laugh cynically when you remember that you were once 'that parent' who said your child would wear what you told them to. 

ATTITUDE

How to prepare

  • Remember that your parents know nothing
  • Take offence at everything your parents say.  It is absolutely NONE of their business if you had a 'good day at school'
  • Be nice to everyone elses parents, they're much nicer and cooler than your parents ever could be anyway.
  • Slamming a door or rolling your eyes or kicking the dog/your younger brother says more than words ever could
  • Every now and then be nice just to keep your parents on their toes.  Inconsistency is your watch word.
The experience

  • Make friends with a bi-polar Rottweiler
  • Learn not to ask stupid questions such as 'how are you', 'do you want some tea' and 'I notice you're on fire, would you like me to put you out'?
  • Always assume that everything is 'NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS' and unless told otherwise you are either a 'joke', a 'clown' or a 'douche'.
  • When people praise your child's behaviour do not show them 400 photo's of your teenager, demanding to know if this is the person they mean.  When they say it is don't ask if they are 'on glue'
  • If your teenager is nice to you become suspicious and google 'how to tell if your child is on drugs'
  • Resist the urge to bundle your teenager into the boot of the car and drop them off 52 miles from home.
  • Have a recurring dream where you give your teenager up for adoption.  Start to think of it as your 'happy dream'
  • Cry whilst telling your parents what a horrible time your are having and ignore the looks that pass between them.  You know that you were a fairly pleasant teenager.

So there we have it.  A sort of what to expecting when you're expecting your happy child to turn into a teenager. 

I'm sure we were NOTHING like this.  Just don't ask my mother, I think her memory's going a bit!