Saturday, June 2, 2012


I will freely admit that I'm no expert on teenagers, but having been one myself, raised 2 and worked with them, I guess you could see I'm experienced with them. The teenage years are an exciting time aren't they? Particularly if you're the teenager. If you're the parent, exciting an only be used with quote marks. I have two children to go through this stage still. One almost 12 and another almost 9. Both girls, hmmmm. Freud called this the genital stage. No, no, far as I'm concerned my children don't have genitals. At least until 25. Eric Erickson called adolescence the stage of fidelity, with identity VS role confusion as the main tasks to be completed. Aah, high school. Hopefully by the time they get there, children are pretty independent and you've trained them up to help you around the house. Well take advantage of it, because it may not last. By the time they hit high school, most girls are in the thick of puberty and the boys tend to follow a year or two later. There is quite often a fairly dramatic increase in the amount of homework your kids will get. Unless, of course they go to a school where they don't get a lot of homework. Best to check that with the school. A lot of kids (including myself) will try to get out of homework with great fervor. Just do the damn homework and save being nagged! Midway through high school the choices will start happening withthe subjects. Don't panic, we live in a country where it doesn't matter if you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life at 14. Miss 24 is still at uni. So help them pick general subjects if they're still clueless. The big things for teenagers are: hormones and growing. By 13 a lot of girls are the same height as their mumsand boys the same height as their dads by 15-16. They're quite happy to remind you of this too. If you're wondering when a girl will enter menarche (first period), take note of her mood. If it reminds you of PMT that lasts a long time, it's real close. When I was expecting miss 11 and miss 24 was in this stage, I tripped over her bike on the pebblecrete verandah. As I limped in, trying to staunch the blood I asked her to move her bike. She replied that she hadn't put it there, her brother had. I shot back that I didn't care, just move it as I had tripped over it. She replied "well if you'd learn to lift your legs up properly you wouldn't trip over things". I do believe my jaw dropped a foot. I can still remember that 12 years later. When Mr 21 was 15, I was known to offer him and my husband boxing gloves and to let them at it in the yard, as they clashed frequently while he tried in vain to assert his dominance. I remember telling him to do something and when he said no, I thought 'fuck!!what do I do now???'. I managed to coerce him into whatever it was, but by then he was bigger than me. Knowledge. They think they know it all. Especially by 17/18. Consider if you will the human brain. Apparently it does not finish growing until 25 and particularly the frontal lobe, which is mostly responsible for abstract thought, reasoning and impulse control. So a teenager may say something that seems completely reasonable, but as an older adult you know it's completely ridiculous. I cringe over some of the things I said and did as a teenager. I was stupid enough to tell my mother that drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana were similar, one was just not legal. I still think it should be legalized and controlled, but know what the differences are now. Social life. It's hard to realise that when your beloved child becomes a teenager, his/her friends become just as if not more important than you. You are no longer the light of their life. Rejection stings. I took miss 24 to get her navel pierced at 16 (she paid). I drove her and her friend. When the technician asked if anyone wanted to come with her, she picked her friend (whom I didn't really like anyway)while I sat fuming outside. Then there is the gathering. Personally, I hate that phrase. I'm not the only one. It's basically code for "I want a party, but I'm too chicken to ask outright". They often want 20 people over, a bonfire, loud music and alcohol (underage of course). Gaaaarh. Then they hit 18 and can legally go out to pubs and clubs and stagger home all hours. Independence. Yes, they think they don't need you to accompany them anywhere and can do it all....Until they need a lift home. Often you end up witha car full of kids all trying to squash into the back seat of course. It's fine to gradually let them have independence, but please don't stop them from taking the bus into the city during the day at 16. They'll be driving themselves in their soon enough. You're not helping them. Kids get their licences at 17 or 18.sleepless nights follow. The worst? They're know it alls. They lie. They don't answer their damn phones. They're ungrateful and unrealistic. They're lazy if you let them. The best? You can hang out with them. They kinda keep you young. You can have fun with them. It's really nice seeing them grow up. They can be helpful and compassionate. Now, I just have to prepare for having 2 future teenagers....

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