I do love my eldest son even though there are those darkest of days when he does try his utmost to make it a real challenge. I know all the stuff about teenage brains and hormones and yes whilst I feel slightly sympathetic, what about us, the poor parents who are forced to suffer along with them? I have absolutely no doubt that when J K Rowling thought up the Dememtors for her Harry Potter books, she had a teenager in mind; dark, willowy characters that lurk around and suck all the life out of you. That sounds very much like a teenager to me.
Bearing this in mind, I thought I would try and see things through my teen’s eyes and these are what I would think are his top ten general rules for life:
1. Under no circumstances will I walk the three maybe four metres from my bedroom to the kitchen to place my dirty underpants into or even near the washing machine and if you even think that I am taking them up the stairs to put them in the actual washing basket you are seriously deluded. I would much rather leave them festering on my bedroom floor to add to the general ‘eau de teen’ that I am brewing in my room.
2. The same rule as above applies to rubbish, empty yoghurt cartons, plates and dishes. It is very tiring being a teenager and the effort of picking up the aforementioned items may place to much of a strain on me and drain me of the small amount of energy that I actually do have.
3. At all times, dirty laundry, rubbish and general stuff should be left on the floor of my room and not tidied up by me at any cost. Added to this, the door of my room should stay shut and the curtains should remain closed in order to create the amazing ‘eau de teen’ which smells so unpleasant that no-one will ever want to enter my room. If they do, they should not be surprised when they trip over the objects strewn all over the floor and they should not at any point open the curtains or the windows. Fresh air and light is not permitted.
4. Do not expect utterances of more than one syllable. I will make conversation if and when I see fit on topics that interest me. I do not want to discuss the state of my room, homework, school or any of those subjects that adults think are really interesting. I will not waste my breathe. And absolutely on no account ask me about girlfriends or sex as that is not cool and you will earn a very dirty look and nothing more. However, texting is good. If you want to have a text conversation and I’m in the right mood, you might even be lucky enough to get whole sentences. Short sentences, but sentences none the less.
5. In accordance with the above point, responses may seem rude and uncooperative, this is all part of my plan to take over the remote and the sofa. Do not take it to heart, I am not being mean, I am just being me and being surly is all part of my ‘protective armour’.
6. Running around and being hyperactive is for kids and definitely over-rated. I prefer to take life slowly, preferably from a lying down or sitting position. Life is very stressful, so why do anything that doesn’t need doing and certainly never do anything that isn’t necessary. Laid back is a phrase I like to use to describe my inactive demeanour or as mum says ‘so laid back, I’m horizontal’.
6. I will sigh when and where I want. It is part of being a teenager and should not be taken as a sign of unhappiness. It is simple the way I breathe. Please do not take it as a cue to ask me for the hundredth time what the matter is with me. The only thing that is the matter with me is you and your nagging.
7. Food is very important. You must keep the cupboards and fridge fully stocked at all times. I may have stopped growing but all this sitting around and watching DVDs is very, very hard work and I need a constant intake of calories. However, you also need to be a mind reader and know immediately when I have had enough of the things that I obsessively eat and drink for weeks at a time, stop,buying them and you should know what I want instead.
8. No public displays of affection. And when I say public, I mean even at home in from of family. In fact, just stop the affection all together. I am a grown teen and I don’t need all that kissing and hugging stuff going on, it really isn’t cool.
9. Why not be chauffeur driven? It may be inconvenient, I may pick times and routes that mean that we will be stuck in traffic jams with small children in the car, but hey, I don’t mind. If I need to be somewhere, I need to there . End of. Yes, a lot of my friends seem to live in the middle of nowhere and I know it might be inconvenient to be picked up from these places in the early hours of the morning, but a teen’s social life is very important and parents need to respect that.
10. The final and most important rule is that I am always right. Yes, you have years of experience, blah, blah, blah .. but I am a teenager. I am never wrong and I have enough insight and experience to know everything. Fact. So don’t try and tell me that I’m wrong or that there is a different way of thinking, because there isn’t.
Some wise person once told me that parenting a teen is like a light switch going off for a few years and everything goes very dark and then suddenly the light goes on again and you have your lovely child back again as an adult. I can’t wait for the light to switch back on, are we nearly there yet?