Hint: Parenting a teenager is no walk in the park.
Being a teenager is tough and whether they like it or not, you’re going to play a large role bringing them up. So let’s start by addressing those universal truths that all mums of teenagers know…
Their brains make yours look like the last word in organised efficiency
You know he’ll forget to put the tea on/be late to meet you AGAIN, but do you know why? If you thought your brain struggled to make sense of life then consider what’s going on in your teen’s brain. Our brains don’t stop developing until we’re in our mid-20s, so your teenager’s brain is adapting and maturing all the time, with bits relating to prioritising, planning and impulse control settling last of all.
As his mum you’re genetically programmed to help, no matter how unenthusiastic/frankly rude your teen seems. Chuck brain-boosting omega-3 foods his way whenever you can (think back to when he was a toddler and you snuck the healthy stuff into the pasta sauce; this still applies), and you could even consider offering them an omega-3 supplement if you suspect your teen might be at all amenable.
Teen spirit is not a smell anyone wants anytime soon
It doesn’t matter what Nirvana said. There are smells. And if it’s not feet, it’s cheap fragrances and if it’s not that, it’s food from one of the eleventy-billion meals and snacks they must eat every day or they will RAGE.
Even if you were offered any, you wouldn’t want to consume any of this teen-cuisine because it’s the culinary equivalent of eating that rubber chicken thing they bought because of some meme.
You may feel like a recording playing on repeat, but since your teenager persists in ignoring the existence of healthy, non-stinky snacks (hello nuts, we’re talking about you), you’re going to have to keep on mentioning/offering/providing them until a tiny bit of the message penetrates. It’s a rare teen who wouldn’t welcome peanut butter on toast (even brown) when they finally emerge from their bedroom at the weekend or finding a nutty/chocolate-y snack in their school bag after double science.
You’re boring and you don’t care
Nothing’s fair. Society isn’t fair, the fact you can’t afford the ugly trainers they like isn’t fair, asking them to be in for Sunday lunch isn’t fair.
But most of all, you aren’t fair. And you’re boring and never listen. And you’re embarrassing. And this might be hurtful if you thought they really meant it.
Their habit of sleeping in feels like a personal insult
Let’s be honest, you’re not griping because your teen sleeps in so late in the morning. You’re griping because you can’t do it, too, and IT’S NOT FAIR. Buy them a really annoying alarm clock – using their phone to wake up just means they’re more likely to look at it before bed, which can disrupt sleep.
Teens need nine to 10 hours a night and to steer clear of blue light, emitted from flat screens, an hour before bed, but we all know that they’ll ignore this advice because you don’t know anything. (And, also, is that your smartphone we see on your pillow?)
Solve your problems with shopping – sleep is now big business and one we promise you will never feel guilty spending money on. Oils, sprays, teas or supplements – there’s a whole world out there waiting for you. Share it with your teenager, if you’re feeling generous.
They don’t know they’re beautiful
But they SO are. Even with spots, even when they’re shower dodgers. But they rarely know it and you can’t help but want to help. And so, while they check out advice from YouTube videos, you’ll research the best products to suit them… before buying whatever Zoella or whoever says you should buy. And then you’ll end up buying the stuff you thought looked right in the first place. Because you do know things after all. Their lives don’t need over-complicating so you’ll chose simple gender-neutral products (yes, thank you, you did know that was a trend, you saw that boy in make-up) which contain effective natural ingredients.
Lots of stuff’s happening to them, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Chances are, during the teenager years they’ll have to deal with harassment, heartbreak, pressure to conform and a whole heap of learning. And all while they’re growing and their bodies are changing. In fact – they’re amazing.
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