But it isn’t all bad. There’s a lot to look forward to when your children become teens. Here are six of the reasons why I love being the parent of a teenager:
1. The TV is much better
Is it just me or is Modern Family actually quite funny? It certainly beats Teletubbies and Postman Pat, that’s for sure. My stamina is nowhere near teen level (a whole series of Big Bang Theory in one sitting, really??) but finding a companion to watch Amazing Spaces with me has been a real boon. And snuggled up on the sofa with no-one looking, I sometimes even get a rare teen cuddle…
2. I can forget to buy milk
When they were little, my worst nightmare was finishing bathtime and realising we had run out of milk. The calming bedtime routine would implode as I squeezed sockless feet into shoes and dragged the kids in their pyjamas to the shop. “Do we need milk?” was the mantra with which I trained myself to be an uber-organised superhuman mum of young children. Now, the kids can fall asleep without milk and they can stay home alone if I’ve forgotten anything else. I can slowly unravel to a new mantra of “Who cares if we’ve got milk, where’s the chablis?”
3. No more theme parks
If theme parks are your thing, then this one won’t appeal to you. But personally they are my definition of hell. Luckily, teens prefer to have their theme park experiences in each other’s company and mum coming along is now their definition of hell too. We are finally on the same page…
4. They make you think
My teenage son is fascinated by world news and politics. Unlike most adults, though, he doesn’t yet have fixed views on what he should or shouldn’t think. Which means he asks really interesting questions and he won’t accept lazy answers. Such as, why is it ok for a satirical magazine to deliberately offend members of a religion but he would get detention if he did the same thing at school?
5. You can buy them books you love
Real, proper books that will make a difference to them, books that will help define who they are and what they believe in: their inheritance texts. Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
6. They will remember these years
Let’s face it, no matter what amazing things you do with your children in their early years, they won’t actually remember any of it. But memories from their teenage years are their anecdotes of the future.
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