Monday, 3 August 2009

auntiegwen's guide to parenting teenagers

Parenting teenagers is a doddle if you've worked in a zoo or on peace keeping missions in Iraq. Most of us haven't done that, I have learned the hard way, if any of this is at all useful, knock yourself out.

Don't watch Skins or Hollyoaks, especially Skins, it will fret you.

Don't ask questions that you won't like the answer to. I work on a strictly need to know basis. I'm sure that's much better for my peace of mind.

Find a good hiding place for your stuff. Teenage girls in particular think that any cosmetics/perfumes/toiletries that are in the house belong to anyone that needs them. You will buy everything and use nothing. This goes for shoes, clothes and jewellery too, it is much worse if you are the same size, your 17 year old daughter looks so much better in all your clothes. Teenage boys think all food in the house belongs to them, no matter how many times you tell them that if it's a fruit and nut toblerone it's yours, they'll still eat it.

Music has to be played at 1 decibel below ear bleeding to be fully appreciated by the teenage ear. Train them early to like your music, it hurts less when you like what's being played.

Choose your battles carefully - sure where's the harm if they look like they got dressed in the dark or have been at the dressing up box. Take pictures, lots of them - in years to come you'll have hours of enjoyment looking at the cut of them.

If you put food in the fridge, it will be eaten. If there is beer, it will be drunk. If your house gets the rep of having such items you will be descended on by a plague of hungry/thirsty teenagers. This is expensive.

They appear not to get tidier with age. You would think that having 3 teens you could delegate some of the chores out, spread the weight a bit. You can try. Good luck with that.

The behaviour level is sometimes similar to the toddler phase, especially when the hormone fairy has visited, they are significantly less cute though.

What excited them when they were 5, will excite them again at 16/17/18. They love trampolines, bouncy castles and jelly. If you do a birthday party with kids games like pass the parcel and provide alcohol, you will have some very happy teenagers.

Remember when your adorable little cherub of a toddler got you up at 6am every day ? It is incredibly enjoyable to go into a teenagers bedroom (double the fun if they're hungover/woke you up when they stumbled in drunk/vomited in a bathroom cleaned that very day) and wake them up. You can bounce on their bed, open the curtains and say in a nice cheerful tone "S'morning now, morning now, get up, get up, get up, I'm wake now, entertain me, hungry now, bored now, can we go to the park ?" or any other little saying your cherub was fond of in their pre dawn years.

Love from your

auntiegwen xxx


  1. Love it. Especially fancy the idea of jumping on his bed and saying 'I'm awake, play with me!'. On second thoughts - he's bigger than me now. I know parents can't hit children any more but I'm not sure if the other way round applies!!

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  3. OK let's do that again with grammar -

    So with you on two things -
    - hide your things from Queenagers. I wouldn't have dared borrow my mum's stuff without her permission AND not put it back. Happens all the time in my house. Where did I go worng in her thinking this was OK?
    - Pick your battles. Ask yourself - is this really dangerous? If you're just pissed off, let it go! (And if you're really brave - examine your reaons why. I don't, but you could.)

  4. SS - That is my very favourite one to do, I never get bored of that one.

    Expat mum - I wouldn't worry too much about grammar, you can see I clearly don't ! There are a gazillion (see, I make words up and everything) things that the fruit of my loins do that I would never have done but also the rebellious streak that ran through every nerve in my body has bypassed them. It seems like a fair trade for some shower gel and lip gloss.

  5. Brilliant post!

    I took great pleasure recently in realising my slumbering Teenager-in-waiting wouldn't get out of bed (the same child who awoke at 5am everyday for the first 3 years of her life) so I got a tamborine out of the music box and sang Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey at the top of my voice, in her bedroom, with tamborine accompaniment. Great stuff!

  6. I worked it out that I will have a teenager constantly for 18 years! Yep 18 years, I am getting increasingly worried about the state my mind will be in at the end of it and I've only got one at the moment.
    At least I did get a cuddle out of him last night even if it was because I refused to let go. :0/

  7. So love the post, it is sooo true. I am learning to pick my battles, only have teenage boys yet, so it is my hubby who has the clothes sharing problem at the mo, which is a major problem for him as he is so pernickty about his stuff being touched, but it just seems to bounce off my 17 yr old.

  8. I only managed 5 minutes watching skins with them. Before I said OMG, NO! This cant be like real?

    And the squirmed and squirmed!! and I worried and worried!

  9. Great advice and humor! I'm going to look back on this in 13-14 years...


  10. notSupermum - the tambourine is a very cunning addition to the plan, nicely done my dear.

    Chic mama - I'm only in for 11 myself, always nice to meet a fellow inmate who's got a longer stretch than you :)

    b - everything bounces off 17 year old boys doesn't it ?

    Saz - before I was a high school teacher I would have thought that to be far fetched !

    John - you're so welcome, don't worry I knew nothing about kids before I had mine. They can walk and talk, some of mine even have qualifications ! Take heart you (and they) will survive :)

  11. Did anyone read my post yesterday??! Starting to hyper-ventilate here!

    Great post, Beautiful Auntie Gwennie, as ever me darlin'! I love the fact (not) that we seem to be going through a third more beer now the summer is here!

    Love to you, as ever x

  12. Fhina - are you having a summer ? I want to be where you are, wave to me as I pass by on Friday on my way to me mammies xx

  13. Since my older two were 10 and 7 when we were "blessed" with the little guy (I have been living in the USA a long time and this is how you greet such events) - I think I will have teenagers for the same length of time as Chic mama. However - because of the schooling system here, where they are in their 7th year before they go to school full time, when my guy goes into 1st grade next month, it will be the first time in 16.5 years that I haven't had a small person in the house full or part time.
    Believe me I will be blogging about it!!!!

  14. Love it!!!

    Since mine were babies I have been looking forward to the last one.

    Oh and that reminds me, I need to find a new hiding place for my chocolate stash!

    Suburbia x

  15. Expat mum - I think that deserves a round of applause or cosmo's or maybe some new shoes ! Good girl yourself, you have survived the pre school years x

    Suburbia - It's a game I never get bored of ! As for your hiding place I would suggest in the cleaning supplies cupboard, it's a place mine never think to look

  16. gwenie, the cleaning cupboard of course, or the ironing bin...

  17. Saz - the fruit of my loins will actually go in the ironing basket, don't fret now, only to pick out the item of clothing they need and then bring it to mummy to be ironed.

    In the style of a pet cat bringing you a dead mouse or bird.

  18. Love, love, love this. Our eldest girl (now 16) always slept in as a baby/toddler. Oh we were so cocky then, but it's come back to bite us now, and she can be a pain to get out of bed. We still love to do the annoying wake-up thing though.
    My favourite tips in your post, though, are to take photos, rather than comment on their chosen attire. Sheer genius that idea. And you've just given me the perfect hiding spot suggestion for chocolate!

  19. traceelements - selfless to the core that's me :) ah the photos, you should see my family album, truly !

  20. HA,Ha! I enjoyed this, sooo true. Especially the hide your stuff advice. Practically every time I see one of my teenagers they are wearing something of mine. They ridicule my obsession with black ankle boots, but wear mine all the time. I might try the bouncing on the bed thing; or I might just volunteer for a peacekeeping mission in Iraq ....

  21. Completely Alienne - yep, they ridicule your stuff and then wear it but will they admit they like it? absolutely no chance ! My footwear is safe at the moment due to size but naff all else is !