In the coming months I want to run a “Surviving Teenagers Programme” for parents of pre-teens & teenagers so thought I would provide an insight into my life as a mum of 2 teenagers and a hormonal 11-year-old.
Yesterday morning didn’t quite go as planned. It started when Hattie, 11, came into our bedroom to say good morning and decided that was the moment to read out her English homework to a mother who wasn’t totally awake, I subsequently suggested one or two “areas for improvement” perhaps a little too critically.
This was swiftly followed by a somewhat stressed conversation about the need to build a gingerbread castle for history homework that day. Hattie thought we could simply adapt a shop bought gingerbread house and create an amazing edible castle.
You may be surprised to learn that we couldn’t find one shop which sold a gingerbread house/castle. So, the only options were to (1) bake our own gingerbread castle, great prospects first thing on a Saturday morning, or (2) preferred option and potential solution, build a cardboard castle. I bluntly told her there was no way I was baking the gingerbread castle but we did have cardboard she could use, so she stropped back to her bedroom, great!
It was still only 8:30 AM, when Sophie, the family drama queen, appeared. The previous night she had banged her head, so when asked how she was, the response was “I woke up at 8 AM and then must have blacked out because I can’t remember anything until now”, sarcastically I responded, “Sophie, you are such a drama queen…” so by 9 AM I had upset both daughters… great start to a Saturday morning.
And it didn’t get much better when Sophie later went on to announce she was going on holiday in the summer with her friends to Ibiza. My carefully considered response was, “absolutely no way, you have no idea what that sort of place is like, there is no way we would let you go”!
Parenting teenagers is an ongoing challenge, and the bit I often forget is that I can be just as hormonal/stress/tired as my daughters which is never going to be a recipe for family harmony unless I follow my own advice.
So, lessons learnt from Saturday, either pretend to be asleep until I am ready to face the world or listen to what the girls are saying and don’t respond with the first thing that comes into my head. I need to remember to think about what is going on in their world which is having an impact on what they say.
Take the example Ibiza, for Sophie the most important thing about the conversation was the fact she had been asked to go on holiday with her friends, she felt included. Whether or not she actually goes would be a different conversation, she just wanted me to be pleased she was asked.