Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The A-Z of Teenagers

Finally it's the summer holidays.  If there's one thing this time of year lends itself well to is that it's a good time to reflect on how much my family has changed over the past year or so.

But don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those wholesome posts where I talk about how good their school reports are and what a proud mum I am. *yawns* No.

Last year I felt that I needed some kind of instruction manual for the teenagers as they had unexpectedly upgraded themselves overnight into well, erm, more teenagery teens.  It was a difficult thing to handle.  This year however, I feel that I might finally know how the teenagers work.  Finally I know enough, having observed their sub-culture at length, to be able to write about it, so that nobody else with new teenagers has to concern themselves with such questions as "Is it possible to exist on a diet of pot noodle alone without getting scurvy?".  Don't worry folks, it's all normal. Or something.

So here I present my definitive* A-Z of teenagers...

A is for Always Right.  Because they are.  Parents are just stupid.  So stupid in fact that they are often heard asking the question "Do you think I'm stupid?"  This proves it. See?

B is for Bedtime.  Teens do not need a set bedtime.  Because who needs sleep when it's a far better use of time staying up on Snapchat/YouTube until 3 am?  It won't make me grumpy/too tired/late for school tomorrow.  If in doubt see A.

C is for Coats.  WTF is a coat anyway?  Outside the temperature could be comparable to Siberia.  There might even be a force ten gale and yet the teenager will shun any mention of wearing a coat (even a Jack Wills/Hollister/whatever the latest fashion is).  They would rather freeze than wear a coat, and frequently do. The good news is that this is possibly the only area where the parent of a teen can save money by simply not buying one.

D is for Drama.  Everything in the life of a teen is a drama. No, actually, it's a Drama, with a big fat capital D. Have they lost their favourite nailpolish or homework planner?  Worse still, have you tidied their room? (OMG you monster!) then expect a world class performance complete with door slamming (because whatever it is that they can't find will be exactly where they left it, guaranteed).

E is for Eyeroll.  To accompany the Drama, or just in general.  The eyeroll is the universal communication tool between all teens and their parents (this is the reason that Apple made it into an emoji). At least if they do the eyeroll it means they are listening though.  #findthepositives

F is for Floordrobe.  It's just like a wardrobe but you can see it better because it's all laid out on the floor for easy access.  Except when half of it is dirty and screwed up under your bed with sweet wrappers/your homework planner/a half eaten sandwich.  But it is still better than putting your clothes away. 

G is for Grammar.  Teens ignore all the rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation.  See example below.

H is for Hotel.  They treat your house like one.  Either that or annoy you so much that you feel like moving into one until they leave.  *looks up number for local Travelodge*

I is for iPhone.  "Everyone else at school has an iPhone 6s apart from me, I am a social pariah because you are so mean and won't buy me an iPhone.  Why are you so mean?  You must hate me and want to ruin my life!" on repeat until you give in... #FML

J is for Just Go Away!  A favourite phrase, to be yelled in relation to one's siblings for maximum impact.

K is for Kill Me Now!  Another teen phrase, used when they've got double maths first thing, have been asked to do their homework, they don't like what's for dinner, or just any time really.  Often used with the eye roll for further impact.

L is for Lynx.  The teen boy's scent of choice.  It's either that or eye wateringly bad armpit odour.  While deodorant might sound the preferable option here, do be aware that once applied it has a similar effect to a nuclear disaster.  Hazmat suits and breathing apparatus necessary.  Does anyone even know whether a can of Lynx has a half life?  I'm calling the manufacturers...

M is for Money.  Do you have any?  Can your teen have some/all of it?  What do you mean "you need to do some chores to earn it?".  Don't be daft, this is a hotel and parents are the ones who do all the jobs around here.  Silly.

N is for New.  Never old.  Don't ever make the mistake of trying to fob a teenager off with anything that's a hand me down.  The fallout will last for years, mark my words. (All I did was ask if she wanted her brother's barely worn and outgrown Converse, which I had washed.  What's the problem with that?)

O is for OMG.  Oh My God.  As in "Oh My God, stop going on about homework!", or "Oh My God, why are you being so mean?", or "Oh My God, stop having a go at me!".  It's like they've got their own personal religion or something.

P is for Possessions.  The simple rule here is what belongs to your teen is theirs and what belongs to you is also your teen's (like make up and other toiletries).  Unless you are offering it up as something that you no longer need but that they might like. See N for further clarification on this.

Q is for Quality Time.  Teenagers love spending quality time with their parents and family.  You can tell by the fact that when they do they will walk five metres behind or infront of the rest of their family at all times.  Don't think this is because they don't want to be seen with you, no.  It's because they want to admire you from afar.  Honest.

R is for Repeat.  With teens you often need to repeat yourself several times before any request sinks in (see E for signs of acknowledgement).  I myself have been repeating requests to tidy bedrooms/stack the dishwasher since 2013 to almost no avail.  Sometimes visual cues work better with teens.  Like leaving a days' worth of their dirty dishes on their bed.  Simple.

S is for Squad.  Or for anyone who uses the English language, friends.  Teens and their squad are connected by Snapchat, Instagram and text.  This is why you should never forget to top up their mobile phone, lest they be disconnected forever, like some kind of social outcast.

T is for Taxi.  Because you'll be expected to provide a taxi service (for free, obvs.) at the drop of a hat. Never mind whether it's Friday night and you had plans (plans?  Imagine that!) of your own.  The teenagers always come first.

U is for Units of Time.  Teenagers invent their own units of time.

V is for Vegetables.  Does your teen eat them as part of a varied diet?  "Well, potatoes are vegetables, and like, my McDonalds burger had like, ketchup and onions in it".  Plus Beef and Tomato Pot Noodle. Tomatoes are a fruit, so there you go, varied diet.

W is for WiFi.  It could be the most expensive and up to date internet service available in the area, but chances are, your teenager will still tell you it's crap.

X is for XBox.  Because shooting aliens is a better life skill to learn than say doing your Science revision, so that you might actually pass your GCSEs.  On the flip side, confiscating the power adapter is a rather good bargaining tool for getting said revision done. 

Y is for YouTube.  The trouble with regular television is just so... old, and only old people watch it.  It's probably why parents don't understand the internet at all, because we're all too busy watching the Antiques Roadshow or something.  And probably also why we don't understand why our really fast broadband speeds are still crap, because we don't watch Zoella or whoever icing cakes on YouTube.  I mean, who needs Bake Off anyway?  Also, all teens at some point think that they are going to make a career through YouTube, I'm blaming Zoella and her pals for this one too.

Z is for "Zoe's mum let's her have house parties/stay up after midnight/buys her 37 pairs of new trainers a week".  Somewhere there is always a much cooler parent than you, and their teen is bound to be friends with yours. Always.  Also, you will never be the cool parent, at least not in the eyes of your teen.  Don't even bother trying.

See, it's so much easier once you understand your teen, isn't it?  And all this observed from two children who have met all their targets at school for the year and have pretty amazing reports.  I know, I know, I did say that I wasn't going to mention that, but I do wonder how the teachers get the best out of the kids and we get whatever *this* is despite bending over backwards to try to please them.

It's also made me realise that maybe we can't always know our teenagers and how they work at all.  Now, where's the number for that hotel...

* May not be that definitive.  After all, they change their minds more often than Taylor Swift changes her boyfriends.


  1. I love this so much! You've hit so many nails on the head here. My son seems to be permanently wearing clothing that belongs to either his dad or his brother, because he can't be bothered to open his eyes and locate his own from the floordrobe. And don't get me started on the Lynx...

    1. Thanks Sarah! Yep, so many nails that I've even got a special hammer! The floordrobe is a particular favourite of mine - how difficult is it to just pick the clothes up an put them in a drawer or the washing basket? Grrrr...

  2. hahaha! This is brilliant! I nodded along to everything!

    1. Thanks Kim! It pretty much wrote itself if I'm being honest... ;)


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