It’s important to be flexible, and negotiation is not just required: it is mandatory. As adults, we have good days and bad days, and require mental health days and so do our teens. One day off school is not going to ruin their life plans and will most likely promote a better frame of mind.
6. Personal Hygiene
Boys, it is not acceptable to wear the same jocks four days in a row and only own one pair of socks and a clothes’ level of cleanliness should not be judged by the garments’ smell, girls’ personal hygiene is a matter of good health. Boys may be smelly, girls can be downright dirty.
7. Have Standards
Minimal standards are acceptable, and it is okay to have a realistic expectation, that includes attending family events, satisfactory school results, maintaining natural hair colour, and no child has ever died from taking out the rubbish, cleaning their room or even mowing a lawn. They are capable and there is no need to raise useless children. ‘I can’t’ should be met as a challenge and practice makes perfect!!!
For all my lack of experience and best efforts to psychologically damage my children, I am pleased to say I have now reached a point where I get much satisfaction over watching my girls take their first steps into the big, wide world. Finding out Easter Mummy and Easter Bunny provide the same product and the writing on the gift tag from Santa looks distinctly like mum’s is a huge revelation and although the illusion is gone, the magic is still very much alive.
Boyfriends and breakups, pimples and pubic hair have now taken over in our house, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. I enjoy my kids’ company. I love watching their relationships with each other grow and change, and most importantly, I have learnt that I don’t need to understand them. Just trust the kids, know what is right for them, and that despite my lack of experience as a parent of teenagers, they know they are loved, respected and heard, even though I did one day leave my child at McDonalds but that’s another story!