Today is guest post day, courtesy of a mystery draw over at Little Mummy. I was thrilled to find out I was swapping with Eggs, Cream and Honey, as obviously I love cake. I was less thrilled than when I found out she is up against me in the MAD blog awards, as her blog is as scrummy as her name suggests.
If you want the other half of the swap, you’ll find me over there today talking about my (cough) love of all things baking. So let’s give it up for Eggs, Cream and Honey! (Welcoming round of applause)…
Chances are if you’re the parent of a teenager, you may have heard the “everyone else” phrase shouted back at you more times than you care to remember. This is the catchphrase adopted by your teen in response to the “no you can’t” line us parents feel the right to exert on occasion. They say it to make us feel guilty, inept and generally out of touch with the mass of other parents who are saying “yes”.
Here are some of the privileges everyone else might be getting:
- a laptop of their own
- a bedtime/curfew of midnight
- unlimited texts and calls on their mobile phone
- co-ed sleepovers
- 18 and over games on their X-box
- access to Facebook whenever they want
- both Friday and Saturday nights out (sometimes Thursday too and don’t get me started on Orange Wednesdays)
Not being able to do any of the above things is like social leprosy to a teenager whose well-being directly correlates to the level of coolness accredited to them by their peers. Refusal can bring tears, foot stamping, door slamming and a string of venomous words aimed at yours truly. It will remind you of when they were toddlers. It might also make you wish they were toddlers again, so you could put them to bed early and call it a day.
Having by now developed advanced verbal skills highly attuned at pointing out the error of your ways, the teen is a mighty force to be reckoned with. How do you possibly hold your ground when faced with this onslaught and insist upon “no” really meaning “absolutely no way, don’t even argue, it’s not happening”?
Here’s a recent example between my 17 year old daughter and I.
“Mom, can I bring a friend with me when we go on holiday to France this summer?”
“Mmmm, don’t think so darling.”
“Well I don’t want to drive all the way across France with 7 people in the car. It’s bad enough with the six of us.”
“I’ve already thought about that. We’ll fly.”
“I’m not paying for you to fly.”
“I figured you wouldn’t so I am planning on saving up and buying the ticket myself.”
“By the time you save up the money the tickets will probably be sold out or really expensive.”
“I know but if you buy it for me now then I’ll pay you back.”
“I’m pretty sure the villa only sleeps six.”
“No I checked online there is a pull-out sofa.”
“I really don’t think it’s a good idea. Can’t you just come on your own?”
“Mum, all my friends are going on holiday with someone! Don’t you get it? No one goes on holiday with their family alone. I am going to be so bored. Who am I going to hang out with? Do you care that it’s going to be the most boring experience in the world for me?”
“You’ve got your brother and sisters.”
And on and on it went. No matter how many times I changed track she had an answer for every single argument. And argue we did. Well in to the night. Until exhaustion sent us both to bed and, whereupon awaking the next morning, the discussion resumed its rightful position as that very large elephant in our kitchen.
So help me here parents of teens. How do I get across to this creature inhabiting my child that I really do have their best interest at heart when I say no to (that other elephant) a computer in their bedroom? I know the heartfelt promise that all their time won’t be spent on social networking sites is about as good as my promise that I’ll police it. Frankly we’ve both got much better things to do with our time. But getting them to understand that? No chance.
What are the things you refuse to give in on? How do you get your point across? I’d love to hear from you!