It may be a cliché, but your children really do grow up incredibly fast. I can clearly remember the day when my eldest daughter was born 10 years ago. A decade later, we’re rapidly hurtling down the tracks towards the teenage years and it’s happening at frightening speed.
At the moment, we’re sheltering in the relative safety of the tweenage years. I’ve come to the conclusion being a tween is a half-way house. Tweens have strong opinions and strive for independence, but they’re old enough to know their limits and still rely heavily on mum and dad.
Nonetheless, Helen is growing up. She wants to dress like a teen and her mother’s make up can’t be left unattended. She’s developed an interest in pop music (some of it of passable quality) and she has an answer for everything.
I thought ‘growing pains’ was nothing more than an entirely made-up phrase. Based on this family’s experience, I have come to conclude they’re a genuine phenomena.
We haven’t yet gone full-on Kevin and Perry. Truth be told I rather hope ‘Peak Teen’ status can be avoided, but as hormones do their thing, Mrs Adams and I are preparing for turbulence.
Speaking to other parents who have teenage kids reassures and terrifies me in equal measures. I thought every family had a horrendous time when their kids became teens but it seems many families get through the teenage years with relative ease. That said, every family seems to have faced challenges I didn’t even know existed. It leaves me just a little anxious as Helen hits the teenage years, with our youngest daughter Izzy not all that far behind.
The other day a mum with older kids was telling me what it’s like when a child starts secondary school. It seems the community that exists at primary school doesn’t exist at all. With kids travelling on their own to school, parents don’t know each other. When kids say they’re going to meet up with friends, you, as the parent, have no idea who they’re meeting up with nine times out of ten.
That’s just one concern. A chap I used to know once told me I had better get used to lots of boyfriends coming to visit. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but this guy was a vicar.
Whirling through my head, I also have concerns about social media, alcohol, drugs, sex and so on. You do your absolute best with your kids in the early years and then all manner of risks and temptations rear their ugly heads and there’s little you can do to control what they’re exposed to.
It possibly doesn’t help that I didn’t have the best time during my teenage years. Reflecting on my own past is maybe not all that helpful, but it’s hard not to think about what you know.
Don’t get me wrong, my teenage years weren’t that bad, but I lacked confidence. I didn’t make friends all that easily and I played the fool to try and make myself popular. All that did, however, was make me look like a fool.
I also struggled because we lived in an isolated location. As an adult I’d like nothing more than return to where I grew up and I live in a perpetual state of homesickness. As a youngster, however, I found it tough. There were no friends living nearby and a trip to the cinema involved travelling 20 miles.
The teenage years are such a sensitive part of your life. I want my kids to have an easier time than I did and this part of the reason I am getting the collywobbles as my kids get ever closer to this milestone.
Despite my concerns and despite my worries, I do see a ray of hope. I may be looking at the world through rose tinted spectacles, but teenagers seem to be a slightly different breed to when I was younger.
Increasing numbers of our friends and acquaintances have older kids who are hitting their teenage years. They all seem to be well adjusted, polite, considerate and kind.
Yes, of course I see some behaving like idiots. Nonetheless, I like to think the world had got a little more considerate towards teenagers over the years. Once seen as a problem, I get the impression teens are treated with more compassion and understanding in this day and age.
There may be some truth in my theory that teenagers are held in higher regards these days, but I still have concerns for what the next few years may hold. It’s only natural, right?
If you have teens, are my fears natural? Maybe your kids are about to hit the teenage years and you share my concerns? Maybe you disagree? Whatever you think, feel free to leave a comment below. It would be interesting to know your thoughts.