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Coming down the tracks at speed: The teenage years!

In our household, we're approaching the teenager years are coming down the tracks very quickly. What's it going to be like and will we face many challenges?

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.

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Choo choo! Oh yes people, we’re hurtling down the tracks towards the teenage years and it terrifies me.

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.

This post has been added to the #ThatFridayLinky blog link-up hosted by the DIY Daddy and the Twin Mummy and Daddy blogs.

6 thoughts on “Coming down the tracks at speed: The teenage years!”

  1. I took care of my nephews and many cousins and the teen years weren’t so bad at 14 but every passing year seemed to add another new attitude and it didn’t get that much better in college. It’s just something that they all go through with few exceptions but there are still things you can come together on and it’s kind of fun seeing them go through what they need to as they turn into young adults.

    1. Yeah, it’s true I guess, you need to accept that kids have to go through this stuff. We all went through it didn’t we? My kids are receiving a very different upbringing to the one I had, hopefully one that will help them stay on the right side of the tracks. Oh it’s all so worrying! Then again, a few people with teens have been in touch and told me it’s not that bad. I’ll let you know when we reach the early twenties!

  2. Well, as you may recall from my previous replies I have 4 now grown up children. Indeed my granddaughter is 10 this year….that’s a proper example of time flying by!
    Are you right to be afraid, hell yeah!! Sorry probably wasn’t the answer you were looking for.
    Few pointers to help you get through.
    If your gut is saying something doesn’t sound right here? Listen too it!
    Sometimes you actually know they are telling a lie to get away with maybe meeting a new boyfriend. It can be useful to pretend you know nothing, but keep a quiet eye on the situation. Yes that’s right I suggest using spying techniques 007 would be proud of!
    This is when you have to accept that you may have to become the enemy. You can set up a bit of a good cop, bad cop arrangement with your wife. BUT NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER openly infront of said teenager undermine eachother. You must stick together. If they spot they can play one parent against the other…Well, just don’t do it.
    Love them unconditionally, literally whatever they do, tell them you love them. After you have taken away their phone, grounded them and they have screamed at you how much they hate you (you are failing as a parent if they don’t do that an average of once a month) still tell them you love them.
    Be there when they get their heart broken. Don’t say “I told you so” when they fail at something.

    Oh I believed my eldest, now 30 had been the perfect teenager. It was only as an adult she told me all the stuff she got up too! She was just a bit smarter at covering her tracks!
    But, they all became very responsible, hard working adults, with good life and work ethics.
    Hope this helps.
    Vicky

    1. Thanks Vicky. Some very solid advice in there, probably the bit about being told once a month that you are hated being top of the list! Or maybe the boyfriend stuff is the most valuable bit of advice? Oh I don’t know, this is where it all gets so confusing.

      I was a bit troublesome in my younger days. I’ve managed to grow into a hardworking and sensible individual. ultimately most of us do, right? Thanks for the advice and love this response!

  3. I hadn’t even thought about what it would be like when my daughters start secondary school, but you’ve touched upon on a few things that have made me think. I love the little community of parents at primary school. Everyone knows everyone and is really friendly, but you’re right. When they start secondary school, they’re not going to want to mum or dad walking with them! The thought of not knowing their friends or their friends parents is also a worry! Oh my goodness, what a can of worms you’ve opened, ha ha! Even at seven years old, I feel that time has flown by as it really doesn’t feel that long ago that our girls were born and now they’re seven! How did that happen?! Great post John. Thanks for joining in with #ThatFridayLinky

    1. Yeah, I hadn’t really thought about the school community thing until this other mum mentioned it. It’s going to represent a big, big change. I know exactly what you mean about your twins growing up so fast too. I find it staggering our eldest is a decade old. her behaviour becomes more teen-like every day ‘though.

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