Do you or have you had teenage children?

I have one (nearly 2) in the house – the other one has caught ‘teen-itis’ by proxy.

Folk law, TV, other parents, memories do a pretty good job informing us about what teens are like.  But it’s never the WHOLE picture.

It’s not until you actually have teens in your house that you can feel the full impact.

Just today I was speaking with a friend about being 40 something and what a massive shift it is from the 30 somethings.  We spoke about coming to terms with finding ourselves and slowly but surely being comfortable in our own skin – even if (in my case) the skin has squidgy bits that hang over the top of my jeans.

And it’s this newly gained mojo that teens revel in.

In case you haven’t quite got there yet the great thing about teens is that they have finely tuned radars which hone in on the cracks that lie between every ounce of self-confidence that you’ve managed to muster in your years on the planet.  Not only do they find the cracks but they somehow hit the base of the issue and drag it up from the deep presenting it on a silver platter for you (and everyone else around you) to revel in.

Only yesterday it was pointed out to me that I am a complete and utter dufus when it comes to greeting people.  Had I know this I could have saved my children the embarrassment of my free range presence out in the community.

It was an ordinary afternoon, I was walking down the street with three kids in tow (1 bigger than me these days) and we walked past someone we knew – a pretty regular occurrence in a small town.

Apparently after saying hi I snorted.


Well, so my teen ceremoniously informed me.

It doesn’t stop there either.  Apparently I stare in a stupid way when I’m concerned about my children, I have a saccharine sweet (and incredibly patronising) way of speaking to other children and don’t even talk about the embarrassing car, that’s just off limits.

These points, apparently are helpful.  Goodness knows why I wasted all of that cash learning how to present myself, communicate effectively and look generally competent in public.  I could have just asked my kids who would have told me in no uncertain terms to stay behind closed doors.

Another friend told me the other day I can expect this to turn around at about the age of 30.  THIRTY !  OK, that’s only 15 more years, I’m sure I can hold on that long.  And besides, I do have copies of the baby photos not to mention all of the kid quotes that haven’t made their way to Facebook.  On the days they really rile me I can reflect on these and consider the many embarassing ways they could be shared – sweet revenge.

But no need for that just yet.  For now guess I’ll just strap myself in and enjoy the advice of my teen gurus and be thankful for the opportunity to thicken my skin one comment at a time.

And really, it’s not so bad they are still kinda sweet and even on the days they aren’t I still love them to bits and remember that their influence also changed me for the better along the way.