The other day *one of my daughters* and I were having a conversation about types of boy. According to her, her year is completely filled with boys who have an unrelentingly active ‘romantic’ life that would make most of us reach for a zimmer frame and be glad of it. In fact, all that stops them from having sex is talking about having sex; once they’ve relayed their conquests, they head back into the fray.
“Ah,” I said. “There are two things to learn from this. One is that most teenage boys are big fat liars. The other is, never sleep with a boy who spends a lot of time talking about having sex. Whatever he says to you at the time, you will just be the next topic of his conversation and everyone will know what you look like naked and if you are any good in bed.”
I could have added ‘and bear in mind how very short indeed my hair became after I asked your daddy to trim an inch off it and he removed 4 inches, but I thought I’d save that for another time. She’s only just got the hang of units of measurement as it is, teaching her that an inch is a very different thing is you are male is a whole step too far
The remarkable moment, that parenting gem I’m going to savour, came immediately after this.
“Ok,” said my almost 15 year old daughter. “Well, I believe you. You are always right so I will keep away from those ones.”
My teenager thinks I am always right. That is not to be sneezed at She wasn’t even joking.
So we have affairs of the heart sewn up, for now at least.
I’ve taught her to read books for pleasure and I was also right that reading Lord of the Flies over the summer would be good for her, since it turned out to be this terms literary criticism book.
Making revision lists also works. Actually doing revision works. Homework will never look better on the last day of half term.
I will always know if she stays up till too late playing silly games on her iPad.
She can make a better Chinese new year tiger finger puppet than she thought she can. Sewing isn’t always bad, even if it is Fran’s doing it.
Most of these things I already knew by the time I was 15, with the exception of iPad related ones since we got excited about calculators and Game n’ Match toys in those days. But it appears, from this recent news story that one thing I failed badly on until recently really does need to be taught to our teens. Having finally lived debt free for 8 years (and the joy of that is not to be underestimated) I really hope we’ve managed to pass on to our children that borrowing for anything except a house and a car and, if you must, an education, should be approached with caution.
Part of the regular conversations in this house about growing up, maturing, living a more adult life and becoming responsible focus on owning up to mistakes (to others or yourself) quickly. If you do something that might make you ill or get you pregnant, tell someone fast or deal with it before the problem is much bigger indeed. And if you get into debt, don’t spend your way out of trouble (#fail) get some help and look into IVA terms if you need to. It’s not pretty, but it’s much better than leaving it to fester.
I should probably take my own advice and go and deal with that form I forgot to send in :/