On the species known as “the teenager”
Now the advantage (or disadvantage as the case may be) of being a bit late to this parenting game is that the majority of our friends have older children and are always on hand to dole out useful snippets of advice. Indeed, I am quite envious of one of my mates who’s two girls are now 16 and 14, with the girls pretty much self-sufficient in the ‘needing to be entertained’ stakes, he and his wife don’t know what to do with themselves at weekends now. In fact his wife has him filling the garden with various DIY projects seen on Pinterest…Auricula theatre anyone? Having said that he’s recently started taking his eldest to various gigs after helping nurture her discerning taste in music, no boy bands for this young lady I’m pleased to say, something I am genuinely looking forward to doing with my girls.
The flip side of this was shown to us at the weekend. My wife and I were very kindly invited to the 18th birthday party of the daughter of one our friends, I’ve known this young lady all her life, she’s bright, articulate and easy to talk to, a credit to her parents. The vision that greeted us on Saturday, 8 inch high heels, a dress that barely covered her behind and revealed, I’m reliably informed by the Daily Mail, “side boob”, we were shocked to say the least. Now, don’t get me wrong, teenage girls can dress how they wish, but it was an eye opener to say the least! The majority of the girls at the party were dressed in a similar fashion.
I could at least see me and my friends past selves in some of the boys attending the party. How did the evening pan out, well to us and the handful of other ‘olds’ at the party it was quite an amusing evening. Despite the changes in fashion since we were 18 things don’t change much. We were on a boat and the crew turned it around after just an hour and a half to drop off a girl who had had way too much and could barely walk, fortunately she had friends with her to make sure she was looked after. A group of lads were also dismissed for similar reasons as well as being a bit aggressive with the crew. After this the rest of the evening went swimmingly.
Now despite the amusements and reminiscences amongst ourselves and the other parents onboard on parties from our past, I think both my wife and I were given a sobering look at our future life. How do we keep our children safe when they are of an age to go out and about drinking? It certainly showed us that as soon as you get beyond one stage in their lives (still struggling with the potty training here!) another challenge always raises its head. We just have to do our best by our girls and trust their judgement and always be there when they make their inevitable mistakes (I naively hope these will be small ones).
However I’m sure there’s bound to come a day when I will speak the immortal words “you’re not going out dressed like that!”