Friday, 27 March 2015


There was a new television programme on this week about teenagers, called Teens, on Channel 4. Unfortunately I missed it but I did read Sam Wollaston's review of it in the Guardian, which said, and I quote:

"So what am I finding out about being 16 or 17 today? That although it might be expressed via different means and in different language, underneath it's pretty much the same as when I was that age. A nightmare basically, a time of catastrophic existential crisis, or worrying not just about who you are but also about who you're going to be. Also - most of all - about what you look like, and whether anybody likes you."

I read that bit out at the breakfast table.

"Only if you are a total loser," said Middle One, who is a teenager himself.

We will soon have three, teenagers that is. One son is about to be one, in a month or so, one has another year and a bit to run, and one is slap bang in the middle of it. So I reckon I know a bit about teenagers and I'd like to share my observations with you. In particular I'd like to share them with Sam Wollaston, although I know he's pretty unlikely to read this, but you never know.

First a caveat. I don't want to come over all smug because I know I might be tempting fate, especially with Youngest who is still adorable and the jury is still very much at the getting to know each other stage when it comes to what his teenage persona will be. So, caveat out of the way, here I go... 

I LOVE having teenagers. They are so much better than either children or fully-fledged adults. Why? Well, they are fairly low maintenance. They can pretty much feed and clothe themselves now, unlike children, who as I recall need a lot of input, or babies/toddlers - and again this is only as I recall it from way back - who require round the clock attention and are liable to cry or be sick or poo themselves at any moment. 

And you can talk to teenagers, they are interesting, and funny. A bit like friends, except that they are required to live with you all the time because they have no where else to go and no independent financial means. Which is great because they are basically trapped here and I can talk to them whenever I like and get to know what's going on.

I would go so far as to say that teenagers, when they are on top form, are fantastic. Okay there are a few things I don't like about them: they are incapable of picking anything up off the floor of their bedrooms or hanging a wet towel on a towel rail; they can't get up in the morning at weekends and they leave crumbs and spillages all over the kitchen whenever they go in it, but mostly they are great and I recommend them. 

So here are a few of my observations for if you find yourself in charge of one in the near future.

1.) They like arguing about politics and/or contentious issues at the dinner table in loud voices.

2.) They like to bait siblings by saying loud things at the dinner table that are political/contentious.

3.) They love steak. Either that or they are vegetarians. It's one or the other.

4.) They don't like country walks, or walking anywhere. 

5.) In fact they don't like going out of the house much at all unless it's with their friends.

6.) They hate going to have their hair cut and trying on shoes, or anything.

7.) They don't watch regular TV, only movies or American things on Netflix or bands/musicians on YouTube, the more illegal the better.

8.) They don't use Facebook except to chat to people. Updating your status is 'for losers', apparently.

9.) They only buy things via the internet, not in actual shops, unless it's 'vinyl', which they buy to display in their bedrooms rather than to play, often because they don't have a record player.

10.) They would really like to have a record player.

11.) They think the 80s was a cool time and nothing you can say about it will make any difference.

12.) Don't talk to them before they eat breakfast. 

13.) They never wear matching socks, despite the fact that you buy them for them in pairs.

14.) Most of them play guitar, a lot, very loudly.

15.) Contrary to popular belief you CAN get them to do jobs around the house but only immediately before they want a lift somewhere because they have a heavy amp and they can't take it on the bus.

I should possibly add, for those of you who are not regular readers, that I am the mother of boys. I don't have any girls at all. Not wishing to sound disloyal to my sex or anything - I'm sure lots of them are lovely, although I know I wasn't - I am thankful for this fact every single day.

Love E x

Our three washing up, a while back 

Follow me on Twitter @DOESNOTDOIT

Although I have given up Facebook for the time being because I reckon it's bad for me, like chocolate or something, and obviously it's for losers, this blog does have a Facebook page which I am still updating. You can cut and paste the link -

P.S. Sam Wollaston did kindly read this and sent me a message on Twitter yesterday to say that our teenagers sound lovely and if his kids turn out half as good he is looking forward to it. How lovely of him.


  1. I think that you fail to appreciate that a floor is simply a large, readily-accesible and convenient shelf for storage of virtually anything. Once you get used to it, it makes life a lot easier, except for walking around perhaps.

  2. I love this photograph and this post. I have a 12 year old son and daughters, 14 & 16, so it's a little premature for me to compare male/female teenage characteristics. My son is still very cuddly - long may that last. I've just read Mal Peet's, 'Life is an Exploded Diagram, which is a great love story/coming of age (albeit sad) with a male protagonist. I'll be looking out for Teens, hopefully it screens in NZ.

  3. Thanks for this lovely comment. I love the photo too. I'll have to get that book on my new Kindle, and I hope Teens does get to you in NZ. E x