1Everything is ‘fine’
They might be floating on clouds after a night out, have a face like thunder when they get home from school, or simply be staring blankly at the television. If you ask how things are going, you’ll get the same answer each time: “Fine.”
2You wonder where the food went
You’re sure you spent a small fortune stocking up the kitchen cupboards. There was enough food in the house to last a week. So how come all you can see as you peer into the fridge is a head of broccoli and a half-empty jar of mayonnaise?
3You always imagine the worst
Every time they fail to respond to a text or phone call, your thoughts run wild. Surely some evil has befallen them? They’ve had a terrible accident, or even been snatched off the street. When they wander home muttering about a flat phone battery, they won’t understand why you hug them non-stop for the next five minutes.
4Their rooms have a ‘special’ smell
It doesn’t seem to matter how much air-freshener you use, how often you clean it, or even if your teenager is very conscientious about their personal hygiene. Their room still has its own peculiar aroma. Bizarrely, this doesn’t seem to transfer to their clothes.
5If you shut the door, you can ignore the mess
Following on from the above, most of us eventually realise the only way to live with the bombsite masquerading as our teen’s bedroom is to pretend it doesn’t exist. Just close the door and walk away. It will save your sanity.
6‘You don’t have to spend it all’ is something you say regularly
What is it about teenagers and money? Whether it’s regular cash from a weekend job or a birthday gift from a relative, it seems the object of the exercise is to get rid of it as soon as possible. Why? Why don’t they save some instead of spending it on more tat they don’t need? After all, we did…right?
7You realise you’re not as ‘with it’ as you thought
We understand Facebook. Twitter holds no fears for us. We’ll even venture onto Instagram. But Snapchat and Tumblr? Nope. You’ve lost us. We might pretend to understand, but the reality is we’re staring vaguely at our phones with no idea.
8You’ve embraced the ‘selfie’
Even though you don’t fully understand social media, you’ve switched on to the craze of taking endless photographs of yourself. You insist on joint pictures with your teen everywhere you go, and take plenty of your own too. Eventually your teen will beg you to stop – or at least demand you stop tagging them on Facebook.
9You can’t help with their homework
Perhaps you were top of the class in maths, but modern teaching methods have changed so much that the textbooks might as well be in a foreign language. It doesn’t matter if your way of solving equations is easier (to you) and gets the right answer – they have to show their working out and there’s nothing you can do.
10‘I don’t mind’ is their most-used phrase
What do you want for tea? Shall we go to the cinema at the weekend? Which colour jumper would you like? Should I jump off this cliff? Your teen will offer no opinion…unless you make the wrong decision, of course.
11You marvel at their ability to multi-task
How can they possibly concentrate on writing an essay when they’ve got one earbud in so they can listen to music while watching Stranger Things on Netflix on the main television at the same time? But as long as their grades are ok, you can’t really complain.
12You’ve switched roles
It used to be you asking them if they needed to use the bathroom before you went anywhere. Now they’re the ones telling you to make sure you go, because “you know what your granny-bladder is like, Mum.’ Oh, the shame.
13You wish they’d realise how amazing they are
The teenage years are full of insecurities. We’re hung up on our looks, our abilities, our personality traits. Only once we’re adults do we look back and think that, actually, we were pretty special. If only our own teens could recognise the same qualities in themselves sooner rather than later.