This isn’t an instruction. I’m not advocating shouting loudly at one although it does help sometimes. I am meant to understand, empathise with, encourage teenagers. I should find them interesting, amusing, passionate, good company. There are many moments of those I grant you and I do love the teenagers I have produced. Produced, ah so its my fault.
I was a teenager once. I don’t remember being a problematic one. I rebelled in a very small way. Nothing too excessive or outrageous. I may have had rows with my parents but nothing earth shattering. It was a long time ago and time alters ones perception of past events.
There’s a few things that niggle me about teenagers. Why are they always right? Why are we supposed to be so understanding when by and large, they couldn’t care less about us. It seems a very one directional giving a shit arrangement. And when we ask whats wrong, we won’t understand. After all, we have never fallen in and out of love, been dumped, gone through puberty (we were made as fully developed adults, ready to produce babies and pay for things). We have never had our hearts broken, experienced failure or loss, anger or frustration. And god forbid, they reach the age of 18, they want to be known as adults. This seems entirely based on their legal right to buy a drink in a pub. That is the one defining aspect of adulthood by which we are all measured obviously.
They are always willing to pass on advice, words of wisdom and instructions because frankly our mental faculties start to diminish over 35. We need them to tell us how to run our lives based on their own vast life experiences. We parents flounder without 16 year olds telling us where we’ve gone wrong and how useless we are.
I’m ranting I know. I’ve had years of advice, instructions. I do want to say, just occasionally, once or twice; the thing is, you know fuck all.
I am not allowed to like certain cultural things as they have decided to appropriate them. I can only like music written at least 20 years ago and must never sing along or even admit to having seen the band live back when they started. Don’t believe any teenager who tells others their parents are cool. They are lying. They hate the thought of us actually having good taste, of ever being rebellious, fashionable, cool. We are all one shuffle away from the walking frame and incontinence pants.
I usually don’t care what they pronounce about my level of cool. I satisfy myself with the knowledge that they are merely stretched children, with out of control hormones and limited social skills. A bit like the evolutionary phase of southern ape man or if I’m feeling generous, neanderthal man.
The really sad sight is a 45 plus man or woman desperately attempting to regain their teenage vitality. Makes me wonder if they were really shit at being teenagers the first time round and were having another crack at it.
It is hard I’m sure to make the transition from child to adult. I will be there to help you when I can but don’t take the piss. Growing up means not having me run round after you because you haven’t learned that you are not in fact 8.
No we don’t understand how hard it is for you. We did once because we went through it but that was a long time ago. We grew up, started jobs, careers, families, accrued enormous debts and started to lose our youthful virility and general taughtness. It just sounds a little self indulgent on the part of the spoilt anti social creature skulking in their bedroom. WE don’t always want deep profound philosophical discussions, we just wish you’d help with the washing up or tidying your room. Not exactly rocket science you rocket scientists of the future.
I am going to lie down now and listen to some music. I may opt for some Vaughan Williams or The Charlatans. You see, I’m over 50, have an extensive musical collection and am prepared to give most styles of music a go. As a teenager, I dismissed whole swathes of popular music because I was stupid. That stupidity was reinforced by my hormonal certainty and inability to be receptive. I despair of friends who still persist in refusing to listen to whole genres of music as their tastes have never developed. This smacks of Trumpism and never leaving your home town. The world is a fairly large thing and there are all sorts of experiences to experience.
I do wonder really if the true nature of teenage life is one of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of making mistakes, fear of taking chances, fear of looking like an idiot.
Well, fear not youngsters, if you haven’t fucked it all up by the time you are 50, you will at least have your own teenagers to remind how you may have done. Until then, go and tell each other what to do and leave your parents in peace. We just want to be happy.