parent opinion

"Scream into your pillow when you need to." The rules for parenting a teenager.

Listen to this story being read by Katie Stow, here.

This post is intended as satire. 

Remember to only refer to them as assholes in your head. Try not to say it out loud. Scream it into your pillow when you need to.

As a parent, remember it’s your job to teach your child and gently guide them through life with love and knowledge. Well, until they turn 13 and become experts overnight. They now know everything about everything and please don’t waste their time by speaking to them. See also "breathing" and "existing" around teens. Try to limit these as much as possible to avoid annoying them.

Make an effort to understand their culture. Watch YouTube fails with them. Pretend that Snapchat, and the idea of a messaging platform that was designed to delete messages autonomously, doesn’t horrify you. Don’t dance in the background of their TikTok videos, or maybe do if you’re feeling brave. 

Watch: Superwoman is dead. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Their music is terrible, but faking an interest in it is an excellent way to spend time with them. Enjoy the K-pop concert and try not to miss your own youth that was spent wearing a crochet bikini at the Big Day Out in 1997 while screaming along to Offspring’s 'Gone Away' in the mosh pit. Your parents hated your music too, don’t forget. 

You will one day attempt to grab a glass of water and discover all 32 glasses are somehow missing. They will be in your teen’s room, along with nine plates with food caked onto them. Just buy more. 


Teenagers smell. Buy copious amounts of deodorant. Sneak plug-in room fresheners into spare power points while they’re out. Ninja-spray quick gusts of Febreze when they open their doors a tiny crack to slither out momentarily for another glass of water. 

Encourage them to socialise! Make friends with their friend’s parents, host weekend barbeques and parties and ensure your house has "cool hangout zone" vibes. But you need to do this without trying to be cool or having any rules. Think Lorelai in Gilmore Girls, not Dr Walter Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You. 

There will be moments when they’re completely happy and they love you more than anyone else in the world. These moments are: getting a brand new phone on or before release day, dinner of their favourite takeaway that their siblings hate, and meeting the actor who plays their favourite character. This is an exhaustive list.

Understand their need for independence. But under no circumstances should you attempt to do anything that teaches them the skills they need for this. A part-time job is a great idea, as long as they come up with it themselves. Ensure you respect their desire to only work in fashion, gaming or interior design. Please don’t suggest they work at Maccas like you did. 

Every now and then you will catch a glimpse of the baby you held, the toddler you taught, the child you raised. They were once your very best friend in the world who cried when you went to the toilet without them. Hold on through the teen years and give them all the love you can, because deep down inside that little person still needs you. 

Just don’t annoy them by telling them that. This is just a brief period of discovering who they are and where they fit into this world. Soon they'll be lovely adults who will be your best friend again. Love them as much as possible in the meantime.

Read more from Emily:

Feature Image: Getty.

Love watching TV and movies? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.