Everyone tells you living with teens will be hard. Older parents make jokes about it for YEARS when you’re standing around trying not to get food poisoning at Uncle Russell’s 80th and Lily’s christening that goes on way too long in the backyard sun.
I’ve found teens not nearly as dreadful as I’ve been warned. They are bright and passionate. Smart and giving. Fun and eye-opening. Brave and beautiful. Lots of other adjectives you can separate with an and.
But they also can be domestic terrorists wearing too tiny denim shorts (and your t-shirts, oh and that’s your gold bangle on a right wrist). There can be moments when they challenge the bejeezuuz out of you. When it does get hard. When all the experts in the world tell you to hold your tongue, or let it go, or walk away and you do something stupid.
Out comes the eye roll, or the messy kitchen – after being home all day on holidays, or the unchanged toilet roll, or the ASKING FOR THEM TO DO A SIMPLE TASK 1000 TIMES AND IT NEVER GETS DONE and you lose it.
And you know you shouldn’t have lost it. Maybe it wasn’t even you, because you don’t remember thinking OK now I’m going to throw the contents of the bin they haven’t emptied onto their bedroom floor.
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I have three teens and one tween in my house. There is never a dull moment, lots of packets of empty rice crackers lying near the couch on the floor, lots of being corrected because despite being in my 40s I’m apparently quite clueless as to how the real world works. I’VE BEEN LIVING IN A DREAM WORLD FOR DECADES PEOPLE.
I love my teens but sometimes I don’t know who I am when I am around them. The other day after someone in my house lost their keys again I walked outside, shut the door behind me and actually roared. Like a lion roar. I think cats came.
Parents are told constantly how hard it is for teenagers to navigate the modern world, and it is, and we know this, and we love them, but sometimes it can be hard on us too.
In the interests of comforting other parents out there I have collected stories of mums and dads who lost it with their teens and the kids didn’t grow up to be serial killers or even politicians (yet). They grew up to be very nice people with stable jobs and a few have tattoos they regret.
Here are the stories of brain snap parents:
Dad made my brother eat in the dining room with the lights off one night at dinner because he was laughing too much. – Clare, 30.
My dad once found a bottle of gin my brother and I had hidden (we were teens). So instead of confronting us, he just casually cracked it open and started sharing it with mum over dinner one night in front of us. We were mortified. – Sarah, 26.
My mum once threw a whole basket of wet washing on me in my bed as I slept because I forgot to do mine for about 3 weeks in a row. – Laura, 24.
We were bickering in the back of the car on holiday, and my dad just had enough and made me get out of the car. It was like... a petrol station... at night... in the middle of nowhere. And then he went back 10 minutes later and couldn't find me. - Kate, 28.
I legitimately got kicked out of home about once a week in year 12. And mum would always call my dad at work and say "I've kicked Bel out again" and he would just text me like "see you at dinner?" - Belinda, 23.
My friend's mum was so frustrated with her brother's messy room that she picked up everything on his floor, put it in her car boot and just drove around with it in there for days. - Amber, 25.
My brother refused to eat his dinner so my dad put it in the fridge and then force fed him mash potato for breakfast. - Rachel, 32.
My mum wigged out after catching an episode of Party of Five that probably involved teen sex, and tried to insist my bedtime was 7:30, like it had been in primary school and I had been flouting my bed time for the last three years. - Kelly, 33.
My parents got fed up with me making noise coming home from a night out that one Saturday when I was sleeping in, they banged on all the windows, and slammed all the doors/kitchen cupboards when they came home. - Libby, 21.
My childhood friend Jack and I had stolen the quad bike when we were young (he lived on a farm). We weren't meant to do that but his mum was out so we thought we could get away with it. His mum arrived back home before we did. We roll into the house real proud of ourselves. Next minute we see her, she starts screaming at him that it was so dangerous. Then she chased him out of the house with a HORSE WHIP and locked all the doors. - Lara, 27.
When I was 14 my mum found the packet of ciggies I was hiding in my room and instead of confronting me about them, she just took them. - Clare, 30.
I took dad's ute down the paddock when I was around 12, and got it bogged (essentially in the dam) I called him up and told him - but because I'd done something I shouldn't have he left me down there to sort it out for myself. I spent two hours trying to dig the mud out from under the wheels, only for him to come down near dark and put the 4wd lock on the tyres and drive it out. Jessica, 26.
My brother and I were going to swimming lessons and we'd been arguing about going so we were really late. We were going to a new swim school and mum didn't know the way. She pulled over to ask a pedestrian directions and ended up screaming at us in the backseat, as well as the pedestrian who was trying to help, because we were still complaining about having to do swimming lessons. We did not get to the swimming class. - Liz, 26.
My mum once put all the dirty dishes under my brothers doona because he never cleaned up. - Michelle, 28.