So What Will Those Teen Years Be Like?

Oh, I am thrilled to be relaunching this series about what those with smalls imagine the teen years to be like. And even more thrilled to kickstart it with the wonderful Charlie from Mess & Merlot. I’ve followed Charlie’s blog for a while now and love her way with words that tell it how it is. Charlie has an ability to write in a way that just makes you feel like you’ve just sat down for a cup of coffee with your best friend and a had a much needed feel good catch-up. She is realistic, honest and one damn good baker too! So with no further ado, I hand you over to Charlie!

1. I know it’s a long way off but what are you dreading about your children becoming teenagers? Online gaming/internet scares me. I can already see similarities between myself and my Mother when I think about the conversations I have with my eight-year-old on the subject. E.g. while I find it infuriating to have to repeatedly explain to Mum the difference between sending something via Messenger and ACTUALLY POSTING IT ON FACEBOOK where the entire world can read it (deep breaths), I am equally clueless when it comes to things like connecting with other gamers online and the security issues that could come with that. Sexting, cyber-bullying, grooming and the like are always a worry once children are too old for Kids YouTube!

Body Image- another biggy. Children are far more body conscious these days and from a much earlier age. I do my best to encourage a healthy view of body image in my children (both of whom have completely different builds) and we regularly discuss how everyone is different etc, etc but I know that as they get older this subject can become very complicated.

Safe Sex/Pregnancy- I think this is a pretty justifiable concern right? Whether you’re the mother of boys or girls, this is probably something you’re going to gain a few grey hairs over once they start dating.

Driving- Well I mean, ANYTHING could happen.

Life changing decisions- A-Levels or College? University or Internship? Gap year travelling or get a job? Live at home or emigrate to Tibet? I would like to think that we’ll discuss all of these as a family while Teenager takes on board the wisdom of The Elders but who am I kidding? I know, I know they need to be independent and make their own mistakes in life but can’t we just wait until they’re at least in their 30s?

2. What are you looking forward to? Despite all of the above, I am excited about watching them grow into young adults and spending time with them on a more ‘grown up’ level. I really hope that they might actually want to hang out with The Old Dear occasionally , even if I do have to bribe them with the promise of a new pair of trainers in return!

3. As a parent, what issues do you imagine are important when raising teens? As with every stage of parenting, we want to guide our children through life in the best possible way. From the very early stages of teaching right from wrong or the importance of sharing to the more grown-up issues of compassion or self-respect. The teenage years are a time where I imagine encouraging positive traits e.g. self-worth, respect for others, morals and a positive view on life will be invaluable in helping them grow into a well-rounded adult. In my head that’s the dream, in reality, we’ll probably be dealing with daily hormone-induced Kev & Perry-esque meltdowns over short skirts and curfews.

4. What kind of parent do you think or hope (!) you’ll be when your children are in their teen years? I’d love to think that when that time comes my kids will feel happy talking to me about anything that’s on their minds. No parent likes the idea of their child being upset but I imagine it’s much easier to get a five year old to open up to you than a fifteen-year-old to do the same. When we’re teenagers we know everything right? I certainly did anyway, the last person I would ever go to for advice would have been my mother (sorry Mum!).

5. Is there anything you’d like to say to your own parents before your children become teens or were you an angel? Oh God, I look back now and realise just how much I got away with as a teenager! I wasn’t particularly rebellious but I had no concept of how much parents worry about something that may seem like no big deal to a teen. Heading ‘out’ with friends (Where? What friends? How long for?) is totally normal teenage behavior so why did my parents insist on knowing every detail? Of course, now I realise it was because they cared. Sorry Mum, again.

6. Is there any advice that you would give your children before they get to the teen stage? My kids lose interest in what I’m saying halfway through most sentences so the likelihood of them ever listening to me long enough to give them advice is very slim. To be honest I wouldn’t even know where to start – there is SO much advice I’d like to give them. I think as parents we generally try to bring our children up to be well-rounded, decent human beings. From an early age, we’re advising so hopefully by the time they reach the teen stage they’ll have the basics down.
‘Treat people how you would like to be treated’ is a really kid-friendly piece of advice that applies at every stage in our lives. It’s easy for them to understand even if it’s not always easy for them to put into practice! ‘Always imagine how you would feel if someone did/said that to you’. As a parent of young children, I hear a lot of ‘He said, She said’ type tales from the classroom so we get plenty of real life examples to discuss!

7. Do you envisage raising teens to be an easier stage than raising littles? *Buries head in sand. Pretends it’s never gonna happen*

Thank you so so much, Charlie, for taking the time to answer these. I felt myself nodding my way through so many of your answers. All the worries that you mention that I know I’m going through now are real. Communication is key through this stage for sure. It helps everything seem to run just that little bit smoother. I also love your answer to advice to your children before they get to teens. If we all treated everyone as we would like to be treated the world would be such a better place. That advice will stand them in good stead for the appropriate use of social media too. Oh, and I did have a little giggle about your conversations with your mum about the difference between Messenger and posting on Facebook – I think I may be that mum! Charlie, I think you’ve got this parenting malarkey nailed so I am sure you’ll breeze through the teen years. Come back to me on it, though, as genuinely interested in how right I reckon you will be!

Charlie’s links are below and if anyone else is interested in taking part in this series please get in touch.

http://www.messandmerlot.com
Twitter: @Mess_and_Merlot

 

79 thoughts on “So What Will Those Teen Years Be Like?

    1. Oh I completely agree – I’ve got three of them and as long as you keep those lines of communication open so that there is honesty and openness but also empathy then it’s really not as bad as you imagine it may be! Thank you for you comment xx

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  1. Helen! You’re not supposed to agree with me!!! 🙂 I’m kidding, it’s quite nice to know that at least I am being realistic and have *some* idea of what lies ahead – forewarned is forearmed as they say!
    This was a really interesting one for me so thank you for letting me guest post for you on the teen series. As you already know the thought of being a mum to teens has terrified me in the past but your blog really does make me feel like it might not be quite the nightmare I’ve imagined it will be.
    Honestly, you have no idea how lovely it is to read your posts and see the great relationship you have with your teens – all while being utterly fabulous and having a life of your own too!
    Keep up the good work (us parents of pre-teens need you!) xx

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    1. Oh I’m so sorry! Charlie, thank you so much for taking part – I adored your answers. You really are so kind with this comment and it really has made my day reading what you have said – I won’t quit yet then! xxx

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  2. I have a teenager and a pre-teenager. It is more hilly than when they were younger as they now have opinions and conversations and I am no longer the wisest and most beautiful person in the world. They both do still tell me about their lives though and they still listen to some of the things I have to stay [but not if they relate to doing homework, studying or not sitting on their iPhones all day long].

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    1. Oh this made me giggle – homework chats are almost banned in this house – one of my daughters complains that they actually make her feel unwell – great! Yes more hilly but I found it for the most a lot more enjoyable. Thank you for your comment xx

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  3. Oh I struggled to get to this post from #marvmondays for some reason the link doesn’t work. Anyway I really like this series and I think Charlie has echoed a lot of what many of us worry about but also ‘hope to’ look forward to when our little ones grow up. I completely agree the online world scares me as does the concept of body image, I could bang on all day about that. Anyway lovely interview that I thoroughly enjoy xx #marvmondays

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    1. Oh how strange! I thought my views were down from my usual marvmondays! Thank you for your lovely comment – I thought Charlie was spot on with so many of her concerns – they are the things we worry about but we have to address them and be open with our children so that they don’t become too big to manage! xx

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  4. I love this series and I think of Charlie exactly as you describe her at the start – reading her blog and this post is like having a cuppa with a pal! I really do worry about the online thing, it’s definitely my biggest concern for when mine are older. My only hope is that by then someone will have come up with a comprehensive, fool proof guide for parents to keep their teens safe online!!!! 😂 Love the advice to treat other’s how you wish to be treated – simple but so effective. #DreamTeam

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    1. Thank you lovely. The online thing is an issue. I’m just in the process of trying to sort a workshop in London with Sarah and Jayne the counsellors I work with about this issue and other teen related issues – just to provide that support network to parents out there xx

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  5. Oh my goodness! I know it will be here in the blink of an eye but I definitely have my head buried in the sand at the moment! I don’t even want to think about half of it…. They’re babies still aren’t they! At least I know Hubby has the online side covered. I will deal with relationships.
    #DreamTeam

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    1. Without fail, this appears to be the biggest concern for all parents of smalls. Yes it is a big issue in this house too but it’s talked about and as long as communication is open and honest then it’s not too bad. It is always the ‘what if’ that hangs in the air all the time that is the worry! Thank you for your comment xx

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  6. ‘Treat people how you would like to be treated’ is a great piece of advice regardless of your age. The whole internet thing scares me too – and who knows what sort of social media platforms kids will be using by the time my toddler is a teen and what they’ll be able to do? It’s terrifying. #DreamTeam

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    1. It’s great advice isn’t it? Social media is such a worry for parents. I think it’s the unknown aspect. At least by having a slight handle on social media and not being too old school we have a slight grip on what is going on out there and can keep an eye on things or be aware of problems that could arise. Thank you for your comment xx

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  7. Oh I’m so glad this series is back! Although I read through the answer to the first question and was quivering by the end – eeek so many scary things on the horizon! As you say, communication is key 🙂 #dreamteam

    P.S. If you’re looking for participants I’d love to take part 🙂

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  8. I went through an awful phase as a teen, so this is in the back of my mind with mine who are way way off that stage. For me it will all center around self confidence and a sense of their identity and honesty and trust between us. I will be open with them about anything they ask, listen to them and give them privacy, but I hope that with self love, they will not have the inclination to go off the tracks to impress others. Social media, however, is a terror, goodness knows where we’ll be in 10 years.

    Yvadney x #DreamTeam

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    1. You raise some really interesting points. I’ve been talking to a counsellor recently on some collaborative work and she mentions that one of the biggest challenges facing teens is sense of identity – I’ll be exploring this with her further in a post soon – I’ll tag you lovely. Thank you for reading and for your comment xx

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  9. Brilliant Charlie and Helen! I really enjoyed reading this and it made me wonder what I may have said in Charlie’s circumstances. I totally agree with all of the points and not having rose tinted glasses about these years is always helpful isn’t it. The thing I love most is that I will often look at my daughter and see the older girl taking shape and the woman that she will become (providing we manage to keep her on the straight and narrow!!!!!). And, you do realise Charlie that there will be a role reversal with the phone business don’t you! Helen will vouch for that and I’m not far off. I am mortified at the mere suggestion that my daughter knows more about these things than I!!!. Helen, thank you so much for linking up to #TweensTeensBeyond again. We really love having you here and great to see Charlie too. Nicky

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    1. Ha ha ha I can totally vouch for the phone situation! Oh I so agree about the loving of watching our children become the women, gentlemen that they will become – it’s a beautiful stage. So much to look forward to really! Thank you for such a lovely comment, Nicky and for hosting such a fab linky! xx

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  10. I would have the same concerns/worries about parenting teens, but this blog somehow makes it sound like it needn’t be too bad, as long as the communication channels remain open. Thank you both for this lovely post!
    #FamilyFun

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  11. So reading this with my slice of cake and cup of tea I was like a nodding dog – yes, yes.. you know the score Helen right! All Charlie’s worries were mine way back then, yet now I am in the thick of it it is nowhere as bad as I imagined. All us mothers of teenagers keep banging the same drum don’t we? Talk to them, keep the lines of communication open, be there for them – common sense some might say but it isn’t as easy as it looks and if you can get it right it so helps! Charlie sounds like she has it all sussed and will manage fine. Bear me in mind for those workshops Helen. It’s about time we met! Thanks for joining us again. #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. Ha ha really not as easy as it sounds but if you can just keep those lines of communication open then it is so much more manageable. You’re right about it not being as bad as we thought it could be – oh thank goodness! But the worry is still there of how bad it could be – just something or someone could just tip the whole balance! Thank you for your lovely comment, a fab linky and yes we must meet up! xx

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  12. Ooh goodie! I scored with dream team linky this time! I get to read a post featuring two of my favourite blogging peeps! Result! I was nodding vigorously too, having just got off the phone after eldest’s school rang to tell me about something she’d had to deal with which she hadn’t (yet) told me…Thankfully because she felt confident enough to go to the teachers about it when it happened and trusted they’d listen and do something and would tell me later. Then a few days ago after pressing youngest for weeks about why she kept getting tummy aches and didn’t seem herself, it finally all came out about girls in class being mean and feeling like she was invisible to other girls at school (stab.in.heart). Thankfully we have chatted through and spoken to teacher too but YIKES! This parenting lark isn’t for the faint-hearted!!!! Enough about me!!! Lovely to have this series back! #Dreamteam

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    1. Oh, Jane, it really is a rollercoaster of emotions for us parents isn’t it? My heart really goes out to both you and your youngest. Girls can be just so cruel. I really hope she’s OK. The bullying has definitely been a big factor in this house too – just has such a big impact on everything. Really hope it’s sorted soon lovely. That you for your gorgeous positive comment! xx

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  13. Oh I cringe at some of the Internet based conversations I have with my Mum nowadays she is so scared of it! She knows to go to my brother for she has tech questions as I’ve given up helping her! Lol! I’m not sure I can think that far ahead right now but I do hope that it will be okay! Time will tell! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

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  14. Helen, I just love your attitude towards parenting and teenagers. You and I are so aligned in our belief in communication and empathy. Your children are so lucky to have you as their mum. Charlie is so open and her interview is awesome…I’m sure many are sat reading it (as I am) totally relating to everything she says! If you’re looking for others to take part I’d be honoured, lovely! Thanks for creating this series – it’s so empowering to be able to start preparing for what’s to come and to get such incredible insights from others in this way. #coolmumclub Xxx

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    1. Oh Ursula thank you for such a gorgeous comment. Communication is key and I believe that wholeheartedly – it’s not always easy but as a mother you have to try. I read recently that who your daughters grow into is very much based on how you mother them – oh my word the pressure but that is why empathy is probably one of the most beautiful things you can give your children. Ursula, I’d love you to take part in this series – I’d love to read your answers so please take the 7 questions from this post and send over to me xxxx

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      1. I don’t see it as pressure, Helen! I see it as an opportunity to shape things the way you’d like them to turn out, and as a way to exert power over the way our children develop. I couldn’t agree with you more about empathy. Thanks so much for the invitation to take part, too! I’ll be in touch with my answers soon. Xxxx

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  15. Oh I love Charlie’s answers – she’s so insightful! I too was nodding along. I love the way you do your summing up at the end of your interview style posts, Helen. A formula that really works. Alison x #coolmumclub

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  16. I’m living this right now … Despite my attempts not to think about it! The Internet worries me most as I’m still figuring it out and it’s not an issue I had when I was growing up.

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    1. I think that’s the problem is it’s such an unknown entity. Many of us didn’t grow up in it so are struggling. Our kids kids will hopefully breeze it! Thank you for your comment xx

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  17. What a great idea for a series. I completely agree with everything Charlie says – not fully understanding the future online world scares the hell out of me. I really hope that my teenage kids will open up to me, but we all know that teenagers like to keep things to themselves. Lovely post x #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh thank you so much! The online world seems to be everyone’s fear. It is a real fear and it drives me insane but you have to set boundaries and keep them safe even if they think you’re interfering!! xx

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  18. My daughter is 11, so a lot of these questions are going through my head. As was said in the this post, all we can do is try to help them become decent human beings.
    #FamilyFun

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  19. We will be in this territory in a couple of years! At least at the moment I get lots of hugs, I’ll enjoy them while I have them because it will be all change and when they transmorph into that teenage species….eeeks! #coolmumclub

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  20. It’s a scary prospect imagining your children growing up and doing the things you did or making the mistakes you made. My son turns 13 this year and the thing I am struggling with the most is the change in the way he talks to me. He’s suddenly started talking to me as if I’m a mate and ruffling my hair as he walks past and fist pumping me. It’s so stupid because these things really don’t matter in the whole scheme of things but every time he does it reminds me that I’ve lost my little boy and this young man is growing before my eyes 😦 #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh the losing them to the teen years is something I’ve written about before – it does feel like that to me some days but watching them become who they are going to become is a wonderful part of raising teens! Enjoy the process and the hair ruffles – you need to do that back to him for sure! xx

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  21. I love this series Helen, it makes me feel like an old sage! As we both know, the teenage years are full of positivity and I absolutely adore the wonderful young ladies that my girls are becoming. You just have to be prepared to develop chronic anxiety and a lot of grey hairs! This is a wonderful meeting place where parents of teens and parents of little ones can exchange information. Looking forward to reading lots more. Thank you so much for linking up with #TweensTeensBeyond, we really value your support.

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    1. Oh thank you so much! And yes the teen years are also a wonderful stage but it does come with a disproportionate amount of worry I find – I worry about the what if but they’ve invariably got it covered and are fine. My eldest daughter goes away next week for three weeks and my husband was running through the list of dos and don’ts – she was quick to point out that he was not to worry as she;d already arranged to meet some guys she’d met through instagram and they seemed really nice and safe – you should have seen his face! She was joking by the way! Great to see the linky growing in support! xx

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  22. A fabulous interview Helen, and great answers, Charlie!! I am totally panicking about having teenagers, because I am very good at worrying about all of the negatives, and very bad at seeing any positives…! Like Charlie, the internet is causing me massive concern. I had a massive meltdown to my husband the other day, when I read about the amount of deaths there are from cyberbullying, and how boys are way more affected by this than girls-it actually sent me spiralling into panic… I also worry about safe sex-I’m going to drum it into them, and I just hope they listen to all of my advice and warnings! And as they’re difficult children, they should be great teens-that’s how it works, doesn’t it?!!
    #bigpinklink

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    1. Oh thank you! I think it is very easy to be scared of the future as the children become teens but it doesn’t happen overnight and you do grow with your children, though 15-17 is the trickiest bit for them I find – sooooo many issues going on at this time! Oh I love your theory about how they should be easy teens – let’s stick wth that for sanity! xx

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  23. Charlie’s answers were/are wonderful! I hope for all our sakes we have the wherewithal to handle these hormonal times with grace and decency. May they stay little a little longer, and oy vey for us all! #dreamteam xoxo

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  24. This is such a good series! lovely to have it back. Me and Hubby always have conversations of the future and ways to safe guard Ben and ways to instill certain morals into him. The internet scares us so much but we have ideas of having a family computer to show openness to try to stop his secrecy as he becomes a teen! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Oh thank you so much! The idea of a family computer is an excellent idea. Remember that most phones have internet available too though – that’s the tough one in this house I find! xx

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  25. Great series lovely. Oh I haven’t given any thought to the teenage years. I’d share a lot of the same concerns about the internet & driving etc. But at the same time of course it’s wonderful to see them grow up! Thank you for sharing with #BloggerClubUK x

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