Many of the posts I write are about teen girls. My girls just seem to provide me with plenty of material, what can I say? However, I do have a son. He is now a teenager. I’m in denial, though. So, when I invited Beth, from The Adventures of Beta Mummy, to take part in my teen series of how those with smalls envisage the teen years to be like, I was delighted. Beth has two boys. Right, Beth, just how bad do you think it is going to be? I may just have to read this hiding behind my hands!
1. I know it’s a long way off but what are you dreading about your boys becoming teens? I’m dreading puberty and the thought of going into one of their rooms and finding…I don’t know…sticky tube socks…?! Their dad and I are no longer together so I’ll have to do my best with any “manly issues”…! I’m also dreading the school work and exams, and the stress that comes with it.
2. What are you looking forward to? Not having them wake me up at 6am! It’ll be nice to have to wake them up for a change, although I guess that novelty will wear off eventually.
3. As a parent, what issues do you imagine are important when raising teens? Time and time again I have thought how relieved I am that social media (and all the crap that can come with it) and smart phones didn’t exist when I was a teenager. When I hear about online bullying and grooming etc it makes me scared for my boys. Another issue I’m worried about is mental health. Mental health issues in young men are increasingly common and I often lose sleep over the worry that I’m fucking them up in some way and potentially contributing to future mental health problems.
4. What kind of parent do you think or hope (!) you’ll be when your boys are in their teen years? I hope that I’ll be approachable and that my boys will trust me with their problems. I hope that they’ll still want to hang out with me from time to time. I expect I’ll be embarrassing but hopefully not so much so that they’ll refuse to acknowledge me in public!
5. Is there anything you’d like to say to your own parents before your boys become teens or were you an angel? My mum will back me up on this: I was pretty much angel! I kind of wish I’d been a bit more rebellious, actually, but I just can’t help being sensible and boring, when all is said and done.
6. Is there any advice that you would give your sons before they get to the teen stage? Listen to your dear old mum: I love you more than you will ever understand until you have children of your own. I will only ever have your best interests at heart, even though it might not feel like that sometimes. Being a good person is more important than being the most popular person. Oh – and please wash daily, you smell.
7. Do you envisage raising teens to be an easier stage than raising littles? God, I hope so because raising little ones is harder than I thought possible! I’m not a naturally maternal type, but I do feel like I’m settling into motherhood marginally more as my kids get older. I have no doubts that teenagers can be grim, and challenging, and cause no end of worry and stress…but I’m hoping that I will feel better equipped to deal with that than with screaming babies. We shall see – ask me again in 10 years or so!
Oh, Beth, thank you so much for these answers. They are just brilliant. I love your humour but also your compassion and empathy for boys. I know that raising teens isn’t straightforward. You mention mental health. The stats are scary and they sit their at the back of my mind, too. I guess, we can only hope that, by being approachable, as you say, that they will be able to talk to us. Oh, and the washing daily? I hear you! Beth, thank you, again, for these answers, and, hopefully, your boys will follow in your footsteps of being an angel (I’m super impressed!) and that you will breeze through the teen years. I will be asking in ten years for sure!
And, as always, we couldn’t have a post by Beth without her famous doodles, so here goes, Alpha versus Beta: