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She is like a hurricane
Where Emma survives a teen-tornado.
Welcome new folks and hi again regulars! I know I haven’t quite replied to everyone’s messages last week. I’m getting there - please, send coffee.
It’s been a week in the life of a teen tornado. Truly, there isn’t enough wine in all the Downing Street parties to soothe the pain of this past week.
I follow some toddler parenting accounts on Twitter. These tweets are humorous, incredulous and resigned to the insanity that is parenting. Although my two are 18 and 14 now, I still see much of the toddler stage. For example, take your toddler’s favourite food. You know, the two things they will actually eat and love better than everything in the whole wide world. You buy it in bulk and they proclaim that they hate it and won’t deign to even look at it. Well, teens are exactly the same. And T.S Eliot thought cats were hard work.
My 14-year-old had a week of everything being wrong. Everything. From her sleeping arrangements to her mother, to her makeup, to her friends, to her mother (I got it a lot!), to her life, to her hair clips. I had things thrown at me, got punched, this was accidental, I think 🤞🏻. Then mopped her tears after bouts of uncontrollable crying and got reminded a million times I’m old and shit.
The smorgasbord of teenage emotion is too much for me.
In spite of being pummelled by a tiny tempestuous gorilla, I managed to find some solace. You see there wasn’t any singular event, issue or person that had brought about this storm. She was right. Everything was wrong.
Even though I’m ‘old and shit’ I do remember the challenges of the teen years. But even growing up in rural Scotland with an English accent wasn’t as tough as it is for teens now. I’m not going to go into a fictitious nostalgia rant about how my childhood was the golden age. It wasn’t. It was the 90’s and it was bollox. Equally, I’m not going to patronise you with horror stories about the evils of social media. If you want to scare yourself silly then read the brilliant Jaron Lanier.
I mean that society treats teenagers and young adults with contempt. Simultaneously vilifying and infantilising. You only need to look at the treatment of Greta Thunberg to see how those pesky kids need to be cut down to size. How dare they challenge the olds! How dare they want a better world, a world they will inherit. Why aren’t they in school being brainwashed into a beige-sheep-like-trance? Conditioned to do drone work, get taxed, vegetate on Netflix. Be good consumers and spend, spend, spend filling houses full of worthless crap. Day in, day out…rinse and repeat.
Schools aren’t funded to inspire and develop those visionary minds. They are funded to suppress original thought. Handy for governments when your up and coming generation is too apathetic, too uninspired to vote. And when they do they are cajoled and manipulated by collusive media.
As my daughter yelled, “Fuck this Shit!”
No wonder they retreat into virtual worlds. But we as adults can make a mistake and devalue the importance of these virtual relationships. I love that my kids can develop friendships all over the world. It leads to tolerance and a deeper understanding of cultures, religions and societies. It leads to amazing things á la Thunberg.
As a parent all we can do is support, stand firm in the face of mini meltdowns and keep the wine rack stocked.
P.S. You didn’t think this letter would be completely free of Parkinson’s did you?
As you all know the impact of these breakdowns is huge. Parky goes mental in the face of any stress and when it’s your child pulverising you, more so. In the midst of trying to teach your child coping strategies, your brain is rebelling. It’s hard to calm a hysterical child when your limbs are shaking, your voice is wavering…I need a ‘Parkinson’s Hero Mode’ when dealing with this!