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Ticked off with teen tantrums
What is it about teenage girls that makes them so loveable?
Is it the endless stroppy outbursts, the stomping around, the sullen sulks or the endless mood swings?
Or maybe it’s the bone idleness, the untidiness, the inability to wash-up so much as a mug after creating heaps of dirty pots, or the endless lazing on the sofa watching pop videos or American sitcoms.
I can’t decide. Not a day goes by without some sort of outburst from one or both of my daughters. It usually centres around their wanting something that costs an awful lot of money and which ‘every single one of my friends’ already has or does.
Or it’s an internal dispute between the two of them over such important issues as who has ‘borrowed’ the other’s shoes or straighteners without permission, or who left an empty yoghurt carton on the windowsill.
The potential for flare-ups is ever-present. One makes a comment to light the touchpaper, the other’s fuse will blow and for the next hour war will rage.
And their behaviour towards me is a mixture of dismissive language, full of ‘whatevers’ and ‘as ifs’.
At 13, my youngest daughter is a recent convert to aggressive behaviour with stamping and screaming. “What you on about?” “You’re mad!” she will yell as I attempt to reprimand her for rudeness.
Whereas her older sister uses less in-your-face, but nevertheless equally infuriating tactics to annoy me. She will smile sweetly while being told off, and raise her eyebrows.
I’m far from being alone. Websites offering advice are awash with parents at the ends of their tethers. ‘Teenage daughter...aaarrgghh! What do I do?’, one asks, and another wonders ‘how do I cope with stroppy teen tension?’ It was no comfort to learn that girls are harder to manage as teenagers than boys. A study of parents reveals that mood-swings and fall-outs with friends coupled with peer pressure and image hang-ups fuel rude and aggressive behaviour.
My main problem is that I end up saying things I regret. “I can’t wait until you go to university,” I recently screamed at my eldest. “At least I’ll get into one, which is more than you did,” she sniped. I could have carried on the row, reminding her that my old polytechnic IS now a university, but could feel my temples throbbing.
Bringing up children is not easy, but so far for me, teens are proving the greatest challenge.
And no, I can’t follow the acres of advice for parents – I can’t stay calm, I can’t control my emotions, I can’t avoid getting into heated arguments. Maybe I’ll pack my bags and take a seven-year gap break in Panama.