Until I had a teenage daughter, I had no idea how irritating I was. It’s true that my mother has accused me of it on various occasions, my husband has hinted at it from time to time, even some friends have suggested that on occasion, I can be a touch annoying. But it was my daughter who made it clear that I am deeply infuriating all the time. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I even manage to be irritating from a distance. What skill! And it must be a natural talent I was born with because I’ve put no particular effort into being so annoying; my mere existence is sufficient. I flap my hands when I talk, I slurp my tea, I whistle when I’m driving (sometimes I do that on purpose to see how quickly I get The Look – I gotta entertain myself somehow).
I’ve always felt a little sad I’m such a bad singer. But it turns out my ability to irritate coupled with my singing is a truly deadly combination. It has caused spontaneous teenage self-combustion. I’ll leave you to imagine what that is like – those who have already had the pleasure of sharing their home with a teenage girl are likely to have a pretty good idea. (I’ve no idea yet if boys are similarly driven insane by having to listen to their mother breathing, but I suspect they’ll be too busy hooked up to their computer games to notice my existence).
My daughter and I are almost through the worst of those years – and they were at times very difficult. I’ve tried several times to write an amusing post about teenagers, in a similar vein to the light-hearted stories about young children. But it’s difficult because the rows and the problems aren’t funny – not at the time, and not afterwards either. They are devastating and depressing. Most problems faced by younger children can be fixed and this isn’t the case with teenagers. You have to allow them to face their problems themselves. You have to watch them turn into the adult they will become, and to realise their life is now their own. They will sink or swim on their own merit.
I have found it difficult to let go and stop interfering. I’m a control freak of a mother with an independent-minded daughter; we clash.
But we are developing a new relationship with me learning to accept this new young adult in my life. I’m proud of her – she’s a kind, considerate young woman, a straight-A student heading to university later this year, and she works three nights a week in a job she got on her own merits. I hope she is proud of me, too.
If you enjoyed this, you might want to consider my debut novel, Daughter, Disappeared, a hard-hitting ‘women in jeopardy’ thriller, set in Tunisia. Please read the reviews on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eCnZRf