Every year there’s a new trend in school. Teens assert their social positions and maybe elbow a few peers off their pedestals on the way. It’s nothing new of course – a rite of passage, a task of adolescence. We all know what that looked and felt like when we were in school. The cool ones, the nerds, the swats, the dossers…
It’s tough going – remember? (Do try – because remembering will help you navigate your teen’s development. I know it was literally the last century but take a breath – see what comes up as you read this…)
It can be crazy fun, but also deeply, deeply painful – no matter where on the social ladder you are. Each rung brings its own victories pressures and miseries.
It was a Friday, and I was sitting on a desk in a school classroom, all excited. Friday had become my favourite day of the week, not because weekend, but because that was the day to deliver my personal development and sex education class to a bunch of sparkly bright teenagers. Fun guaranteed!
I usually avoid writing when I’m on leave but y’know sometimes you see something and you get the rages, and as a colleague said to me yesterday as we raged to each other – sometimes right is just right. And so you respond.
There was a girl in my class in school that I was pretty tight with. She wasn’t my bestest-in-the-world friend but I liked her and spent a good deal of time in her house at weekends and such. Especially when I started smoking. I know, I know…
Sometimes a parent mails me with a query about their anxious child.
Last week I received such a query. Her particular issue is such a common one at the moment (ungrateful nod to COVID!) that I asked permission to publish both her question and my response. There can be so much isolation, pressure and even shame around parenting that it can come as an enormous relief to find that another parent shares your experiences!
And of course these difficult feelings are exacerbated hugely in lockdown.
Some of you will have read a piece on sexting a while back. Here’s the ‘how-to’ follow up.
So before we start into it, I want you to know that I do understand that some parents would rather stick a needle in their ear that talk about sex or sexting, even to each other! But the somewhat annoying reality it this – we are the grown ups and it’s our job to do this.
Otherwise porn will do it for you.
‘Nudes’ and ‘three-ways’ are already part of the vernacular for the average thirteen year old.
We know so much more than we used about the teen brain and it’s fascinating! We have solid evidence which tells us why teens are impulsive, why they need to hear boundary messages repeatedly to learn, and why it’s so, so much fun for all of them to break rules.