Tim Dowling: ‘One masters the art of raising teenagers …’

… Just in time for it to be of no use. But I have learned a few things over the past decade. A very few

As with any phase of parenting, one masters the art of raising teenagers – in my case, teenage boys – just in time for it to be of no use. But I have learned a few things over the past decade. A very few. These are all of them:

1) Every aspect of parenting a teenager stirs up memories of what it was like to be a teenager.

2) Adolescent boys have an overwhelming need to reduce their father from a figure of authority to a figure of fun.

3) It is vital to create an atmosphere in which your teenagers feel they can be totally open and honest with you, because they are amazing liars. If you think you can tell when your 16-year-old is lying to you, it’s only because that’s what he wants you to think.

4) As children progress through secondary school, your authority over them gradually diminishes, until you find yourself parenting on a consultancy basis.

5) Even when your authority dries up completely, you still have money. 

6) On occasion, teenagers do seek out firm parental authority in a bid to counteract peer pressure: they long to be told they can’t do something, because they actually don’t want to do it.

7) While there is no single secret to a happy life in a houseful of adolescent boys, I cannot overstate the importance of colour-coded underpants

The Guardian

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