Oh how heavenly it is to have a houseful of teenagers / young adults / youths / hoodies, whatever you want to call them. Daughter’s teenage years are numbered on the fingers of one hand and son passed that milestone a year and half ago, but there are occasions when you would truly believe that the pair of them are still only 5 years old. Of course, they are far more communicative now that their teenage-ness has mostly passed and that makes for some very entertaining conversations.

Then there are those evenings where Me and Mrs G are worn out from a long week and all you want to do is have an early night. Now daughter was working and son was firmly planted on the sofa wishing to watch sport relief. (When I was his age screaming horses wouldn’t have kept me in with my parents on a Friday night, but it’s nice to have his company.) Daughter got home about 9 and happily announced that she was going out to a local hostelry with her friends.

And there is the double-edged sword of youth into adulthood.

As a youth, you have no concept over your parents concerns for your safety on a night out. As a parent, you spend your life worrying about the little cherubs. So with one hand you worry that they may be too introverted and un-sociable (sitting on the sofa with the telly on a Friday night) and on the other hand you worry that they’re out to all hours with god-knows-who up to god-knows-what!

There is one and only one approach to this problem. Relax! You’d send yourself insane if you spent every waking hour chewing fingernails and jiggling toes. By this age, you should have equipped them with the basics to get by in most situations and if a new situation presents itself, well that’s a learning excercise for them – and often for you too. The world is not the same place as when we were their age, even if we wish it was. And it’ll never be the same for them when they reach our age either.

So in our example – the correct approach was for Me and Mrs G to go to bed and have a relatively early night. Son knows how to switch off and lock up and daughter has a key. She’s with friends and only round the corner and how long can a pub sensibly stay open for in the burb’s anyway?? The answer is 1AM!!! 1AM!!!! For crying out loud!!
But worse to come – instead of coming in quietly and going to bed without disturbing anyone – the whole household has to know she’s back and has brought a troop of followers with her. Finally we can get back to sleep and the house settles back down for the night all is. However, the kitchen this morning looks like a small thermonuclear device has been detonated in a McDonald’s. Wrappers and empty drinks everywhere. A half eaten McChikenThing, half a bag of fries, etc etc….

Why is McDonalds open 24hours and the pub open til 1am? These simple things made for a good night’s sleep for my parents, because by 11.30 there was nothing else to do but go home to bed

Of course – It sounds like I’m moaning only because “It wasn’t like that in my day”, but as I’ve already pointed out – it wasn’t like it is now and thank god for that on many counts. They have mobile phones (they can stay in touch), CCTV (they’re being watched – even if they don’t want to be), their own cars (we don’t have to drive them around), much stricter drink-driving laws (they’d never drink and drive – but in days gone by it was commonplace), more money in their pockets (so if they need a taxi they’ll get one). But then they have lax licencing laws (so the pub’s open til 1am), 24×7 food (so they eat and stay awake all night), no concept of sleep and…. don’t own their own homes yet.

We are very very lucky. They’re two very well rounded and entertaining young adults with plenty of friends and their whole lives ahead of them. So, in future just turn over and go back to sleep – if there’s something serious going on – you’ll hear about it soon enough. Sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that even though your fridge maybe empty in the morning, all your bedrooms will be full.

Hmmm – must consider putting up the rent – perhaps then they’ll consider buying their own houses. 😉 And there’s the subject of a whole other story. Transition from dependencies to non-dependencies… let’s save that for another time.

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