A Teenager In The House

Most days, I post about children and how best to support them. However, I very rarely write about my own boys, or about being a parent myself.

But last weekend, something big happened in our household: our eldest son became a teenager.

The bus covered curtains have been replaced, the boxes of Lego have been quietly passed on, and we are in a new phase. To be truthful, one I am not quite fully ready for.

The once little boy who clasped my fingers so tightly on his first day in school, the sweet little child who loved to bake fairy cakes with his too long apron tied twice around his waist, is growing up.

I now enter his room through a haze of Lynx spray, I am expected to knock on the way in, and shut the door ‘properly’ (as I am frequently reminded to do), on the way out.

Although the days have sometimes been long, the years are short, and I can’t quite comprehend how the time has flown. Mind you, my parents still say the same thing to me, so maybe it is just one of those peculiar realities about having children.

I have learnt so much over the past thirteen years. But there are some truths which I often ponder as a parent, and these sometimes help inform how I work with families too.

1.  Being a parent is the most precious, and hardest job in the world, but there is no training for it. 

2. Before I had children of my own, I thought that as a parent, you would know them immediately. But from more-or-less the first moment, I realised that this wasn’t true at all, and that was a very scary thing.

3. The truth is that you need to get to know (really know) them, and they need to get to know you. This, after all is, a relationship from the very start.

4.  This child may be yours but does not belong to you. They also may, or may not, even be like you. This little person is their own person, and your job is to help them be their kindest, happiest, and most fulfilled version of themselves, whatever that might be.

5. Being present, wherever possible, is so important. Even though they may not consciously remember those moments, they will recall the feeling of being loved.

6.  Often, it is the minutiae of day-to-day existence and the little conversations in passing (often in the car or on the school run), where those bonds are strengthened.  Whilst it may not always feel that way, our children are at home with us, in the scheme of things, for a very short time.