Thursday, 28 June 2012

Teenage kicks

Hello again. This week you will find me in the most upbeat of moods, due to a remarkable turning of tables. A U.S. report has just concluded that we should be actively seeking rows with our teenage offspring. Hooray and double hooray.

It's always amusing when a child misbehaves in public and the pushy parent responds by hissing reprimands or biting their tongue (their own tongue, not the child’s, silly) – anything rather than shout. This is because any pushy parent worth her weight in Mars bars knows that you should adopt a calm tone with your child at all times. Even when they are about to get run over.

The anti-anger clause means that many mums nowadays display symptoms of suppressed aggression. This accounts for their erratic driving and fetish for sports gear. Presumably these mums go straight to the gym after school drop off and kick the nearest punch bag. I can’t think of any other reason for wearing lycra that tight. Or any kind of gym wear really, aside from the fact that if worn correctly – i.e. loosely – it can be easier to run to the toilet in after a keg of beer.

Back to the report. Scientists at the University of Virginia observed 13-year-olds arguing with their mums. 3 years later the teenagers who had displayed confidence and logic during their arguments were less likely to become drug addicts or alcoholics. Now, I’m not sure about this. Some of the finest literary minds to walk this earth were alcoholics and opium users. I don’t think that debating prowess and clever word play secures you a life free from addiction. I’m not sure about the logic bit either. “So this white stuff is going to make my nose fall off? Okay, I'll leave it."

The report also suggests that placid children are more likely to agree to take drugs than argumentative teenagers. This seems a bit of a no-brainer. Like saying that sadists become traffic wardens, lazy people become testers at Bedworld, and ginger people will one day shave all their hair off.

However, I'm not going to split hairs - not even ginger ones - because it is owing to this marvelous report that pushy parents everywhere will now be having humdingers with their teenagers to hone their debating skills. It will certainly make the school run more interesting.

Some mums have promoted violence at home to such an extent
that their teenagers have run off to join the army just to get some peace

So what to make of all this nonsense? Well, it seems to me that if pushy parents are going to start shouting, then us cushy parents should do...nothing. Yes, that’s right. Forget the report. Just carry on as usual. Blissfully unaware of reports and protocol.

Not an argument in the air for miles. Just the gentle sound of a cork popping.


Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring, available at Amazon.

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