Beautiful Teenage Friday

We are faced with hormones on a boat. Sounds like a sitcom. No disrespect to hormones intended. It’s just we can get caught in the particulars – and forgetting this explosive element makes life extra interesting at times. It’s like the aha twist at the end.

We ask ourselves questions like, ‘Why has my life become so suddenly complicated? Why does my head hurt from banging it repeatedly against the wall? Was Frozen 2 good enough to be a standalone movie?’ Sorry – that was just a side note.

This is because we are living with a living, breathing teenager. Of course it isn’t her fault. I remember when she was a cute little kid. She definitely didn’t ask for these hormones. Or to be living in close-together conditions – which is the experience of living on Quest.

Right now, I could have a lot of very smug and probably right-on people saying, ‘This is why you don’t see many teenagers on boats. They should be in school cages with their own kind. To be poked at with a stick and an occasional textbook.’

Yep, it’s true at times we feel we are conducting our own social experiment. After all, our teenager is no different to any other. Phone removal at night can be a physical necessity. Sometimes we wonder if surgery is required. She might have little idea how to tie a bowline these days, having clean forgotten, but she knows exactly who is going to Tommy’s party 4,000 miles away in Wales.

So we ask ourselves this: are we fighting a losing battle here? Are we doing this journey five years too late? Does that mean we’re going to stop? Ha! Stubbornness is a terrible gift.

Still, this is something we think about – a lot. Since the parents on this boat aren’t generally in the business of making someone’s life miserable. On the other hand, did your parents give you choices as a child?

We’ve gone round the boat asking this question. For Jack and I it’s been a resounding no. We didn’t have those choices. Ellie laughed when we got to her. We all did. That was a good one – knowing her mum, Jack’s sister.

And that’s the point. If you love your kids, you don’t neglect them. Your teenagers are still your children – even if they’ve become strange, monster-type children.

We could go deeper. Evidence shows difficult teenage behaviour is based on getting ready to leave the family nest, to carve out independence. But they’re not there yet. They’re getting ready. Doesn’t mean they’re ready yet. That’s the difference.

They are still ours to look after and make decisions for. Just have to keep reminding ourselves of the teenage twists. And how it’s going to end.

The jury’s out here for Frozen 2. Anyone else feel like they’ve been hypnotised?

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