PARENTS

Surviving Teenagers Or The Battle Of The Sexes Begins

14/03/2011 16:57 | Updated 22 May 2015

Surviving TeenagersIt's Wednesday evening and I rush out to the kitchen in an ad break from Jamie's Dream School in order to stack the dishwasher. My 16-year-old daughter wanders in to make a cup of tea.

'Can you give me a hand?' I say.

'Just me?' she says.

Oh dear. My daughter, quite rightly, has very strict views about the division of labour in the home. She will never do any housework unless her brothers are suffering too.

I don't want an argument. I want to see David Starkey looking lost as he faces a roomful of teenagers too busy texting to listen to his pearls of wisdom.

'Well, ask your brother to come and help,' I say.

Grumbling, my 18-year-old comes to join us. My daughter makes a great show of being busy, furiously wiping the kitchen table as if it's about to be tested for harmful bacteria.

'What needs doing?' says my son, wearily.

But he gets stuck in, scraping the plates, collecting up the pots from the cooker, and stacking everything in the dishwasher.

My daughter says, 'Don't forget the glasses.'

I have my back to them because I'm putting the kettle on. But when I turn round, I realise that while he's busily restoring order from chaos, she's standing in the middle of the kitchen, idling twirling a teatowel, doing - absolutely nothing.

I think, I should say something. I should point out that directing operations is not the same as doing the work. I should, after all, be treating my son and my daughter exactly the same.

But I can't. I am tongue-tied. I am speechless with admiration.

That's my girl.

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