Surviving Teenagers Or Why Life Is So Unfair

30/03/2011 11:33 | Updated 22 May 2015

'No one likes teenagers,' says my 16-year-old daughter. 'Everyone thinks they make trouble. It's so unfair.'

If teenagers question the rules, adults just apply them more forcefully. It's a bit like shouting when you feel you're losing the argument - a show of force to drown out the opposition.

'It's so unfair,' she says.

You don't have much power as a teenager. There always seems to be someone in authority (parent, teacher, bus driver, store detective) breathing down your neck telling you what to do, what to wear, how to act. There are schools in the news this week that have banned skirts and insisted girls wear trousers because hemlines were getting shorter and shorter - a distraction, said the headteachers, from the real business of teaching and learning.

'What about positive body image?' says my daughter.

When you're a teenager, you may have a perfectly reasonable explanation, but you're not allowed to state your case. You're judged before you even open your mouth. I want to pass on wise and helpful advice, but I remember feeling exactly the same kind of irritation when I was 16. It's such a relief when you're grown up and can challenge the sillier diktats of people in charge - Council officials, parking attendants, the taxman.

Until then, all I can do is sympathise - reassure her than one day she'll be able to talk without being cut off mid-sentence.

It's Saturday morning. When my daughter emerges, all sleepy and tousled, I say, 'Do you think you could possibly tidy your - '

'I was going to do it!' she says. 'I was going to do it this morning! You don't need to tell me!'

It's so unfair.

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