Surviving Teenagers Or What Do I Think About The Reading Festival?

24/05/2011 12:42 | Updated 22 May 2015
Surviving Teenagers or What do I think about the Reading Festival?PA

'What would you say,' says my 16-year-old daughter, 'if I said I wanted to go to the Reading Festival?'

I hate these questions. You can't always go with your gut feeling. My gut feeling would have my teenagers tucked up safely in bed by 10pm every night, and that's not going to happen.

On the other hand, it's not good to trample over your inner voice of panic. You can squash it down into a tight ball deep inside you. But it has a habit of bursting out when you least expect it.

That happened once when my eldest was 14. We were discussing, very reasonably, the outside possibility that he might be allowed to wander round central London with a group of unnamed mates in an unnamed activity until an unspecified time (but probably quite late) with no reasonable plans for getting home, when I suddenly found myself shouting, in a hysterical wail that whipped up the scale to a high C, 'This is completely ridiculous' and slamming out of the front door to go and cry all over my friend Jackie in the next road.

My son was utterly shocked. I was totally embarrassed. What you might call a lose-lose situation.

I have no idea what I think about the Reading Festival. My own experience of festivals is pretty limited. I went to see Bob Dylan once. He was so far away on a distant stage that his face was the size of a pinprick.

I remember the toilets. You had to queue for an hour, but when you got there it was so disgusting that no one could bring themselves to pee.

What do I think about the Reading Festival? It costs £200 for three days, which seems a lot to me, but then I'm permanently worried about paying the bills.

As the parent of teenagers, you're supposed to know what you think about everything.

'Oh, I've just realised,' says my daughter, 'that it clashes with work experience.'

The bliss. The relief.

I can stop trying to work out what I think. I can slump back into my unexamined prejudices.

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