Teenagers can be lovely company. They can also be seriously annoying, especially if you’re a parent who just wants the best for them. While it’s great that your teens are growing in independence and becoming more opinionated, it also means you’re going to have many years of arguments, most of them unwinnable.
Rowing with your teenagers can be exhausting and frustrating, but there is some reassurance - parenting experts agree that parents and teens who argue and keep up a ‘constant dialogue’ are actually closer than those who just clam up and simmer.
So polish up your debating skills. You’ll need them.
We asked parents for their silliest squabbles with teens...
1. “Why fried bacon and the odd McDonald’s is OK if you’re a committed vegetarian. I can’t believe I even bothered arguing that one. We still have a cupboard full of chickpeas and couscous that no one’s ever going to eat.” Catherine
2. “How many encrusted cereal bowls you can put above the dishwasher and then tell your mother ‘I was going to do it’.“Jo
3. “That spending a fortune on stuff for your teenager to start university is not loving and thoughtful. My son just informed me: ‘These aren’t presents, Mum, they’re just stuff I need.’ I was sorely tempted to throw the lamp and cheese grater at him.” Jinny
4. “Why it’s not worth bothering keeping the house we all live in clean ‘because no one notices’.” Amy
5. “Yes, they’re their bedrooms but it’s my house. So when I ask them to run a Hoover round or bring dirty clothes down (or finally do it myself), I’m not ‘invading their space’.” Grace
Social or anti?
6. “What the exact definition of a ‘gathering’ is. When is a lot of loud teens in your house a gathering, a full-on party or ‘just a few friends over’? My son thinks it’s obvious to anyone but an idiot, whereas I think a lot of teens shout-talking nonsense at 5am in the garden is idiotic and anti-social.” Matt
7. “We’re always telling our teenagers ’drink to have fun, not to get drunk”. Their response: ‘Durr. They’re the same thing.’ They think I’m a drinks snob when I want them to enjoy the taste, not just getting drunk as fast as they can.” Phil
8. “We argue a lot about curfews and what time my daughter should be home. I just want her to be safe but, as she keeps telling me, it’s her life. My life seems to be spent waiting up and worrying.” Sarah
9. “Grade inflation, as in me insisting my A levels must have been more difficult than theirs because fewer people got As in the late 80s and my children saying they’re just better taught and work harder and I’m denigrating their achievement. I’m learning to shut up - but I am right.” Jack
10. “My daughter had a whole PSHE day at school about preparing for exams and revision. As far as I can see, the only thing she took away was the importance of taking breaks. Now she sets her phone alarm every half hour and then ‘breaks’ to gorge on social media for the exact same time she’s spent revising. So whenever I see her cuddling the dog and flicking her phone it’s an important part of revising and I should just trust her.” Annie
If looks could...
11. “Why they need half an hour’s shower just when I want to use the bathroom, but are quite happy to sit in their stink next to me going ‘cor, smell my armpits’.” Fran
12. “That not buying super expensive foundation for my 15-year-old does not mean I am selfish. She’s got lovely skin and I buy Boots for myself.” Anna
13. “That painting your nails on the train platform is a BAD idea, especially when the train’s about to come in and any normal person would do them ON the train, or even better at home.” Jill
And just being a teenager
14. ″‘You have no idea what you’re talking about’ is the phrase that makes my blood boil. Either I do because, guess what, back in the dark ages I was a teenager or ‘just bloody well tell me then’.” Sarah
15. “My children constantly tell me to butt out and let them make their own mistakes (or not). I get that. But some of their mistakes are pretty stupid and I think I have a right to point that out.” Dave
16. “Watching screens turned to low light does not help you go to sleep; it just ruins your eyes.” Eve
17. “I’m constantly told ‘you don’t understand me’. I do, darling, I do. I just wish you’d try to understand me too.” Christine