19/09/2011 23:42 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers: Knowing When You're Not Needed

Surviving Teenagers: Knowing when you're not needed Getty

So here's the weird thing about living with teenagers. As a parent, you're both needed and not needed. But because you're addled from lack of sleep (half-listening for the crash of the front door at 2am) and permanently worried about money (because it's all adult prices for haircuts, shoes, laptops these days), you can't always remember the difference.

Here are some things you're needed for:

1. Cash (bus fares, lunch card at school, mobile phone top-up)
2. Emergency signatures (to give your under-18 permission for something he/she wants to do)
3. Frequent lifts
4. A well-stocked fridge
5. Enormous, home-cooked meals
6. Clean clothes
7. An encyclopaedic knowledge of the whereabouts of socks, phone, vital bits of paper
8. A wake-up call when he/she has overslept
9. Random urgent shopping (tights, deodorant, shampoo...)
10. Polite reminders about anything he/she has forgotten

Here are some things you're not needed for:

1. Conversation at the wrong time (too early in the morning, before tea, when there's a good film on)
2. Any attempt to hoover his/her room
3. Any suggestions about going to bed because it's late and there's school tomorrow
4. Polite reminders about coursework
5. Expressions of surprise at choice of clothes/hair colour/ piercings
6. Clearing up (because there's nothing wrong with an open carton of milk left out by the cooker)
7. Descriptions of how things were when you were young
8. Text messages expressing anxiety about his/her whereabouts
9. Suggestions about quicker or more usual ways of doing something practical
10. Reminders about anything he/she has already remembered


Don't, whatever you do, get these lists muddled. Or you'll get the sagging shoulders of one who has been driven beyond what any reasonable person should have to put up with.


You have been warned.

Does this ring true for you? Any other times you can think of when you're needed/not needed?