25/01/2012 09:33 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Surviving Teenagers: Coping With Other Parents

Surviving Teenagers: Coping with other parents Rex

Sometimes I think the problem is not your own teenagers. It's the parents of other teenagers who drive you insane.

Obviously, you get the odd cross word at home. Or maybe screaming arguments. There's the occasional slammed door. Most of the time. But you think, hey, it's just what happens when your children grow up into hormonal adolescents. Who hate you. It's the same in every family. It'll all be all right in the end.

And then you bump into someone you know in the supermarket who's got kids roughly the same age.

You say, "Isn't it horrible that they never let you know where they're going?"
She looks puzzled. "Oh, Jack always sends me a text," she says.

You say, "My house is in chaos."
She says, "Oh, my lot are quite good like that. They always clear up after themselves."

You say, "Teenagers! Alcohol! Parties!"
She says, "My lot are pretty responsible."

You say, "Work? Revision? GCSEs?"
She says, "I'm quite proud of the way that they're keeping up with all the deadlines."

You say, "Sex?"
She says, "What?"

You wander off and slump over the frozen fish counter, your face on fire with shame. You think, where am I going wrong? Why is everyone else coasting through these mad, bad years of family friction while I stagger about in clueless misery?

I have only this to say. Anyone who says their teenagers have never, ever given them cause for concern is lying. Either that or they're so busy massaging their own inflated egos that they haven't noticed what's going on right in front of their eyes.

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