Surviving Teenagers: Why They Question Everything

Surviving Teenagers: Why They Question Everything


The trouble with teenagers is that they question everything. Nothing is sacred.

"Can I put your sheets in the wash?" I say to my daughter.

"Why?" she says.

Where do I begin? The ink splots? The coffee stains? The mud? (Rain + warm bed = cat paw prints all over the duvet.)

We have a lively discussion about my obsession with cleanliness. This is not new. Apparently even stacking the dishwasher is a sign of OCD. Sometimes I wish I could be like Aggie Mackenzie and whip out a petri dish teaming with bacteria.

Later, we ring student son. I put him on speaker phone.

"How are you?" I say.

"I'm OK," he says. "I'm trying to work out whether to go out tonight. I don't know. Party or library?"

"Library," I say.

"Party," says my daughter.

"Library," I say, more loudly.

It seems to me that there's altogether too much partying going on these days. When I was a teenager, I was allowed out once a week on a Saturday night. And my father was always waiting outside in the car at 10pm.

"Or maybe," says my son, "I could take my books to the party."

"Or take the party to the library," says my daughter.

I give up. No one is taking this seriously.

Sunday draws to a close. I think I've just about got everyone ready for the week to come. Outside it's cold and rainy.

"Thank goodness for Downton Abbey," I say to my daughter as I trudge up the stairs with a pile of clean towels.

She opens her mouth to speak.

"Downton Abbey," I say very fiercely. "And I don't want to hear another word."