Surviving Teenagers: Hopeless Stressing


My daughter is going off to a music festival. She's going with friends, they've got a tent, and she's 17. What could possibly go wrong?

Each time I open my mouth to mention any one of the things-that-can't-possibly-go-wrong, she says, "Mum, don't stress."

"I'm not stressing," I lie. "I just want to check that you've thought everything through."

She looks at me daggers.

"Like suntan cream," I say. "You don't want to burn."

As if that was at the top of my list.

This is the problem with having children. They grow up into teenagers who want to do weird and dangerous things. Why can't they settle for sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea watching re-runs of Doc Martin?

I sometimes think I'm not strict enough. I was watching the nail-biting Wimbledon final yesterday. There, on Centre Court, was Mummy Murray - an older version of Andy but with pearl earrings and a fierce expression.

Each time he got a point, she shook her fist, and mouthed, "Come on!"

I thought, I bet she never pussyfooted around vital issues. I bet the teenaged Andy never got away with anything. I can see it now - up at 5am, raw steak for breakfast, pep talks with each cup of tea.

Most of us settle for a lot less.

"Will you send me a text?" I say. "When you get to the festival? Just so that I know you've got there safely?"

"Maybe," she says. "If I can get a signal."

I live in hope.