Growing pains of a parent

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Being a parent of teenage children is like having a starring role in Nanny McPhee.

They only need you when they want something. The rest of the time you’re wallpaper.

There are many reasons teenagers scare the living daylights out of their middle-aged parents, just a handful are that they are made of titanium, are indestructible and are confident of making a career out of things that terrify us. They go on nights out at roughly the time we go to bed and arrive home a couple of hours before it gets light, cat nap for a few hours then are ready to go again.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, a night on the town started at around 7pm in a bar, then when they shut around 11pm, we queued up and paid to get into a club which closed at 2am and then we went home.

Now they have something called “prinks” (pre-drinks) at a friend’s house to avoid shelling out £5 a drink in town, go out around midnight and then roll in anytime between 4am and 6am.

This seems like overtime to me. And an awful lot of effort. The rave culture of the late 80s and early 90s altered nightlife for the better. People went to warehouse parties because they actually wanted to be there – not just because they were somewhere that was still serving.

And a generation later, behaviour that was once cutting edge is now considered normal.

Daughter #1 turns 18 next week – which is terrifying enough in itself – but she casually dropped into the conversation that once the candles are blown out on her cake, she’ll roll in at whatever time she pleases.

Is that so, young lady? It’s hard enough not to repeat the same old rubbish your parents said to you without your kids setting up open goals for simple tap-ins.

You could even make up your own ‘Cliché Bingo’ cards. “Not while you’re living under my roof”, “What time do you call this?”, “We said 1am, don’t make me come looking for you”, “What on earth do you do until six in the morning?” and “I’ve been up all night worrying, where’ve you been?” It almost makes you pine for the days of teething. You got no sleep then either but at least you knew where they were.