Marty McFly and De Lorean
Family Life

Teenage Dreams Are So Hard To Read

Remember to bring down my breakfast bowl when my world is in bits??

If teenagers were wired correctly they would run the world. Properly.

And we parents would be off the case.

“Move over Mom, Dad, you’ve had your shot, we’ll take it from here …”

“We’re smarter, stronger, fresher and way more passionate … we deal in black and white, right and wrong, friends and enemies … anyway, just look at the pair of you, tired before you even get up sometimes, and you haven’t even been texting till three in the morning …

“You do a week’s work, pay a few bills, cook those boring dinners and make sure we put on a jacket going out, and then you have to polish off two bottles of wine between you on Friday night and fall asleep watching Netflix …


True, but …

And thank God or whoever for that game-changing but!

The but is just that: they are not wired correctly.

Oh, they’re wired all right, just not safely, or in a way we parents can figure out easily. Or they themselves.

Or help them with without them blowing a gasket or ten.

The emotional smarts they need with all their other gifts are just not there.


Which means they need us to run the show.

Boy, will they give out about that show … hate it even … but it’s a show.

I work sometimes as a newspaper sub-editor, checking reporters’ work for the usual syntax, grammar, and factual correctness. And sometimes I have to rewrite the report, to a precise wordage, to make it ready for print.

I have heard reporters moaning about the travesties visited upon their staggering works of genius by wanton sub-editors, and sub-editors deploring the dross they routinely spin into journalistic gold.

And I remind myself that if reporters wrote perfectly to size in prose pristine, there would be no need for sub-editors.

And if those sub-editors are so good, why aren’t they writing their own stuff, and living off that? Or at least doing the reporting themselves.

There is a crack in everything.

That’s how the sub-editor gets in – and is paid for it.

Same with parents and their teenage kickers… they need us.

Maybe it’s more that our teenagers do have all the parts, but they need a bit of help putting them together, or at least setting them up. From family and friends.

Especially us parents.

Like, the volume controls are all over the shop, for a start … and just touch some of the other buttons and … whoosh, like when Marty McFly powers up that giant speaker in Back To The Future

We parents are used to driving the sedate family Peugeot 207 but our teenage kids are plonked behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. And they don’t know how to drive …

There is something about being a teenager that lends itself to the epic.

Epic battles, epic confrontations and contaminations, and epic fallings-out … epic tortured dark nights of the soul … epic PlayStation battle games …

Epic, epic, EMOJI EPIC!

Especially girl teenagers, it seems to me.

Particularly if they renounce all sports and physical activity, and all that pent-up energy goes inwards.

And you are left scratching your head, wondering which girl will emerge from that bedroom haven at any given minute.

So vile in her temper, so lovable in her vulnerability, and so fascinating in her unfiltered thoughts and evolving passions.

But so often lost to her own natural beauty and talents as she endlessly compares herself upwards to impossibly air-brushed images and ideals.

“Oppressed by the figures of beauty”, as Leonard Cohen put it in Chelsea Hotel #2

And all those worries, real and manufactured … ‘What did she MEAN by that last smiley face in her Snapchat message? … Why did John not LOOK AT ME in French class … Where am I GOING … what will I BE? … why does my English teacher HATE ME!’

Lying on her bed pondering these roads ahead, some turns already taken, others already missed … ‘and I certainly don’t want to go down the road Mom and Dad are pushing me towards …’

Even though they don’t know where their desired road is…

‘So much to do, places to go, things to see … and stuck in this crap town, wearing this crap school uniform … all these stupid exams and why won’t they let me get that other nose-piercing …

‘Is it any wonder other kids are out there getting high … all this stress!’

Epic, epic, EPIC!

A lodger in your own bedroom, because you want to spend as little time as possible with boring Mom, narky Dad and annoying little brother.

Stuck in a hurry … life going on somewhere else … everywhere else … like Lou Reed said in one of those half-decent songs Dad loves … “when you grow up in a small town, you’ll grow down in a small town”.

‘All this going on and I’ve got to think about staying with honours maths or doing pass Irish?

‘And my parents expect me to get out of bed, when I can’t even get out of my own head?

‘I’m supposed to care about bringing my breakfast cereal bowl down and put it in the dishwasher when everyone else is prettier than me, and I can’t follow what that crap science teacher is doing … and everyone hates me … I’m so hungry, what’s for tea … not curry again … why am I not skinny like Clare … it’s not fair …’

No, the wiring’s not quite right.


But Mom and Dad were teenagers too once, and they got through it.

And so will you.

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Navigating BabyLucy At Home UK parenting blogger

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37 comments on “Teenage Dreams Are So Hard To Read

  1. Such a perfect description of a teenager, at least when you come at it from this point of view you can find some understanding. It’s up to the parents to keep the fuses safe while the wiring is wonky..good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun…my girl is 11 and yet the descriptions are similar in many ways. 🙂 I never know what will happen if I say something like ‘before you plug in pick up all the clothes off your floor’. Last night there was tears, screaming, yelling, insults and temper tantrum reminiscent of he toddler days. WTF? lol Other days she’ll go do it without a word and occupy herself doing something crafty immediately after.

    They’re not wired right. But we’re here guiding them along. With the bottles of wine beckoning us later. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. viewfromthebeachchair

    I had to go away to college to realize how smart my family actually was. It is hard being a teen but like you said we all went through it and survived. #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes you remind of that old line … When I was 18 I was amazed how ignorant my parents were: when I got to 30 I was just as amazed how much they learned in the meantime!😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the flittiness of your writing….like the brain of a teen!
    ‘And my parents expect me to get out of bed, when I can’t even get out of my own head? A perfect sentence Enda. You have a talent for writing what many parents feel or perhaps that should be teenagers. I expect my daughter thought about the state of her skin more than what she would eat each day; it consumed her life. Now, at almost 19, she can express the feelings she felt at that age yet when she was ‘in it’ she was a lodger in her bedroom. Luckily, it is a phase for sure and one that, as adults, we forget most of the angst! Thanks for sharing. #dreamteam

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes Sophie I am putting a lot into it being a phase!! It really is tempestuous time … for teens and their parents. Thanks so much for your comment


  5. Was there something subliminal in your naming your two O and K? They will turn out OK in the end, believe me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha .. very clever, Clive! What do you think of the great Banks of England passing?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry, it just struck me as I was reading! It’s terribly sad news – he was part of the greatest England team ever. I never saw him play live but still treasure the memories of those two World Cups, 1966 and 1970, back in the days when everything happened on a black and white tv.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I seem to recall those World Cup 70 games in “experimental colour”. First World Cup I saw and still my highlight … or is that just nostalgia talking?

        Liked by 1 person

      • We still had b/w in those days, colour had only been around a couple of years and was for the rich! My first was 66, I was 12. Had taken an interest in 62 but as it was in Chile the time difference was against me being allowed to watch. Saw the official FIFA film of 66 at the cinema – imaginatively entitled ‘Goal.’ My first taste of footy in colour, apart from watching all Dover FC’s home games and one visit to see Spurs in 63, against Stoke when Stanley Matthews was still playing. That W Germany v Italy semifinal in 70 still ranks in my mind as one of the best games I’ve ever seen. As you say, nostalgia!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Absolutely loved this Enda. It not only took me back in time twenty years but also made me realise what I put my own parents through – and I didn’t even grow up in the day and age where they do have it harder. Thank you for sharing with #TriumphantTales, do come back next week to find out what we are up to, to celebrate two years of the linky!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Jaki … it is so true what we all put our own moms and dads through. A bit selsective, amn’t I!😀


  7. It gets better when they are in their early 20’s and living with you. It can be more of an adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have all this to come at least a decade away, but I feel like I know what you’re talking about because I have a THREENAGER!! I was also one of those reporters – then a news editor for 15 years so know what you mean on that level too! Thanks for linking up! #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

  9. easyhosting123uk

    Well written, well said and notes taken. My eldest is soon to become a teenager. The epic changes have started to appear. (Epic) life choices being made, in his head and in his bedroom. I have bookmarked this page and will return as a reference in the coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tracey Carr

    I am getting images of Kevin from Harry Enfield and Chums as I read this! Plus I feel once again like apologising to my mother for being such a difficult teenager. But the irony is like all teenagers, we felt so complex and misunderstood by the world, where as it turns out we were all pretty transparent – as you have shown so well Enda! #itsok


  11. A perfect description of what it’s like being a teenager, it took me back to my own crazy head chaos! I’m looking forward to meeting my daughter again when she comes out of the other side. I was interested to hear about your job too, I don’t know anything about the inner workings of a newspaper so it’s interesting to read about it. I didn’t realise that was a subeditor’s role – extremely valuable if you ask me. Makes me wonder whether we have any at our local paper though!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • On the other side … indeed, Liberty. Sub-editors are invaluable … you only notice them in this absence … like in your local paper!!


  12. I think the biggest thing that teenagers lack, and some adults as well, is the experience to be able to know whats important and what isn’t , and how to ignore the things that aren’t. One of the most important lessons in the maturation process, IMO. #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  13. From Back to the Future to Leonard Cohen in one smooth blog post. Only a sub-editor could do that: “Journalists bring in the stories, sub-editors write them” as I once heard it put.

    Before running away very, very quickly, I will merely say I handed over factually accurate copy to sub editors many a time only for them to publish a better written article that was full of inaccuracies. On that note, I’m getting my coat and leaving. Quickly!


    • Of course a proper sub-editor would produce a better written article full of corrected inaccuracies (grabbing own outer garment)😊


  14. A great insight into the horror that awaits me in just 9 years when I will have four teenagers to deal with. I am already praying to anyone who might possibly listen! Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Bloggers #DreamTeam Linky 146 - Navigating Baby

  16. Lucy At Home

    I think you hit the nail on the head here – it’s hard being a teenager – the fears and struggles and comparisons are all-consuming, and the ability to filter out is not quite fully functional yet. But, as you say, we all got through it. Even if our kids think we don’t understand, we remember it well. And they too will come out the other side. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lucy. I find that just telling them kids not to take social media so seriously doesn’t cut it … they have to go through it and come to these kind of conclusions themselves. It makes it so hard as parents, when they dismiss what we say and lay such store in the “wisdom” of their fellow 15-year-olds! But, I guess, ever was it thus, and ever will it be!!! And yes, they will prevail. Just hope we will too!!


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