Family Life Personal

Snowflakes Of The Apocalypse

Or how can we turn our children’s self-absorption into something good?

Why the hell does each new generation of parents seem to get it so wrong with their kids?

So the little wretches tell us anyway.

As the bedroom doors trembles on its hinges behind them.

Again.

Not long after we have handed over that latest fiver, and long enough before that gig they will be wanting a ticket for.

Calculated spontaneous combustion.

Bloody Mums and Dads, eh?

Me? I was going to be different:

I would learn from the mistakes of my own Mommy and Daddy.

Get it right.

No sneering at the back, please!

Now I know it’s a peculiar job, in that the better we do it, the worse it can be for our kids.

Soften the hard line, and our snowflake darlings might flutter around helplessly after they leave the nest.

If they ever bloody well do …

Harden the soft line, and they might end up with a uniform penchant for licking up and stomping down.

Sooner or later, we parenting proles happen upon Philip Larkin’s famous lines:

“They fuck you up your mum and dad

They may not mean to, but they do”

In the actual poem This Be The Verse, the famously childless Larkin goes on to advise his generation not to have any kids at all.

Not great if you wish to continue as a species …

Neither should it be forgotten that the poet’s words were dipped in his own disillusion and sharpened on the bitter deprivations of his own post-war, cold war British existence.

But powerful words in a powerful poem, and words every parent might consider.

And strive to do better.

Or at least limit the damage.

Here’s a thing.

I love my teenage kids, but I struggle with their selfishness.

Their reluctance to take responsibility for their own deeds and inactions.

Which I see mirrored in society.

And the little moppets aren’t so keen on my self-righteousness either!

But rather than criticise this teenage self-absorption, I wonder how could we make it work — for them; for us, their parents; and for the world?

I’m thinking of the world we actually live in, that space between what people aspire to be and how they actually are.

Me included.

And captured so brilliantly by the Emo Philips gag:

“When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me” 

I’m thinking maybe self-absorption is a vital part of growing up, a period of incubated thinking, and once the hard outer case drops from the chrysalis of self-conscious adolescence, our realised self is ready to step up.

Yeah, right!

Truth is we need a bit of a hand with all this stuff.

It’s why we have referees in sport … the police … the law … governments . schools …

Without these nobody’s bicycle would be safe.

We have radio panels full of pompous windbags telling us every day how the country should be run.

And idiots jamming the phone-in lines showing how things actually are.

And they’re not great.

Every country has their own cause celebres and national embarrassments.

Here, it’s homelessness, overcrowded hospitals, gangland violence … our dangerous over-dependence on foreign companies for employment … take your pick.

So how does this tie in with getting our teenagers onside?

Well, I have always felt we should be looking much more closely at how our schools and education system might positively channel youthful vigour and candour …

Teach them the real connection between taking responsibility for their own actions and electing accountable politicians to run society as it should be run, for everyone.

The principle of enlightened self-interest: like, for example, how a cleaner, greener environment could also mean more jobs them when they leave school.

How, as a society, we are all better off if houses are built for people, not for profiteers, and more green spaces and sports facilities in housing estates would mean more play areas for them and their friends to hang out in.

Now I could waffle on about my idealised classroom full of idealistic adolescents learning how to get that bicycle without either praying for it or stealing it, but I would really love to share people’s thoughts.

What do you think?

What would work for our children, and for ourselves, in the long run?

We could kick some ass, or at least kick some ideas around!

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20 comments on “Snowflakes Of The Apocalypse

  1. Whenever I think of teenagers in any capacity, I try thinking about myself at that age. I realize things have changed of course, but I’m “only” 34 so I feel like I can remember those days pretty well, so I try to put myself in their shoes.
    As far as the selfishness goes, I don’t think they’re doing it on purpose. I mean, they’re trying to figure themselves out — who they are, what the like/dislike, who their friends are, their hobbies, and what they want to do when they go to college and such. So much is being asked of them emotionally, mentally, and physically — at home with chores and siblings, at school with assignments and gym class, out and about with their friends and first significant others and jobs. It is any wonder they’re selfish? They’re being pulled in so many different directions even though they aren’t even sure of themselves or their place in the world yet.
    Just my humble opinion 🙂

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    • When I say selfish I am referring to the disconnect between how they impact on others around them, expecting family to get out of the way while they figure out stuff and absolutely expect the same family to provide clean socks and clean up after them in the kitchen. Just wish they’d make that connection and work with us better!! That’s all Stacy😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I say selfish I am referring to the disconnect between how they impact on others around them, expecting family to get out of the way while they figure out stuff and absolutely expect the same family to provide clean socks and clean up after them in the kitchen. Just wish they’d make that connection and work with us better!! That’s all Stacy😀

    Like

  3. It’s their Me Me Me attitude! I was just having this conversation with my cousin the other day – of how selfish our kids are compared with ourselves when we were kids. My cousin and I are both baby boomers. We find that millennials are selfish, shallow, entitled and disrespectful.

    #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh how I love your posts! They do make me think. As a parent to two teenage girls I can absolutely agree that Miss D (16) can be ridiculously selfish at times, well most of the time, but I think it’s maybe just a normal self absorbed teen thing, I suspect I was the same. Youngest (13) is so thoughtful and aware of my feelings, in complete contrast to her sister. So I have a chalk and cheese thing going on in the house.

    #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lisa .. on a normal day I can appreciate it’s only normal to be self-absorbed at that age for some … But on other days … Jesus wept!!! Good job your 13-year-old is there for balance!!

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  5. Great post!!!! I remember muttering under my breath that I would NEVER be a strict parent, I would let my kid do what ever it was they wanted to. I laugh now as I’m known (within my own friend circles and within my kids’ friend circles) as the strictest parent around. My daughters do the very same as me – muttering under their breath – telling me the way it will be when one day they procreate . . . and so the cycle continues . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha that’s brilliant … I have said the same sort of things to our guys .. and so, as you say, the cycle continues. The only thing is good for you your daughter’s only say it under their breaths, ours doesn’t soften her message in any way!😀

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  6. I think so many people are losing the ability to meet in the middle on things. And it’s not even the complex things, it’s every little life decision seems to be a battleground for another group to rage against. I don’t really have a solution, other than everyone taking a deep breath and pondering whether what they are fighting about is an absolute zero sum game. #GlobalBlogging

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  7. Tracey Carr

    Hi Enda, long time no read (or so it feels!). I’ve been off the circuit but wow it’s so good to be back! As for teenagers I’m not honestly sure because my girls are so young but when I think back to my own teenage years I know one thing that had a big impact on me – from the age of 14 my mum had me out working. One summer when I was 17 I worked 3 different jobs (and she head-hunted every one of them) I worked from morning until night some days and some of those jobs were gruesome. But it grounded me, it taught me how to deal with people I didn’t like and how to handle those situations and also taught me the value of money. She was (and still is) a no-nonsense lady and at times I really resented having to go to those grimy jobs but looking back now I know it was good for me. I’m just not sure if teens today have to endure the same type of gruelling stuff that we did when we were their age. I often wonder will I be as tough on my daughters as my mum was with us when they get to that age – I just don’t know yet if I will have the bottle! #bloggerclubuk

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  8. Lots of food for thought here. The teen years are a way off for me as a parent as yet but I have teenage nieces and see the challenges that my sister encounters. I think we all go through a difficult period as teenagers when we can be very self-absorbed but I think a lot of us come through that and realise that the world does not revolve around us. Most of my older nieces and nephews seem to have moved beyond it and have become very nice adults even if the teenage years may have been bumpy ones. I’m not sure that helps much while you’re going through it though! My hope is that if I’ve done the groundwork well enough before we hit the teenage years, then hopefully that will help them (and us!) through and all will be well in the end! #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s quite the journey, Louise. Challenging goes nowhere near covering it!! I know every teen seems to come through it all — and their parents live to tell the tale — but that doesn’t always make it easier in the moment! Anyway, we will not lose hope … yet!!

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  9. I do not envy you with you and others dealing with the teenage years! I’m thankful we’re a few years away from them. Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The teenage years are most definitely the most difficult. I always think about it when I see parents of young babies complain of their lack of sleep and never having a moment to themselves. Then I inwardly sneer…the worst is yet to come. Forget babies and the terrible twos, the teens are most definitely the hardest of the parenting journey. We still survive though, just like those sleepless nights and frustration of forever cleaning up bums and toys. We get through it all.
    Thanks for linking up to #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love the words from Emo Phillips! I think your children will turn out to be fine human beings. Most of us do. Eventually.

    Like

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