TEENAGERS as a species are easy prey for the media and the negative thinkers out there in the world. Even parents (including myself) are often quick to criticise their lazy, slothful attitude.
But here's the thing, most teenagers are amazing, interesting and a whole lot smarter than we give them credit for.
Despite my frequent complaints and whinges right here in this column I can't imagine life without them.
So here are five reasons why I love living with teenagers:
I have a cheap IT expert on call 24/7. When you work from home this can be a major bonus. Not only can my teenage son understand what the Telstra tech support people are saying, but he seems to have some inbuilt skill for tuning the new television without swearing at it, setting up my new computer so the printer and speakers actually work and knowing how to record my favourite shows so that I don't miss the vital final minutes. So when he spends a couple of hours playing Xbox I bite my tongue and remember the numerous occasions when he got me back on line in time to meet a deadline.
They come up with random questions that make me think I'm doing a pretty good job of this parenting stuff. Just yesterday Miss 16 came up with this: "I need to present a drama piece about an interesting political event - which one should I do?" As we discussed the sudden demise of a prime minister and the exit of a damned premier we had a grown up discussion that revealed to me that she knows more about the political landscape than I might have given her credit for.
Teenage boys will eat my cooking disasters and come back for more, Nobody else I know would eat a double batch of dodgy patty cakes (I doubled everything but completely forgot about the eggs) and then ask if there were any left?
- When I look in the mirror and lament the passing of the years and the arrival of too many kilos, wrinkles and grey hairs, Miss 16 can convincingly tell me I'm beautiful. And when a teenage boy takes the time to say "you look nice today, Mum" you have to believe him (or wonder what he wants).
- They can be good life coaches. Years ago on my first day at a new job I admitted being nervous as I drove my teenager to school and she said, "If I can walk into a new school with hundreds of new people, you can walk into an office of 20 people".
* Life with teenagers can be like an out-of-control roller coaster ride and when there's no one else to turn to for support or a second opinion, I go undercover to blog about the everyday dramas of raising my otherwise perfect teens.