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learning and living

It is fair to say my teenage years have been a bit of a rollercoaster. From deaths to life-threatening situations and drug gangs to mental health issues. Basically, I haven't lived the boring, straight teenage life I, as a quiet little girl who wanted to be an icecream lady, would have ever had dreamed she would.

You learn a lot, I think, from being a teenager about how you're going to raise your own kids. I am consistently in situations where I think 'fuck me, what if my kids do this'. So I can understand why parents are so protective. My dad wants to wrap me up in bubble wrap, but I know he wasn't an angel as a child so I get it. Yet, I still think you learn some valuable key lessons about how you want to raise your children from the situations you have been in. 

Firstly, I have learnt if your child's friends are having a bad time, your child most probably will be too. My old best-friend has severe mental health issues. Very severe mental health issues. I was put in situations that, as a 13-year-old girl, I didn't know how to deal with, and that I would never wish upon anyone else. That wasn't just her issue, she wasn' the only one that had to deal with her self-harm and suicidal thoughts. It was me too. I think we all underestimate how much people really take on their shoulders. How much people really want to help others. I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried, make anything better but the whole situation had a very negative effect on me. I was having a bad time. It taught me that if my child ever discusses a friend is going through some issues, not just to play it off as just the friend. If they are having issues, there is a possibility my child will be too. 

Secondly, I have learnt that teenagers do dumb things, accept them and help your child learn instead of simply punishing them. I have done some dumb things. Very very recentlt I got in a car with people I don't really know which I shouldn't have done and they took me somewhere they shouldn't have done because they do things they shouldn't be doing. It was a bad situation. A very bad situation of which brought me the closest to death/other horrible things I have ever been. I got grounded. Very grounded. It doesn't help. I stand by the fact it doesn't help. Yes, it has an effect if your child hasn't tidied their room or done their homework, but when they have got themselves into a bigger situation restricting them fully doesn't help. If anything, all it has done is encourage me not to tell my parents about the situations I have been in through fear of getting grounded again. I am not saying you should accept what your child does without any form of punishment, grounding me for a few days but letting me out on certain occasions/when you're sure of where I'm going would have been great. I am just saying that punishing them too hard will have an opposite effect to the one intended. Talk to them, and help them grow from the mistakes they have made.

Next, don't believe what your child says but don't stop them. I have lied to my parents about where I am going and what I am doing multiple times. It is just what teenagers do, and I don't think you can ever believe your child, especially if they are going out overnight. That doesn't mean you should stop them just because there is a chance they're not telling the truth. As much as you probably want to, teenagers learn through doing. It's what happens. This leads onto my final point.

You have to tell them. About everything. You have to tell them about drugs, how to do them safely and what to do if something goes wrong. You have to tell them. You have to tell them about a range of sexual things, both the good and the bad. You have to tell them what to do if they get into a situation they need to bail on. No matter whether or not you hope your child doesn't get in that situation, teenagers drunk, they do drugs, they sit on the beach all night and talk to people they don't know. You can't stop them without making them hate you. So instead, tell them how to be safe in every situation. Tell them what safety precautions they can take. Talk to them. Make sure they feel as though they can tell you everything. I wish I felt as though I could speak to my parents more. If your teenager feels able to talk to you they are more likely to tell you when something bad happened or ring you when they are in a bad situation. They are more likely to tell you if they are having a bad time. They are more likely to tell you where they are actually going.

I know it's going to be difficult. When I'm a parent, I am going to think about all the bad things I did as a child and hope my teenager doesn't do that. But they probably will, no matter how much I try to wrap them up in bubble wrap. Learn from what you do, and learn how to raise others. I have been through a range of things that have taught me valuable life lessons, don't forget them. Use them.



  1. One of the most important things when raising a chil is indeed talling to them. I've learnt that from my parents, who didn't do that. I have never had the sex talk, I have never been taught how to manage situations when they go wrong. I have learnt that all my myself. Whenever I would tell the truth, I was told I shouldn't be doing that, I shouldn't be going there. And that just made me start to lie about what I was doing. I now realise that my parents have no idea who I am, what I like and what I have been doing.
    I love them, they gave me a great life, I will tell you that, but please, try to have more of a friendship relationship with your child (not too much, because I have seen the bad side of those, too) that a parental one. If I make sense.

    Loved reading this, Els!


  2. This is such a beautiful post Elise! I totally agree that parents need to tell their kids about everything, the drugs, the sex, ... If they just don't talk about it and don't explain how to do things safely, things can go wrong.

    Shirley |

  3. Totally agree. Parents need to tell their children about the good and the bad to ensure their safety! Great post!

  4. This was such a good post! I always think about these things and how I'll raise my kids too! I sooo agree with all your points especially the not grounding them one, it just creates even more negative emotions and especially as an older teen or young adult you can't control your kid like that. A + post gal x

  5. I love the idea behind this post lovely. Communication and honesty is so important when children are growing up!!

  6. I was a bit of a wild teenager. I thought my mum was overprotective but now I'm older I can see where she was coming from. When I have kids I'll be really worried about them doing the sort of things I did when I was younger.


  7. Lovely post, and totally agree. I was just always told that if something was bad, like alcohol, I could choke on my own vomit and die, etc. There were never any adult conversations, and I really do believe you should treat your teenagers and speak to them like an adult, and then maybe they will act more adult themselves, and be more honest with you.

    Beka |

  8. It was all the stupid decisions I ever made as a teen that shaped me into the responsible adult I am today. Without those horrible life lessons I wouldn't be who I am today, and parents totally need to learn this. When I got arrested with a bunch of "friends" who corrupted me, that's when I grew up. I grew up big time that night. But I'm glad it happened, because that's what I needed to get my **** together. In all honesty I never need to lie to my mom much because we were so close. Thank you for being honest!! Great post!!

  9. Great post! I've seen the consequences first hand too. Growing up I had alcohol on special occasions (holidays mostly) and in high school my parents would let me have a beer or 2 over the course of a summer. So when I got to college I already knew how to handle myself, the kids who had never done it before (whose parents forbade it) were not so lucky. I've seen/heard many had alcohol poisoning and even died because they didn't know how to handle it . It's scary but you're right, parents need to talk about these things more.

  10. This struck so many chords with me - lying to my parents but always talking to them about the really serious stuff. I hope I'm raising my daughter the same way, I accept there'll be things she doesn't want me to know but I hope she'll always feel she can talk to me and we'll be her safe haven. Lovely post, Elise, thank you for sharing. x

    Lisa |

  11. Great post Elise! I agree, parents need to educate their children on all the dangers and how to stay safe x


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