Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: What Sixteen Is

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Crikey, Emma. Crikey and blimey.

    I have solemnly pledged to myself that when my kids go through teenagehood I shall refrain in any way possible from giving them the impression that I know what they're going through, and that anyhow it's just a phase. Hell, life is just a phase. But if you're like enough to have had it easy and nice until you hit puberty, that's when things start to get serious, isn't it? And sometimes precipitously, frighteningly so.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I have solemnly pledged to myself that when my kids go through teenagehood I shall refrain in any way possible from giving them the impression that I know what they're going through

    My partner and I have this theory that human beings are designed so that by the time you're parenting teenagers you can no longer remember what it's like to be a teenager. Because otherwise it's just too bloody traumatic.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I meant lucky enough, not like enough.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    teaches me how to use a butterfly knife andplay Strip Poleconomy (not at the same time).

    Damn Damn DAMN.

    'Cos I think it could be a really intriguing combo.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    by the time you're parenting teenagers you can no longer remember what it's like to be a teenager

    I don't know about that, but I think you don't necessarily know any better how to deal with things.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    BTW - it strikes me that the biggest difference between us (then) and them (now) and feel free to disagree with me, is the whole txting thing.

    Teens are now in constant contact with each other, day & night, with all that entails - comfort, friendship, bullying & threats. The upside is that they can be in constant contact with their parents too.

    I'm not sure if the pros outweigh the cons.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    Friggin' hell. I live(d) such a sheltered life.

    A mate of mine I went to Uni with got to talking about her teenage sexual experiences. WOW. She and her friend were 11-12 years old and giving their 16-18 yr old boyfriends handjobs. I was .. well .. stunned. She didn't seem to think it was all that unusual.

    I now have two daughters (2 months and almost 5 years old). I don't even really want to think about having teenagers ...

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 147 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The upside is that they can be in constant contact with their parents too.

    That's a downside, surely? 'Sorry, mum, I couldn't get to a phone' was my absolute favourite line between the ages of 15 and 18.

    My partner and I have this theory that human beings are designed so that by the time you're parenting teenagers you can no longer remember what it's like to be a teenager.

    At this point I have an extremely vivid memory of what it was like to be the particular teenager that I was; a teenager is a whole nother thing.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Not a drama queen. Not even. Your inner murlfriend got you through that exceptionally well, I'd say.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    That's a downside, surely?

    That was from my point of view - also why I put "can" into italics, "can" don't mean "will".

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    also why I put "can" into italics, "can" don't mean "will".

    Yes, but surely if you know your child has a cellphone that means an expectation that they will contact you or that you will be able to contact them. I wonder how kids deal with that these days.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    That's a downside, surely? 'Sorry, mum, I couldn't get to a phone' was my absolute favourite line between the ages of 15 and 18.

    Oh dear. One should always ring one's parents, from the first available phone, early in the evening. This buys you hours of drinking out at the Richard Pearse monument or establishes your presence at one house when you're at another. Saves you having to talk to them when they ring, too, when you're munted.

    I was a little alarmed to read the other day that schools are getting pissy with parents txting their kids in class. My gods, let them breathe.

    Not a drama queen. Not even. Your inner murlfriend got you through that exceptionally well, I'd say.

    Thank you, David. There's something very weird in feeling that you'll sound simultaneously hysterical AND banal.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    Good on you for getting through it, but is (your story) not also a good reason to let kids be kids and not grow up too fast? At 16 I was trying to get laid, whereas at 16 you were .... riding on the backs of motorbikes and living with leather clad 'sweethearts' - which was okay cos Mum knew where you were and you were still going to school.

    I think we all forget what we got up to as Teens and your story reminds us that despite our (stupidity/derring do?) we tend to survive. [Albeit that your story is at the extreme end of the scale]

    But, at the risk of raking the coals ('I smoked dope when I was kid too, but what we had then wasn't as strong as what these kids are on') how would your story have finished in today's P fueled world? He could have just as easily pulled the trigger because he was tired of holding the cross-bow, as put it down.

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Oh dear. One should always ring one's parents, from the first available phone, early in the evening. This buys you hours of drinking out at the Richard Pearse monument or establishes your presence at one house when you're at another. Saves you having to talk to them when they ring, too, when you're munted.

    My mum wasn't born yesterday, nor she ever pretended to have been :-)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I wonder how kids deal with that these days.

    "Sorry mum, I left my mobile at home." Even though you know it's never less than 6 inches from their hands.

    Or even better - they do leave their phone at home & when they need to ask for something, txt you with a hitherto unknown of mobile phone...

    "Oh this one? It was a free offer from Telecom".

    I enquired about signal inhibitors for the home today, blank all cellphone signals from any given time (say 10pm on a week night).

    Seems such a thing doesn't exist.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Good on you for getting through it, but is (your story) not also a good reason to let kids be kids and not grow up too fast?

    Hey John. My kids are starting to get to this age, and I still think my mother's policy of pretty much letting me make my own mistakes and find my own way and always being there if I needed her was the right one. A more restrictive attitude (such as I would have been subject to by my father) might well have led to me leaving home completely and going much further astray. The fact that I made it out at all was a very delicate balancing act and owed a lot to sheer luck. This incident is not the worst I was subject to.

    But I'm not sure what 'let kids be kids' means with reference to sixteen year olds. Because in my (apparently slightly odd) experience, if you 'let' 16yos, they're not kids.

    I have considered what might have happened if Table had been a P user. I think I might have died - had I not changed any of MY decisions because of it. But we were already choosing dope out of a swathe of available drugs. If we'd had it to hand, that wouldn't necessarily have meant choosing to use it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If we'd had it to hand, that wouldn't necessarily have meant choosing to use it.

    Yes, and it compels me to ask: did you not have heroin in New Zealand? It was pretty prevalent back home and I couldn't think of anything more destructive - perhaps P is it, I really don't know, but boy, it would take some topping.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yes, and it compels me to ask: did you not have heroin in New Zealand?

    There's a statute of limitations or something on this shit, right? We had homebake, that I remember. It had a pretty bad rep with us though, and was regarded as largely being for idiots.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    The fact that I made it out at all was a very delicate balancing act and owed a lot to sheer luck.

    Yeah, that's what being a kid is all about. As a kid we think bungy jumping is a great idea, as a parent we think the cord will snap or there's a hitherto unseen rock just below the surface ...
    [it's a metaphor - spare me your bungy stories!]

    But I'm not sure what 'let kids be kids' means with reference to sixteen year olds.

    Yeah, by 16 it's pretty much over (for parental control) but .... but ... I'm split on this subject. We all did (or know ppl who did) crazy things as Teens, but there's (seemingly) plenty out there now making bad choices. Do we just shrug it off, and hope they'll grow out of it?

    @Emma - I wasn't suggesting/thinking you would do P; I was just positing an updated scenario.

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    how would your story have finished in today's P fueled world?

    You know who else took P?

    by the time you're parenting teenagers you can no longer remember what it's like to be a teenager. Because otherwise it's just too bloody traumatic.

    Reminds me of an LCD Soundsystem song:

    Sound of silver talk to me
    Makes me want to feel like a teenager
    Until you remember the feelings of
    A real-life emotional teenager

    And then you think again.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    We had homebake, that I remember. It had a pretty bad rep with us though, and was regarded as largely being for idiots.

    agreed.

    and oddly enough, so was crystal meth.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    You know who else took P?

    After seeing the Listener cover, I knew it was only a matter of time before you used that line Tom. :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Hmmm, great story Emma but by all that's holy makes me glad I had three sons who were not into that sort of thing

    But you got through it and don't seem to be damaged by your experiences
    It often wonder about risk taking by teanage girls, it seems quite common and males at the same age seem not as forward

    Do you know what happened to the boyfriend?

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hmmm, great story Emma but by all that's holy makes me glad I had three sons who were not into that sort of thing

    Crossbows?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Hmmm, great story Emma but by all that's holy makes me glad I had three sons who were not into that sort of thing

    Crossbows?

    Girls?

    Sorry.

    Do you know what happened to the boyfriend?

    No, I don't. I did stay in touch with that group for several months after this incident, long enough to see Catfish get his next girlfriend pregnant and develop arthritis in his hands so badly he couldn't play any more. Standard Lamp married an old high school friend of mine and moved to Kalgoorlie. Lost track of Table after his mother died so my mother stopped running into her in the supermarket.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

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