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Experimentation Is Part Of Being A Teenager

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I am obviously the very LAST person in Australia to watch Puberty Blues.

 

For those of you who haven’t seen this wonderful Australian television series, Puberty Blues is set in the seventies, near Sydney’s Cronulla beach, and depicts the journey through puberty and the coming of age of two close friends, Sue and Debbie. It also follows the lives of their parents and parents’ friends and their intriguing foray into early middle age.

 

There is a lot of sex, humor and then some more sex.

 

If you are the parents of teenagers who prefers to remain in denial at what REALLY goes down at those ‘gatherings’ they go to, you might want to give the series a miss. If you have children approaching puberty, probably best avoid it too.

 

BUT I’M ADDICTED TO IT!

 

Admittedly though, I’m also pretty relieved that I missed the series around the time that NC was going through her own ‘coming of age’ trials – I may not have trusted her quite as implicitly as I did. And I still have Kurt to consider, although I’ve found that the learning processes of parenting are often easier with the second child – even if that child is completely bonkers.

 

What you do have to remember if you watchPuberty Blues is that it is set in a very different period to our current teenage climate. And I’d love to be able to say that the approach to sex, the sexual hierarchy and domination by the young males in the series have since disappeared too.

 

But, sadly, having a teenage daughter ‘out there’,  I know that’s not altogether true.

 

Nevertheless, there has been a huge shift in attitude towards equality and respect for women since the seventies, and more importantly, a massive change in attitude by women about themselves and their choices.

 

That’s not to say that most parents wouldn’t readily lock up their daughters as soon as they started ‘developing’. But as that’s not going to happen, so all we can really do is be super-vigilant for them, to keep on warning them about the hidden dangers, respect the decisions they make and their responsibility to themselves.

 

I attended a wonderful meeting recently where a lovely young woman in her early twenties gave us parents an insight into her journey with ADHD. Her story was a positive one, although not without its challenges.

 

One of the mums said, ‘I get so tired of being on my son’s back all the time and being forcibly pushed away by him. I’m scared of alienating him. Should I just give up and let him make his own mistakes?’

 

‘Never give up,’ she replied, ‘in the end that was what got me through.’

 

Like every parent of teenagers, we have suffered excruciating nights of agony when NC forgot to phone home when she said she would, or when her phone died or she missed the last bus home, and sometimes I am surprised that we lived to tell the tale. (Although the grey hair is a perpetual reminder). And there is no doubt in my mind that Kurt will provide us with just as many grey hairs in the coming years.

 

But their ‘coming of age’ experiences have helped remind me of my own escapades at their age, which some parents often forget about. And I made stupid decisions too.

 

Sexual and social ‘experimentation’ is part of growing up and the friends I know in my forties who are dissatisfied with their lot are often those women who missed out on the opportunity to experiment.

 

Would I be as fulfilled now in my life if I hadn’t thrown up in an alleyway or ended up in bed with a stranger at some point during our life?

 

I don’t think so.

 

But for some, I believe that the grass remains greener across the fence because they never checked out the other field.

 

As long as our children are allowed to experiment on their own terms (and not under pressure from their peers), we have to trust their decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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