Just like rats, rottweilers and spiders, teenagers have long been the victims of the most undeservingly bad reputation.
When you actually live with them, you will find that if you look after them well, they become the source of your life’s most precious moments.
Their fresh, quick-witted humour is on tap.
Their impassioned rants about the unfairness of school make the biggest political zealots sound like amateurs.
Their outbursts of boundless joy about the smallest things are one of a kind.
In short, to use a trendy phrase, teenagers are brilliant for your mental health.
Below, to illustrate the issue for those of you who do not have one at home, a handful of this week’s gems from my bunch.
Friday afternoon, after an intense week of GCSE preparation, or rather, in the words of my Year 11 daughter, the preparation for the non-GCSEs, which are replacing the real GCSEs and are every bit as important as the real GCSEs but without the school having the decency to give us study leave for them because, of course they are not the real thing.
– I need to go outside, I need to feel the fresh air.
– Good, idea, go now.
– You can’t make me!
– There is this boy at my school, he is proper British.
– What do you mean?
– I mean he eats ham and cheese sandwiches every day.
– Ma, I’ve got abs, look, abs!
– Well done, must be all that walking you did yesterday.
– I am going to eat some cream eggs now. Bye, abs!
– Ma, I thought I might have ADHD, so I’ve downloaded a list of symptoms, but I couldn’t concentrate long enough to finish reading it.
– Ma, I was offered to be on Holby City next Friday. But I said no, I got school.
– What? School could manage without you for a day.
– What?? And you tell me this now?
– This could have been your big break. Who asked you? How?
– I signed up to a company called Slick Casting. It is for extras. Anyway, I said no.
– Next time somebody invites you to be on Holby City, Casualty, EastEnders or Line of Duty, you say yes, unless it’s your wedding day.
– Hmm, I think this should take priority over wedding. Weddings are lame and common. So common. Think about it, what’s more interesting to say to someone, ‘This one time I got married’, or ‘This one time I was in EastEnders’?