I watched with great interest “A Child Of Our Time” last night because I too have a child born in 2000 who is also sixteen. To be honest, I didn’t learn a thing, but I suppose that is because I have been there, done it, got the grey hairs, the T-shirt and the scars to prove it after going through fairly similar things x 3. So they like to drink, experiment, take risks, have strange frontal lobes compared to us adults, love to hang out with their friends more than their parents and are social media obsessed. Well, apart from the last issue, teenagers throughout time have behaved like this, unless they had a war to go to haven’t they? Mostly all are the risk takers and thrill seekers – that’s the point of being a teenager and we all know what stupid things we did as teenagers. I know there are a lot of us out there who can’t quite believe we made it out of this time period alive.
The kids in the programme are all lovely – some appear to be scarily sorted, multi-talented and hard working. I’m not sure why they focused on some of them hugely and others not at all. The issues are typical, in fact, fairly tame, by lots of our teenagers standards. The stories my friends and I have of our teenagers behaviour would be far more extreme than anything I witnessed last night and I’m not sure I need to see any more brain imagery. We know what their brains are like and it’s all rather terrifying. A programme featuring my children at home would see them lying on the sofa watching “Friends” for a full eight years of their lives after five years of parties that look a lot like Meghan’s 16th with slumped teenagers vomiting in corners. Not good.
I was far more interested in the way the parents had aged over the last 16 years. Quite worried actually. Some of the ageing processes were not at all good and it made me think that a programme on the parents of teenagers would be far more interesting – poor hard working, increasingly grey haired with worry, clueless parents would be quite useful – how to deal with stress et al. The saddest moment was seeing the “cool” father who wasn’t much around during the early years of his daughter’s life, unable to speak with grief about the fact that he no longer has a relationship with her. That was terrible. So sad. I hope after watching the programme that his daughter can find a way to forgive his behaviour and build bridges.
So far, I haven’t seen anything on the programme to do with the nature/nurture debate that we don’t already know, but I’m looking forward to the next instalment on social media addiction, which I’ve just realised is on as I write so I’m off to watch it. This is the area that is changing our children’s perceptions of themselves and turning them into little mini brands and I’m really not sure that’s a good thing. But of course it’s all too early to tell. It will be generations ahead of us that will know whether we as parents should have been far more worried about their phones than their alcohol.