I have 2 daughters and both of them are very precious to me. One is aged 11 and the other is 8. When they were born, I loved them both – before they were born actually! They then started to grow up and will one day hit the grand age of 13…..

So will I love them less. Will they suddenly become uncommunicative to me. Well I am going to suggest that the won’t. You might be surprised by that statement. Some of you will be saying we know better we have had teenagers. Your experience doesn’t have to match my experience.

I have experienced teenagers as a youth worker. I find them engaging, entertaining, challenging (my attitudes), rewarding, surprising and interesting. Teenagers have a love of life and a zest that can be energising (it can tire you out as well). They want to change the world and do it overnight! They want to experiment. They want to try new ideas and see what happens. They want to be released to fly. They want to be trusted.

And when my oldest gets to be 13 I am going to encourage her as much as possible and enjoy watching as she grows from a child into a woman. It is going to be fun. It is going to be painful. We will laugh and we will cry…. And through it all I want her to know I love her and will be there for her. I’ll try to steer her in the right direction but it will be her walk and I might disagree with the journey but I won’t stop it.

Teenagers – it’s time to get off their backs and to start to encourage and support them. Don’t moan, cheer.

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