We sit about in the kitchen, keeping the door closed and the cooking warmth in. Tall Girl is supposed to be revising, her exams will all be over in 4 weeks and she's 'too the wire' revision wise. Small Sprog is dutifully doing his maths homework, all of us sit around the kitchen table as I start to fuss about Tall Girls lack of motivation to study.
"I can't even remember you revising" Mum said to me "you must have just got on with it"
"I did" I said. But really I wanted to say, yes, I got on with it because I spent the best part of 2 years shut in my bedroom listening to Pink Floyd and crying into my text books! No one offered to help me revise, no one advised me to work hard and no one really had much to say to me between the ages of 14 to 16. My parents were definitely 'hands off' parents when it came to school work. But perhaps all parents were back then? Perhaps we interfere too much now that we are 'expected' to get involved in our children's education?
Tall Girl gives me a glare when I mention revision for the third time that morning and says she is 'going to' do it! At some point I think to myself, in the next 4 weeks if I'm lucky.
How will she remember me in this time of her life, I wonder later? As an interfering mother, constantly telling her to do well? Maybe. Will she be a 'hands off' parent because of her experiences now?
At work last week a colleague told me that her daughter, same age as mine, has tired to commit suicide 3 times and has now been sectioned. I am shocked. Later I mention it to Tall Girl who is not surprised. I learn that it is almost 'the latest craze' for teens. "It's all over Facebook" she tells me "Loads of people my age are doing it, and self harming" I already know that she has several friends that cut themselves. And I wonder how it comes to that?
With all this in mind being a parent is a hard line to follow, encouraging children to do well at school and pushing them over the line into stress and despair. But then I remind myself that I am not telling her she has to get straight 'A's, just mentioning that she needs a C in English!
When I was 15, I was alone in my room. I didn't have Facebook or the Internet. I couldn't research '10 best ways to kill yourself' as my friends daughter had done, though I do remember thinking, if necessary, pills would do. But I wasn't aware of others doing the same thing, there was no mass call to cut ourselves or tie a rope around our necks.
I used to worry about children taking drugs, now I worry about them taking their lives...