Parent tips for preparing your teen for their first year at uni

Parent tips for preparing your teens for their first year of uni

My son is now in his 3rd year at uni ( he still has another year to complete) and I have picked up a few helpful tips along the way on how parents can prepare their teens for their first year of uni.

I was in your shoes a few years ago worrying myself to death about how he was going to cope at uni, cook for himself, budget his money and ultimately not get himself into any awful situations or get hurt!! ( I know,  but c’mon they are our little babies after all).

So having learned some things along the way I thought I would share my wisdom to either save you a crap load of money ( no they really do not need everything AND the kitchen sink) or reassure you that your little baby will be just FINE!

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A Level results and mixed emotions

Today my eldest son did the nervous walk to school to find out his results and ultimately if he was going to get to go to uni or not.

I really feel for the kids today as they seem to be under so much more pressure that we ever were at that age at school. Pressure from the school, pressure from their peers and even sometimes pressure from their parents.

Neither my husband or I went to university, my hubby went straight from school into a job working in a photographic lab, then on to the MOD and from there into the Royal Air Force ( where we met) and then for the last 20 yrs he has been in the Met Police………….not a bad career for someone with virtually no qualifications. I left school and did a Youth Training Scheme ( YTS- remember those….I am very old you know) as a teacher’s assistant before joining the Royal Air Force, I then worked for the London Ambulance service for many years before having my boys and leaving work. When they got older I trained to become a Driving Instructor which I did before my illness took over……….again not too bad for leaving school with only 5 O levels, although I do have 2 A levels which I did at night school while I was still in the Air Force.

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Our week in Yorkshire

Again this year a beautiful hot sunny holiday abroad eluded us, in fact if it wasn’t for my mum even our yearly UK camping trip wouldn’t have taken place this year! Finances have been dire for one reason or another these last few months however, with a very handy loan from my mum our camping trip was back on.

This year we decided to go further afield than our usual south coast visits and Yorkshire seemed to be calling us. We found a great campsite near Pickering on an actual working farm which we absolutely adored. The farmer and his lovely wife could not have been more friendly or helpful throughout our week and the view from our tent was to die for.

Told you it was fab!
Told you it was fab

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How to play Teenage ‘Life’ Poker

Maybe that isn’t the right thing thing to teach your teenagers to play poker ( but my 2 are both dab hands at Texas Hold ’em *coughs*)

But this is a different style of poker, more like poker stakes with a difference- no money changes hands!

I’m totally sick and tired of my two whinging, whining, woe is me teens. Honestly I don’t know how on earth I got to the ripe old age of………43 without them. It’s a total miracle that I have made it in one piece with their infinite wisdom. C’mon all you with teens will know- THEY KNOW EVERYTHING!!

Well here’s my Teenage Poker game :

* I ‘see’ your 700 channel, 24 hour on demand TV ( in your own room) remotely controlled so minimum of movement is required- and I ‘raise’ you a one telly per household, with an amazing 4 channels to choose from, with kids shows only available on certain times AND you had to get off your arse to change channel, adjust the volume and switch it on and off!!

* I ‘see’ your health and safety gone mad child safety toes including padding for everywhere for anything used on the move, trampolines with total surround safety nets and barriers to stop you getting even remotely close to anything that could possibly damage you precious little bodies- and I *raise* you the Pogo stick, metal adjustable skates that went on your shoes and homemade go carts with no brakes and a rope to steer! ENOUGH SAID

* I ‘see’ your named brand clothes that are a ‘must have’ where literally NOTHING costs less than £60 even though the ones you are wearing are absolutely fine and still fit- and I ‘raise’ you the 80’s fashions!!!! We have been scarred for life and we have the picture evidence to prove it.

* I ‘see’ your games consoles, laptops, Ipads, tablets and Iphones with everything at an instant touch of a button teaching you nothing but lack of patience- and I ‘raise’ you……….The Atari with the exciting Pong game!!! Graphics at it’s best LOL

* I ‘see’ your door to door on call chauffeur service to all your extra curricular clubs so your precious little legs didn’t get worn out and so are kept safe from all the horrible nastiness that is on our streets today – and I ‘raise’ you the if you cant walk there your not going and the the journey to school in an easily recognisable protestant uniform across town on the bus through a predominantly catholic area  starting when I was 11 years old going to secondary school. I looked danger in the eye on a daily basis and still made it to my ripe old age!

* I ‘see’ your on your person 24hrs a day phone in touch with your friends and family wherever you are at any given moment- and I ‘raise’ you the one telephone household. A phone normally situated in the hall that had an attached receiver that stretched all of a metre if you were lucky and no privacy to talk what so ever- with everyone listening in to your conversation!

Therefore, I win hands down and if anyone should have Childline on speed dial then it should be US- your old, know nothing, haven’t lived parents.

The Half Term Dilemma

As always in my house – nothing is ever done the easy way!

So half term was supposed to be a trip to my mum’s in Devon for me and the boys for most of the week as my OH was left at home working. By the end of the week just before half term the arrangements had altered to just me and my eldest visiting Devon.

My youngest did not have other arrangements, my OH had not taken the time off work………………so what changed?

Well, as always long story short, youngest was playing up all week and called me some totally unacceptable names, so I made the decision to leave him behind (not home alone obviously but at home with dad while he was there and then at his other nana’s when he was at work).

Not an easy decision though, but at the age of 13 I think I had to make the point that he cannot get away with the behaviour he had been sporting.

I have now been at my mums for two days so far and it has been a total chill out. No arguing, no complaining, no demanding and no ‘high maintenance’ attitude. It has been blissful. I have had no dinners to cook, no cleaning to do and generally no organising to consider. Like I said………..BLISS.

Me and my youngest son are VERY alike. We are headstrong, vocal and generally like to be in total control!! However, I think because we are so alike we had reached a stage where we both were in need of a break from each other.

In actual fact it has worked out great all round. He had a model to make for school which he spent 2 days with Dad working on it. He then gets to spend a day with his younger cousins at my MIL’s and then is going to help his Grandad sort his new IPod which he cannot use!! Therefore my son will get one to one time with him teaching him how to sort all his CD’s onto his IPod (that should make for interesting viewing). Then he will get another full day with Dad before we return.

In the meantime my eldest gets to chill out with my younger brother ( both get on like a house on fire) and I get to actually de stress from all the usual crap, drink copious amounts of tea, catch up with my mum and brother, and knit in peace until my heart is content.

Personally I think the break away from each other will do us both good, I have spoken to him and been in contact via text etc and already he seems in a better frame of mind. I think although it was hard to do I have done the right thing. I am hoping that he will think twice the next time he refers to my illness in such a derogatory manor!!

What would you have done? 

 

 

The ‘New’ Teenager

It’s that creepy time of year again where ghosts and ghouls come out to play.

I obviously cannot talk for everyone but I have always loved celebrating Halloween since having the boys. I have a gorgeous picture of them as little wizards when they are only about 5 and 3 years old. We always had a party with friends and their children and then we went out en masse for a bit of Trick or Treating! We have always used the kids as an excuse to have a party anyway.

Like any 12 yr old he jumped at the chance of getting his pressies early. So everything was set for the Sunday.

Pressies in the morning,

His birthday treat ( a Young Driver lesson)in the afternoon – will do a post on this another time!

His birthday meal at his fav Indian restaurant in the evening.

To say he had a great day was an understatement! His driving lesson was a real surprise and a huge hit. We were able to enjoy a full day all together. I was so glad he made the decision to enjoy it early as the Monday was a complete washout- OH at work and youngest at school, OH was late in and we didn’t do his cake until almost 9pm!!! However, he had quite a few visitors bringing him more cards etc so he was still centre of attention ( generally what he craves anyway).

So now he has had the experience the Queen has every year- 2 birthdays!

Now over a week later I’m thinking I may not survive this this one’s teenage years if the last few days are anything to go by……………..

Age certificates for films

Now don’t get me wrong I am ALL in favour of this sort of stuff. I am that completely mean mum who doesn’t approve of underage playing of age 18 video games and inappropriate TV programmes……………even though my eldest is now 15 he still laughs at my ‘total shock’ face!

However, tonight it was a different story. I took my eldest to see The World’s End at Showcase in Bluewater. This was a treat just for him away from his pain in the arse younger brother, something for him and me to do together. He is a really good kid and looks after me well with my illness and I wanted to treat him.

When we got there though the ticket girl asked if he had any ID. At first I was shocked at this although part of me did understand, even though he stands at 5’10 and has the token facial hair and spots that go with his age. Now I know what your all thinking, some kids are older looking than others blah blah blah. But I am not that type of parent. I play by the rules. I realise why the rules are there after being married to a policeman for almost 20yrs!!

However, I REALLY do think my son looks his age now. He has shot up in size and demeanor and it really did not cross my mind to even think about ID. Yes the small print in the T’s and C’s say that people may be asked for ID however after he has had access before there I haven’t ever worried.

Tonight though something in me just clicked and I felt determined to push the point!!!

I asked to speak to the manager who just told me he would not go back on a decision the clerk had made!!! Surely as a manager he should have people skills, be able to listen and if necessary override a lower member of staff. I appreciated what he said about the cinema being fined if they were ‘spot checked’ by the council and so I offered to call home and get his passport number and Oyster card number that are traceable and legal documents that could be easily checked should the council ask. The manager even stated that he probably was 15 but now ID had been asked for he could not let him in without it!!!

SO NOT F**KING IMPRESSED!!

Really would a parent stand there and try and argue his case if he wasn’t the required age group? Would a parent offer to ring home for legal document reference numbers that are checkable? Would I offer my name and address and telephone number plus leave my driving licence to back up the surname and parent/child relationship???

In my mind- NO I WOULDN’T.

So why could a decent manager not see this- he did understand and agreed he looked 15 but because the ticket clerk had asked for ID he would not go back on that decision!! SPINELESS in my mind, a cop out from someone in a management position.

So I returned furious, after taking their names I have already sent an email to the General Manager and requested someone gets back to me.

OVER THE TOP? Yes probably, however, my teen is a good kid, we teach him right from wrong, he looks out for me and does lots for me due to my illness, so as a young carer he should be treated better I think- he does look his age so this did nothing for his self confidence!

Rant over- do you agree or not, don’t mind if you don’t but would love to know.

Explosions and experiments – Brainiac Live

I have just returned from watching a show FULL of explosions and experiments with a few electrocutions thrown in! No I wasn’t at some indecent over 18’s only dodgy show but at Brainiac Live at The Glow in Bluewater.

First of all this is NOT a sponsored post I bought the tickets and just wanted to share how good it actually was!

I was surprised though that the show wasn’t sold out as this was enjoyed by kids (boys and girls) and big kids alike. I took my eldest who is 15 who thoroughly enjoyed it.

The show starts with blowing up a little caravan, and then goes on non-stop from there! Anyone who is a fan of the show will know exactly what to expect, they ran through doors of plasterboard / wallpaper and attempted netting. They worked their magic with liquid nitrogen, airzookas, live electric shocks and spinning on chairs using fire extinguishers and rockets and much more.

Using airzookas trying to blow smoke rings to the audience!

The tickets only cost around £7.50 for this venue and the show lasted about an hour. It was noisy but definitely fun. I know the show is also going to run in London as well so really worth a look for something different to do with kids of all ages .

Check out their website here to find more details of where the show will be- everyone will love it.

Schools out- Summer Bucket List!

I have read a few posts lately about the impending school holidays. Love them or hate them they just won’t organise themselves!

I have found it much easier and more fun to organise when the boys were a lot younger. I envy  all of you with the 5-10 age group as there are LOTS of things you can do that cost NOTHING but a bit of time and planning- park picnics with friends, days at the beach, walks in the woods/ forests, kite flying…….and the list goes on.

However as they get older I find it becomes far more costly and a trip to the park is literally like you want to end their lives as they know it- SOOOOOOOOO uncool!!! Being able to get away with a ‘special’ trip to the cinema over the hols is now one of the main things they want to do……………….and money just does not grow on trees, whatever anyone tells you.

So I now find myself with a 15 and 12yr old, both boys ( and both mine- I didn’t just kidnap them off a random street), and the thought of trying to organise and keep a budget of any kind over the summer is virtually non existent.

However I will not be outdone, I will sort summer the summer hols, it will not break me *cough*. So here are a few things that I definitely want to include over the holidays, both for the kids, as a family, and some ‘just for me’ selfish ones thrown in too.

* Cinema trips- 1st to see Worlds End with the eldest ( as he is 15!) and 2nd to see The Internship with the 12 yr old (not my choice)

* Fishing day- this is already arranged with friends so I can say with confidence that this will happen- next wednesday to be exact!! ( I’m a fishing addict and proud LOL)

* See the Brainiac Live show that is showing at Bluewater and also up London hoping at least one of them will accompany me.

* Organise a huge swim day at a fun pool for both boys and whatever friends they want to bring. I have a 7 seater car so the more the merrier LOl

* Try the ‘Up at The 02’ experience, requested by my youngest- at £25 a ticket I have emailed them from my blog to see if they want a reviewer!! Cheeky I know but if you don’t ask you don’t get LOL- If not I will bite the bullet and let OH and youngest go.

* Take a trip on the new Greenwich cable car- with kids would be good but if they turn their noses up at it then just me and the OH!!

* A mammoth game of Monopoly as a family- this tends to go for hours and I can keep the arguing to a minimum by providing fizzy drink and sweets and snacks.

* Camping- we have actually booked this and are going for a week in Aug to the Isle of Wight!! I cannot wait

* Have some girlie friends round on a sunny evening to drink copious amounts of pink wine, talk crap and eat rubbish! ( even better get a take away)

* I would love a PJ’s day! Just for the sake of it, a lazy, not going out past the door, watching dvd’s all day just because I can!!

* A trip to my Mum’s in Plymouth- on my own LOL like that will ever happen!!! But you never know stranger things have happened as they say! My eldest is getting to go next week for a week on his own- to say I’m jealous would be the understatement of the day.

* Have friends round for a chilled out BBQ, everyone chipping in, kids off playing football out in the park and jugs of Pimms to enjoy for the adults.

* Get the pool up for the boys- I am nagging the OH as I type- he hates putting it up as It is huge- but may encourage youngest to invite his cronies round for the day!

* Sit in a lovely beer garden on a sunny afternoon enjoying a mega cold beer or G+T- this one with no kids and don’t really mind if it’s with girly friends or OH!

* Would love a day down at Dymchurch beach- a bit of a trek for us but worth it if you get the weather and time the tides right LOL

* A poker night! Ok maybe it’s not great to teach your kids to gamble but we love a game of Texas Hold’em in this house. We invested in a poker table with drink and chip holders!!

* A HUGE water fight while the weather is still hot, with friends as much more fun the more people you have- and we are lucky to have a huge park outside our back gate!! I feel a panic buy of water bombs coming on!

* Get to watch through the series 2 of The Killing in peace! I know I am behind on this but lets face it with it being subtitled I cannot exactly sit on Twitter and FB  iron or knit while watching it LOL

 * Become an expert in beating the teenagers butts at Swingball! One of the less energetic sports I can do LOL Just bought a new retro metal ‘old style’ proper one- BRING IT ON KIDS!

At the moment that is about it but I’m sure I will add some or change some along the way. Still hoping to get the teens dragged along involved in someway in at least some of my list, but only time will tell.

So wish me luck and let me know what’s on your list.

 

Teenagers and the Summer Holidays

TEENAGER ALERT!

Recently I have been reading and envying all the latest posts about keeping the kids entertained over the summer break. I used to do the same, list all the things we wanted to do and all the places we wanted to visit, arrange meeting up with friends for picnics in the park, swim afternoons, beach visits………………….and the list goes on.

My boys are now 15 and 12 (almost13) years old., and with ALL the will in the world I cannot get them enthused about anything ( obviously Xbox is not included here). I’m aware that the age they are now they like to lay in occasionally, have lazy telly mornings and later nights. But really what the hell am I going to do over the holidays? I cannot let them fester in their rooms all day!! I know they prefer to manage themselves even if it means just watching tell or playing on their phones or whatever they do whilst they lounge about in their black holes. The mere mention of going to a park or a walk somewhere sends them into meltdown mode! Things like cinema/ bowling/ Go Ape etc all cost lots so would only do occasionally.

So, I’m frantically looking for options.

We have booked a week away camping in the Isle of Wight in August. Actually they are both looking forward to this as they went there with their primary school on their Yr6 trip. So although we have booked the campsite etc, we are leaving the holiday up to them- we have the guide books and they know pretty much the places they want to visit over there (inc the hotel that they stayed in LOL). So this week away should be great for all of us ( even with their continuous bickering). To top it all off we are NOT- I repeat- NOT on a budget this time after a little radio win in May I have purposely kept plenty of spending money!!

My OH with be working as normal on shifts so there will be days when he is here with us and others were he wont. The days he is not here are perfect lazy days or cinema days that will fit in with my M.E. However, when he is here I would like us to actually DO something rather than waste the 5-6 weeks!

So apart from the normal having friends over for xbox and a sleepover I’m manically trying to sort ideas that wont cost the earth but that they actually want to do—no point forcing them to do stuff they don’t want to as no one ends up enjoying the day.

My list so far:

* Groupon have a great offer on for tickets to Horrible Histories Live in London ( still a pay out but def worth doing for a major treat)

* Thinking of possibly one of those Cineworld monthly tickets? Anyone tried these and are they worth it?

* Eldest has already arranged to go stay in Plymouth at my mums as my brother lives there and they spend days walking the moors!

* Fishing (my new obsession!) with the youngest while the eldest is away……youngest loves it and eldest detests it.

*If the weather holds out we will definitely get a day at the beach, complete with burgers cooked on the beach for tea- that we still like doing but cannot swamp them with doing it lots! Might offer them each to bring a friend which will separate them and contain the arguments.

*They still enjoy movie nights- so invest in a few new DVD’s or a pay per view off demand with popcorn and fizzy drinks to keep them happy- again could get them to invite a mate or two as a change???

* Games nights- monopoly being a favourite, as is Texas Hold’em ( *cough* nothing like teaching your kids to gamble!!) We invested in a proper poker table last year with cup holder etc

Other than that I’m pretty stumped, neither are bothered about cooking/ baking really and definitely making things/ craft is soooo out of the question 🙁

All you with teen boys, what else would you suggest?