My teenagers are growing up but does this mean we have to grow apart?  Growing up generally involves a defining moment in everyone's life.  For my daughter, this was not when she hit puberty, but when she turned 13.  This was the magical number to her.  It signified her official exit from one world into another and the start of my mine as the mother of two teens.

Growing up and becoming an adult meant many things for her, primarily though it meant us acknowledging that she was "one of us".  This was no ordinary milestone to her, this was THE time that everything would start to change. It was a fanfare occasion and she was going to make sure we didn't forget it.

In the days approaching her birthday last year, she reminded us how she had asked us to take her shopping for her brother when he turned 13.  Then only 8, she had decided that to mark the occasion he needed a skateboard.  Of course we went along with her plan and bought the skateboard on her behalf, which she then duly presented to him with great aplomb on the morning of his birthday saying "Now that you are growing up, you need one of these!"

The skateboard was a symbol of this important moment, no matter whether he agreed or not.   Quite frankly this milestone didn't mean as much to him as to her, but if  he wasn't going to make a fuss of his growing up she was.  We should have realised back then, that when it was her turn, she was not going to go quietly into this "grown up" world.

For her the single most important move to becoming "one of us", was to be instantly recognised as being "responsible".  This translated itself in a number of ways which had been clearly explained to us in advance. Top of the list was her own house key and alarm code.  Her friends had asked to get their ears pierced, but this was too frivolous in her opinion.  She wanted to be able to let herself in the front door of her house, by herself and  if we weren't there, that would be even better so she could "do" the alarm too.

There was also a request to allow her to take the public bus home from school, to take trips to the local shopping centre to meet friends and see a movie without one of us shadowing her.  She also requested that we assigned her a regular household job that was her sole responsibility.  Independence, was the name of the game for her.

This is of course all very endearing, yet the flip side of this quest for independence is that there is an element of pulling away from us and this is the bit, which although inevitable, every parent dreads.  As adolescents their friends take centre stage and we start to take a back row seat, learning to satisfy ourselves with the remnants of their time.

In her post "A note from a needy mum" Kelly at Daydreams Of A Mum, appreciates the independence enjoyed by her teens and relishes those times they "choose" to be with her and seek her out in their busy world. Those moments are treasured and indeed precious.

Equally, I know that my teens have to spread their wings and develop as individuals and I want them to grow up safely and move on with confidence, just not to the detriment of our relationship as a family.  I want to make sure we have those building blocks firmly in place that will ensure my teens, like Kelly's, will always seek us out, not because they have to but because they want to and that is a fundamental difference.
Ultimately, as they grow up I don't want us to grow apart and as my eldest looks ahead to University this year and my youngest prepares to turn 14, this is particularly pertinent for me right now. I love that my teens come to me and say "Mum can I talk to you?  I need your advice," I don't want that to stop, wherever they are in the world or if we have to resort to electronic communication.

To this end we always come together during the week to sit down to an evening meal to catch up and set the world to rights, sometimes more effectively than others. The weekends are more challenging as their extra curricular interests mean we are often running on different timetables but invariably it's the family meal that pulls us together again and sometimes we might strike gold with a movie that ticks all our boxes.

Friends who have been through this already have told me there is a moment when your children don't want to go on family outings or holidays anymore and this year Teen 1 will strike out alone on his own adventures, but we will still find some time to have that family holiday together.   It is difficult sometimes to get the balance right in finding something we will all enjoy but we do manage it and last year our Californian Road Trip was a huge success delivering something for everyone.

On top of this, I also don't want my teens to grow apart.  They are half brother and sister and are like chalk and cheese in many respects but we are lucky that they click.  Teen 1 always spends time with Teen 2 chatting on her bed at the end of each day and binge watching on Netflix together is commonplace.

Of course it's not all perfect.  They argue just like any other siblings but there is a bond between them.  They confide in each other and look out for each other.  Last year during my daughter's friendship crisis Teen 1 stepped up to the mark and really helped with some wise "teen on teen" advice.  I want that to continue beyond the teen years and throughout their lives, wherever they may end up.

We all revel in moving on to the next best thing in our lives and I know there is a point when we have to remove the safety net and let our children go so they can become more autonomous and thus ready for the full responsibilities of adulthood, but I am keen, to make this journey of them separating from us one which does not result in a gulf growing between us.

How do you feel about your children growing up and how are you coping with it?  I would be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences.

 

Editor's Note : This post was first published last year when I started my blog to chart my parenting journey through the teenage years.  The content has been refreshed but a year on the message remains the same, if somewhat more pertinent as I prepare for one teen to leave home.    

 

 

Post Comment Love

Follow:

Well as if on cue the sun shone all weekend as we all celebrated our roles as mothers and paid tribute to our own.  My teens did not disappoint and were on their best behaviour all weekend, making a particularly special effort at the obligatory Mother's Day Lunch on Sunday with teen tales littered with language that their grandparents just did not understand.

Welcome back to the fourth week of linky Tweens, Teens Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween and Teen bloggers Sharon at After The Playground and Nicky at Not Just The Three of Us.

Last week's link-up attracted even more new linkers and again we were spoilt with a range of fantastic posts.  It was particularly lovely to read so many tributes to our teenagers, celebrating the good parts to parenting in the secondary stage as well as meeting a few of them too, I look forward to hearing more about them in the future.

The top post award this week, however, goes to new girl on the block Susie aka Mrs S.H.I.T at So Happy In Town with her hilarious Top Tips For Your First Family Ski Holiday if you missed it do pop over, have a read and give it some love.  Even if you don't ski I challenge you not to smile!  Well done Susie!

Now on to the less exciting but nonetheless important part of the linky - the rules - PLEASE give them a read before you head off into linky la la land and we look forward to reading your posts.

Linky Rules

The linky opens at 10am every Tuesday and closes at midnight on Thursday.

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife and tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @NotJustThe3OfUs
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond.
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of Teenagers

 

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

Follow:

You would think that the woman pioneering a change in attitudes towards the way women dress in midlife has herself passed that milestone.  The reality, however, is that Jacynth Bassett, is a 24 year old Cambridge law graduate, who inspired by her mother's style frustrations has made it her mission to tackle ageist attitudes in the UK fashion industry.

The first step was a blog offering women top style tips and inspiration, as well as a forum for discussion on age-prejudice in fashion. Overwhelmed by the response from women all echoing the same frustrations at the typically dowdy designs targeting the older woman, the-Bias-Cut.com was born in March 2016. It is a multi-label online boutique of limited collections, featuring modern and stylish items from a range of contemporary labels and designers for the 40+woman. Jacynth has a discerning eye and all pieces are chosen for the quality of their craftsmanship and attention to detail.

At the heart of Jacynth's business is the ethos that "Ageism is Never in Style". It is her belief that there should not be any hard and fast rules on what women can wear over a certain age.  A passion for style and a desire to wear beautiful clothes and look good in them, transcends generations and is just as important in your midlife years as your teens.  The secret in Jacynth's opinon lies in reflecting the best version of yourself today and personally speaking I couldn't agree more.

I am far from being a fashionista, but I have always loved clothes.  As I have aged my attitude to buying clothes hasn't changed extensively, I know what I like and still get a thrill from finding that must have item, but it is less about being on trend and more about evolving my style. If I see something I love I will buy it based on whether it makes me look and feel good irrespective of my age, after all who doesn't want to continue to look fabulous? But it is natural for everyone to step back and question their style choices at some stage and as I passed that all important Fabulous Fifty marker earlier this year I asked Jacynth if she would share her thoughts on style at 50.

Jacynth Bassett, the-Bias-Cut.com

“How To Look Good At 50.”  “What Women Shouldn’t Wear Over 50.”  “Ageless Style At 50.”  We’ve all seen variations of these titles – which usually end up being click bate leading to some patronising, insulting or, at best, hilarious article dictating how to dress correctly (whatever that means) at 50.

Of course the underlying message of those articles is that there is a right and a wrong way to dress at 50. Now if you are dedicated to following the latest trends, granted there are looks that are in and looks that are out. If, however, you just want to look your stylishly best, then there is no strict formula to adhere to. Ultimately you can wear whatever  you want - the key is to make sure you feel good and are comfortable in it.

So why do all these articles exist? Well, if they are to be believed, when the clock strikes midnight on your 50th birthday, suddenly your fairy tale princess life ends and you’re left with – or even looking like - a pumpkin and with that it means you suddenly need to re-evaluate your style and fashion decisions.

Now I’m not a scientist, but I’m pretty sure when you turn 50 you don’t instantly end up with 20 more wrinkles, grey hairs, hot flushes and a bigger middle. You might become more aware of the signs of aging, but they haven’t just appeared overnight. The only real potential sudden shift is psychological: hitting the 50 mile stone might make you feel different, but you won’t look any different . Yes, with time your hormones are going to change, as is your body, your appearance and your lifestyle, but that will happen gradually.

So what these “Style At 50” articles all seem to be missing is that the reason a woman’s style may change at 50 is because of the emotional differences to a woman in her 40's. It’s all very well saying ‘you should now wear this and avoid that’, but it means nothing if there’s no sensitive rationale and understanding behind it. Ultimately clothes and style are just a reflection of who you are inside.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with my own guidelines (not rules) on style over 50.

1. If you feel now is the time to broaden your style horizons – do it!

A year ago a lady said to me “when I was in my late 30's, I lost my confidence; I had kids and started taking less care in my appearance. Now in my 50's I feel I need to get back to my real self.”

Even if you haven’t felt like this, it’s quite likely you know someone who has. Whatever path your life has taken, there has probably been a point where you started to feel less confident in your appearance, but on turning 50, it’s a great point to evaluate your life so far, think about where you want it to go next, and take control. The same applies to your style. If you’re ready to change and prove that you aren’t invisible and can look gorgeous – go for it. If you want to try a particular style, do! Because it’s time to forget all that mutton dressed as lamb rubbish and remember that confidence is the true essence of style. So whatever you’re wearing, if you’re doing it with pride, then that’s the true beauty that will shine through.

2.Only give your wardrobe a total overhaul if your body is currently changing

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to buy a garment that’s too big or small and say you will eventually fit into it. It never works because we all put on and lose weight differently, so your body is unlikely to change in a way you expect. One of the most common things that happens with menopause is putting on weight around the middle. So you might go from a size 10 to a size 14 – but that doesn’t mean you’re slightly larger all over. Your boobs and middle might get bigger, whilst your hips and thighs stay the same.

This means you’ll need to start shopping for a different shape, not just general size. A new cut might suit you for the first time, whilst ones you used to always wear are no longer flattering. And you may need to find new shops too – because designers’ and high street brands’ lack of understanding and catering to different body shapes is still a huge issue. But don’t let this dampen your spirits: slowly there are more brands taking notice, and at the-Bias-Cut.com we even curate collections specifically with different bodies in mind.

3. Encourage yourself to step out of your safe zone

Having founded an online boutique where the majority of my customers are over 50, there is one comment I hear more than nearly anything else “I only wear navy as it makes me feel safe.”  Now I have nothing against the colour navy, I have a lot of it in my wardrobe and it is very flattering, even more so than black as we age because it doesn’t drain the skin as much. But if you’re wearing navy to feel safe – then there’s a problem. Yes, it’s important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, but as is feeling beautiful, gorgeous and sexy and dressing to feel safe is not that.

So, if next time you feel yourself drawn to navy (or any other colour that makes you feel safe), honestly consider whether you’re picking it for healthy reasons and if you’re not, then it’s time to give yourself a bit of love and care and tell yourself that you can wear something else.

It might take baby steps at first. For example, I often suggest to my most nervous customer to go for a piece that features a predominantly navy print, but also features other colours. This pushes them outside their comfort zone, without throwing them completely in at the deep end. Then when they start to receive compliments for how great they look and believe it too, they tend to come back ready to be a little more experimental.

4. If she can wear that then why can’t you?!

One of the other most common phrases I hear is “Well X can wear that but I couldn’t!”. Now that person may be a different shape, age, height or colouring to you – but that doesn’t’ mean you can only look one way to pull off an outfit. If you admire what someone else is wearing, give it a go yourself! You might need a slightly different cut or colour, but let it inspire you to try new things. Don’t shut yourself off before even giving it a go. If it doesn’t work – what’s the worst that can happen? You take it off and that’s that.

5. No trend or look is off limits – it’s all in the detail

On doing some research of articles that say ‘what not to wear after 50’ – one of the most common rules is: if you wore a look when it was trendy the first time round, then you shouldn’t wear it again.

Well, given ‘trends’ are being recycled more now than ever, that pretty much rules you out of a lot of styles. Goodbye ripped jeans, farewell pussy blouses and adios punk rock spikes.  So unless you’re willing to spend the rest of your life walking around in a sack (because that’s one look that will never be a trend), it’s time to put that rule firmly in the bin.

The trick to looking modern and current is through detail and styling. If you’re keen to wear a style that’s very ‘on-trend’, try to find a variation that includes subtle modern aspects, rather than one that could have come directly from the past. Or keep it subtle with a piece that nods to a trend, but isn’t a full out extreme version of it.

Alternatively, if you want to go full retro with one piece, make sure to pair it with accessories or clothes that are clean, crisp and clearly from a different era. In other words, don’t pair it with the same pieces that you did in the past. That way, rather than looking like you’ve just stepped out of a time machine, you look fresh, cool and effortless.

So remember: if you start to listen to your feelings and your body, rather than those stupid articles, then you will find the right style for you and continue to be the best version of yourself today. Your style will change over the next 10 years, but it should only do so when the time is right for you.

Jacynth's approach to fashion and championing style at every age is inspirational and refreshing and she truly does practice what she preaches, featuring real life "non-models" of various shapes, ages and sizes (including her mum) to show off her carefully curated clothing ranges which can all be seen at https://the-bias-cut.com/.

But it's not just about curating beautiful collections, it is fundamentally about changing attitudes and Jacynth has many strings to her bow. She regularly speaks on panels and podcasts, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and most recently she has been appointed as Fashion Advisor for one of the UK's largest women's forums, the Menopause Room https://www.facebook.com/themenopauseroom/.

Blazing a trail through the heart of the UK fashion industry, Jacynth is unquestionably a young woman on a mission and something tells me that we will be hearing a lot more about her in the future.

Did you find Jacynth's guidelines useful? What is your approach to fashion?  I would love to hear your views.

 

 

Reflectionsfromme Motherhood: The Real Deal Diary of an imperfect mum

Follow:

The Spring Equinox has been and gone and I hope we can now look forward to some serious days of sunshine and long balmy evenings as we move into the third week of linky Tweens, Teens & Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween & Teen Bloggers, Sharon from After The Playground and Nicky from Not Just The Three Of Us.

When we first started bouncing ideas around for this linky we were hopeful that it would help to identify some new bloggers, but we have been delighted by just how many have been encouraged to join us in the first two weeks and hope in time our community will grow some more.  This linky is open to all proud owners of Tweens & Teens as well as non-parents with a story to tell of their own - because we all have at least one - so please don't be shy - link up and join in.

Last week's posts were all fantastic and interestingly there was a common theme running through many about our teens growing up and moving on in the world and the simultaneous pride and sorrow of that moment. It really was tough to pick just one but we all agreed on  Nigel at DIY Daddy and his post Oh No! A Text I Never Wanted To Read.  Nigel has previous experience of saying "farewell" to one of his older daughters when she moved to university, but despite this he is now facing the agony of having to go through it again with his eldest as she plans a move to Australia.

A clearly devoted father, Nigel has always encouraged his daughter to reach for the stars and make her dreams come true yet, it still doesn't make the harsh reality of that moment of parting any easier to bear.  This is a real tear-jerker of a tale and a wonderful insight into the bond between Nigel and his girls.  Please take a read if you haven't already.

Now on to the less exciting but nonetheless important part of the linky - the rules - PLEASE give them a read before you head off into linky la la land and we look forward to reading your posts.

Linky Rules

The linky opens at 10am every Tuesday and closes at midnight on Thursday.

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife and tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @NotJustThe3OfUs
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond.
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of <a  href= Teenagers.com." />

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

Follow:

"Why?"  is a question commonly associated with the toddler years.  Most parents tire very easily of this period and the endless "why" questions, particularly as each answer is quickly met by yet another "why" question, but as our children progress to adulthood that is exactly what we want them to start asking again.

Why?  Because quite simply it is a sign of an inquiring mind and that is in turn symbolic of an individual capable of independent learning. So why is that important?

Well it demonstrates a natural curiosity, a passion for learning, a tendency for self-motivation and examination as well as an ability for critical thinking. All of which are valuable commodities to have in the work environment to which our children will strive to place themselves.

By asking "why", life becomes a journey of exploration and adventure and not one of passive acceptance.

My husband is a huge advocate of an inquiring mind and regularly bandies it around the house when referring to interns or junior employees who have impressed him at work.  He cares not for qualifications without an inquiring mind and is constantly reminding our teens of its added value.

It is fair to say the inquiring mind divides our household.  Our son is all about numbers, not for him the world of  "whys and what ifs", to him that hints at a world of unknown and unproven theories, which goes against the certainity of the numerical calculations he loves.

Our daughter on the other hand is cut from her father's cloth and questions everything.  No stone is left unturned in her quest to know more than there is to know and to think outside the box.

The value of an inquiring mind was never more apparent for us than last week.  It was a week of parents' evenings.  The first for our daughter, was focused on her making her GCSE choices and many of her teachers applauded her passion for inquiry and debate which according to them, ensures she always brings something else to the table other than text book learning.

The second for our son, was the last prior to his A'levels this summer.  Whilst his mock results showed his prowess in Maths and Economics, he is languishing slightly with Geography, his lack of natural inquiry held up by his teachers as the Achilles heal of his learning.  He, however, would argue that inquiring mind aside, his dexterity with statistics represents the ultimate in critical thinking, as it teaches how to criticize the way we habitually think.

So how can we help our youngsters to develop an inquiring mind?  Well encouraging a love of reading is the most obvious go to solution, as well as encouraging healthy discussion of subjects at home.  But that aside, there are those that argue teaching philosophy is the answer to ensuring our youngsters respond to life and its problems with an inquisitive mind, but how?

Well philosophy is by definition the love of wisdom which through its teaching of analysis and debate teaches children how to think,  which in turn creates and nurtures thoughtful minds.

Ireland is leading the way in this regard.  Its president Michael D Higgins has previously said that ‘The teaching of philosophy is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to empower children’ and  as a nation is already exploring reforms to establish philosophy for children as a subject within primary schools.

Meantime, in the UK, a network of philosophers and teachers is still lobbying hard for a GCSE equivalent and this was the subject of a conference earlier last week

In an interview with Professor Angie Hobbs. Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, on the Today programme, John Humphries challenged the current teaching method with emphasis on A'levels, which in his opinion do little more than "teach to the test" with students simply learning bits of things and regurgitating them rather than actually thinking for themselves.

This is exacerbated by the fact that our children inhabit an age where googling questions is commonplace.  The obvious problem with all of this is that it encourages an environment of laziness and acceptance, whereas we need young people prepared to buck the trend of acceptance and ask questions, to discuss possibilities and make informed choices as a result.

Learning and regurgitating information is the polar opposite to thinking and will soon be a thing of the past as academics lobby to force our youngsters down a road of valuable inquiry.

Everyone has an opinion on something but very few people can effectively explain or defend their opinion without resorting to what they "feel" and this is the territory of emotions and irrational rather than rational thought.

Thus, by using the disciplines of philosophy and  encouraging our youngsters to push the boundaries of natural thought and to question the status quo without resorting to the comfort of the online search engine or how they "feel", the aim is that we will raise a generation of young people for the future with the capacity to respond to problems with inquisitive minds.

Philosophy is not a universal interest and "thinking" and the desire to understand beyond the obvious don't come naturally to everyone. Whether philosophy is the tool that will facilitate this process is yet to be seen, in the meantime it makes for an interesting debate.

 

 

One Messy Mama Reflectionsfromme Mummuddlingthrough Diary of an imperfect mumMummy Times Two Tammymum

Follow: