Here we go again. The schools are breaking up, the teachers are out on the lash, the education secretary is wondering why he didn’t get any end-of-term presents and the kids are starting to complain of boredom.
So if you’re a perplexed parent with a tortured teenager, take heart.
We’ve gleaned advice from experienced parents, youth workers, PCSOs and probation officers, chosen the best bits, had a few ideas of our own and packed them all together into... drum roll...our essential Top Ten* Tips for Summer Holiday Teen Taming.
*(There may not actually be ten tips. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.)
- Video games: Letting them take on the role of a US Marine as he battles his way through the steamy jungles of the Philippines not only hones their reflexes but also prepares them for the history A-level they’re allegedly going to start in September. The only drawback is that this year’s syllabus covers the economic development of the Hanseatic League in the late 15th century. Still, never mind, it keeps them off the streets.
- Sport: Get together a gang of like-minded mates and organise a summer tournament? But don’t call it the *l*mp*cs, and don’t award G*ld, S*lv*r or Br*nz* m*d*ls, or the marketing police will be down on you C*t**s, *lt**s, F*rt**s than a ton of bricks. And best steer clear of target shooting, too. You don’t want any nasty incidents with next door’s cat.
- Video games: Letting them take on the role of a Formula 1 driver as he battles his way through the gritty racetracks of Europe not only hones their reflexes but also helps to alleviate their disappointment when you tell them that you can’t afford real driving lessons, never mind the insurance.
- Pick your own: Get back in touch with nature by cramming your teenagers in the back of the car, driving out to a sodden pasture in the back of beyond, breaking your back gathering strawberries while they huddle up and smirk, trying to make jam, realising that you haven’t got any jam jars... Summer really doesn’t get any better than this.
- Video games: Letting them take on the role of a cheeky pizza-loving plumber as he battles his way through the green and yellow pipes of the Mushroom Kingdom, defeating a giant turtle with a horned shell and rescuing a princess with the unlikely name of Peach not only hones their reflexes but also prepares them for GCSE Italian. Or reality.
- Get a job: This is the big one. Because the problem here is that your average shop-owner or restaurateur is going to realise fairly quickly that your average teenage boy’s standards of personal grooming are never going to match customer expectations, and your average teenage girl’s getting-up times are never going to fit in with your opening hours. Any dreams of getting them to finance their own further education will remain just that: dreams.
- Read a book: Ha! If you think you can persuade any teenager to read a book for fun, you have seriously lost the plot.
- Video games: Admit defeat. It’s the only way to keep them happy.