The singing in the car thing: stop it
Joe Lawrence is 17 and in his final year of A-levels. He lives with his parents Julia, a writer, and John, a producer, and sister Lois, 20, in East Finchley, London.
1 I don’t find it annoying that you’re utterly clueless when it comes to downloading a film onto the TV or configuring a new mobile phone, it’s the fact you won’t even try to learn. You’re not stupid, but you deliberately act like you are just so I will do it for you. Gushing ‘what a clever lad’ I am doesn’t make it any better.
2 When you’re in ‘hostess mode’ you’re cringey. Your accent changes, your voice goes up in pitch and you find everything your friends say really funny, even when it’s not.
3 It’s really annoying how you act like certain parts of the house and certain bits of furniture are yours. I don’t like being ordered off ‘your’ sofa like a dog.
Joe Lawrence (left) is 17 and in his final year of A-levels. He lives with his parents Julia, a writer, and John, a producer, and sister Lois, 20, (right) in East Finchley, London
4 You spend a fortune on stuff for you, but we’re always on a tight budget when you take me shopping. I know how much those goose-down, Egyptian cotton pillows on your bed cost. But you say the lumpy old foam ones on my bed are ‘absolutely fine’.
5 Your homemade fish pie and liver and bacon casserole are revolting. I’m not saying it to be annoying, I really don’t like them. And your pleas to ‘just try a little bit’ like I’m some stroppy toddler really gets on my wick.
6 You’re not the only one who works hard and who gets tired. A-levels are hard, and it’s really patronising when you sneer ‘tough day?’ when I finish college at 3pm.
7 Why do both you and Dad insist on tagging along when I’m going into town? It’s (almost) acceptable to be seen on the Tube with one parent, but with both it’s plain embarrassing.
8 The singing in the car thing. Stop it. It sounds like you stepped on the cat.
9 When my friends laugh at your jokes most of the time they’re just humouring you. It’s really embarrassing when you try and join in the banter. My friends’ parents do it to me when I go round theirs, so I know what I’m talking about.
10 Looking over at my phone or laptop and getting really suspicious when I won’t let you read stuff. It’s not dodgy; it’s private.
I actually thought Joe liked helping out his poor old Luddite mum with technology. But OK, point taken, I promise to pay attention next time you load up a film for me.
But I’m sorry, my fish pie is to die for. I am not taking culinary criticism from someone who considers a meal to be a Pot Noodle with a boiled egg.
And the singing? I’ll do my best. But I can’t promise.
PLEASE don't try to be one of my girl gang
Olivia Becci, 17, lives with her parents Anna-Maria, 47, a teaching assistant and Mirko, 50, an electrician, in North London. She has a sister Amelia, 15.
1 Apparently, everyone out there has a daughter who is really helpful, perfect and thoughtful. That’s the lecture I get every time I don’t clear the table after dinner or leave a bowl out of the dishwasher. Which is rare — honestly.
2 Mum, do you know how many times you’ve lectured me about ‘not leaving my drink unattended’ and ‘staying with my friends’? Every time I leave the house. Even when I’m just off to a friend’s house party.
3 When I go out to meet my boyfriend I’ll be wearing make-up. When I come back and the lipstick has worn off, I get the same joke about kissing. Cringe.
Olivia Becci, 17, (let) lives with her parents Anna-Maria, 47, (right) a teaching assistant and Mirko, 50, an electrician, in North London. She has a sister Amelia, 15.
4 That horrible screechy voice you use when you are shouting my name up the stairs sounds like the house is on fire. I’ll rush down to find you only wanted to ask me something. Imagine if I did that to you! It’s just rude.
5 Mum, you’re 47. You stopped being part of the ‘girl gang’ 30 years ago, so please stop trying to join in when my friends come over.
6 I’m tired when I get in from school. I don’t feel like engaging in a full appraisal of my day: what I had for lunch and what grades I got.
7 Why are you so obsessed with my phone? You always want to know who I’m messaging and what I’m saying. It’s my life, and your monitoring is intrusive.
8 You want me to work hard and get good grades, so why can’t I have a desk in my room? Working at the dining room table isn’t practical — I can hear the TV.
9 Every night at dinner you tell me to eat up my vegetables. And I will have to remind you, again, that I am not five years old.
10 It’s the same with bedtime. I will go to bed when I am tired, and I really don’t need you telling me it’s time for ‘lights out’.
Olivia is wrong on one point: she does need to be told when it’s bedtime. She will often head to bed at 11.30pm, with her laptop, all set to watch a film, and gets so annoyed when I remind her she has school in the morning.
Everyone tells me she won’t be a teenager for ever. Inside that stroppy little madam is a considerate woman, just waiting to be unleashed.
No, I'm not cold in hot pants
Poppy Toyne is 14 and lives with parents Hayley, 42, a freelance marketing consultant and Andy, 50, a contract manager for a construction company in Branston, Lincolnshire. She has a sister Scarlett, nine.
1 Why can’t you knock when you come into my bedroom? When I complain I could have been undressing, you say you’ve seen it all before. But that was when you were changing my nappy!
2 Why do you consider it appropriate to post baby photographs of me in the bath on Facebook and Instagram, and then tag me in them, which means all my friends can see them, too? That is just so embarrassing.
3 I was fuming to discover recently that you actually stalk me on social media and have settings on your phone so that if I post anything on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you get an alert. I know I’m only 14, but what about trust?
Poppy Toyne (right) is 14 and lives with parents Hayley, 42, (left) a freelance marketing consultant and Andy, 50, a contract manager for a construction company in Branston, Lincolnshire. She has a sister Scarlett, nine.
4 I’ve caught on to your trick of shouting upstairs to tell me tea is ready, then I come down to discover it won’t be out of the oven for ten minutes, and you just want me to set the table while I’m waiting.
5 My sister will tease me about liking a boy and then you join in, like you’re a big kid. You think it’s funny; it’s not.
6 When I wear short skirts I get a lecture about pulling them down before I leave the house, even though all my friends dress that way. And, no, I won’t be cold in my hot pants and crop top.
7 Why do you insist I can only take the train into Nottingham, which is only 40 miles away, if a friend’s parent is going too, even though my mates are allowed unaccompanied?
8 We both wear size five shoes, but that doesn’t mean you can wear my trainers. What if my friends saw you?
9 Why do you give me such a hard time when I don’t answer my phone on the first ring? I feel like I am tagged.
10 It makes me so cross when I ask you to explain why you’re telling me to do something, and the answer is: ‘Because I said so.’
No surprises there. I know she’s straining at the leash, and wants her independence, but she’s only 14. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t keep an eye on her.
Her comments about clothes made me laugh. Whatever the weather, she’ll try sneaking out the door in what is essentially a 1950s bikini!
Poppy gets £40 a month for walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher and tidying her bedroom — none of which she ever actually does.
Stop sending me friend requests on Facebook - I'll never accept!
Seth Daker, 18, has just started a degree in architecture at the University of Northumbria and lives with mum Nicky, 49, a nurse, and stepfather Danny, 46, a removals company owner, in Ripponden, West Yorkshire.
1 Want to know my first thought if ever I’m injured playing football? Not, ‘Is my leg actually broken?’, it’s ‘Oh, God, Mum’s going to run onto the pitch any minute shouting: “Are you OK darling?” ’ You always do, and it’s so embarrassing.
2 Whenever you call me using your hands-free device, you almost deafen me. You’re convinced you have to shout because you’re further away from the handset. I’ve told you, there are speakers. You really don’t need to bellow like a lunatic.
3 Why do you still call me ‘Sethy’ in front of my friends, your pet name for me since I was little, even though you know I get teased? It can’t be accidental.
Seth Daker, 18, (left) has just started a degree in architecture at the University of Northumbria and lives with mum Nicky, 49, (right) a nurse, and stepfather Danny, 46, a removals company owner, in Ripponden, West Yorkshire
4 Occasionally, when you’re in a good mood, you’ll offer me a lift to see friends — and then complain the whole journey I treat you like a ‘taxi service’.
5 It’s so frustrating when you call me when I’m out at night, and no one else is home, to ask how to work the TV. No matter how often we explain it to you, you just can’t figure it out for yourself. How many times am I to be found in the foyer of a pub, shouting: ‘Press the red button. No, the red one!’ because Mum is missing Coronation Street?
6 I know you’re proud of me, but you have this horrible habit of boasting about me to my friends’ mothers, then they give me stick about what you’ve said. Honestly, I’m really not as great as you think.
7 I really don’t mind trying out your new treatments at your aesthetics clinic. What I do mind, however, is you posting pictures of me wearing face masks on your Facebook page, which is plain humiliating.
8 I’ll ask if you need help with preparing dinner and am always told: ‘No, it’s all in hand.’ Then, later, you’re banging on that you have ‘to do everything’!
9 Mum, I learned to tell the time when I was six. Your little morning trick telling me it’s later than it is, hoping it will speed me up, is just pointless.
10 Please stop sending requests to be my ‘friend’ on social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat. I love you, but I will never accept them. Who on earth wants their mum spying on their nights out?
Oh, hold me back! Seth’s at university and I miss him, so I’d love to see what he’s up to, but he’s blocked me on social media — even when I pay for his phone. How is that fair?
I really don’t object to cooking a meal. What I do mind is Seth inviting a friend to stay for dinner, then announcing, just as I am serving up, that our guest has Halal or vegetarian diet requirements, and being expected to deal with it. That said, he’s not a bad lad, and I really don’t have much to complain about.