I don’t know about you but I’m finding this child to pre-teen parenting tricky to navigate. My daughter, not being a teenager yet, although she desperately wants to be, and not being a little girl anymore, even though she desperately wants to be, is a phase of motherhood that I wasn’t prepared for at all. I look at this child of mine who’s developing the shape of a young woman and the attitudes of a much older woman and I don’t really know what to do. This chapter wasn’t in the book and I can’t find an easy answer.
However, whether it’s selfish or gluttonous of me, I’m determined to not lose some of the intimacies and simple pleasures of being the mother of a child just because my daughter’s getting older, so I’ve decided to choose a few things to hang on to, one of which being the bedtime story. Millions of us parents read to our children every night. We have a bath, get in our comfy pyjamas and then get cosy together in bed. We snuggle up as close as we can and begin devouring Julia Donaldson, Percy The Park Keeper, Paddington Bear … and hundreds of other narratives and fantasy lands that we share whilst cuddling up close and spending this precious 20 minutes with each other. And then one day it stops! Is it our fear of keeping close to our child? Is it our fear of rejection? Is it our fear of what the world might say if we’re snuggled up with our teenager or is it our assumption that our teens don’t want it anymore? Whatever it is, I figured that it needs challenging and breaking. If this precious time together has served us so well for the past 11 years, then why should that change? Why should we be robbed of that precious time and a chance to finish off our day being together and snuggling whilst sharing the beauties of a story?
The unexpected hurdle in this big decision of mine was what to read? There are recommended reading lists for pre-teens and teens, but I struggled to find anywhere that was from the perspective of the parent and spoke of what was a lovely story to share together in bed, after the bath and when everyone’s a little soporific and sleepy. So that’s where this blog sits. I thought I’d simply explore the possibilities of a teenage bedtime story from the point of view of a mam, who’s desperate not to let this tradition dwindle. The reviews won’t be overly academic and won’t go into the literary benefits of the story, but I hope it will give you some ideas of how to keep the bedtime story alive.
It would also be great if we could create a group around this. A gang of us who are determined to keep the bedtime story alive who share our best and worst teenage bedtime stories.
So, in order to start this, and until I’m inundated with ideas from you for future recommendations, I’m going to have to track back to the summer in order to give me a little momentum and in the next blog the first teenage bedtime story will be ‘The Boy At The Back Of The Class’ by Onjali Q Rauf…