Friday, 21 February 2014

teenage angst

I feel oddly wordless at the moment. In fact, I feel like I am floating today, with little purpose and little ambition, I am quite content.

That said, I am now gearing up to await the return my offspring, school will be out in an hour and the weekends is beginning. I bet Sam will be home before anyone else, changing into his pj's and wrap himself up in his dressing gown. This is what he likes doing after school at the moment. This, and winding me up of course. He is good at that! Teenagers are just so weird. The dressing gown is in dire need of a wash but Sam assures me it smells exactly how he likes it to smell. He won't like being reminded of the scouts meeting this evening....


Sam had to choose his year 3 subjects this week. I am so confused by the Scottish school system and poor old Sam, being the oldest, suffers the consequences of my ignorance. It is now, at the tender age of 13, that my poor lad has to have a good idea of what he wants to be when he grows up. He has no clue of course, one day it is social worker, the next day it is school teacher, and the day after he wants to be a chemist, or maybe an engineer.....in any case, he will own a cat and have one child.
 
Luckily, the new curriculum for excellence allows schools to offer a broader choice in year 3 than the old curriculum. I am ever so trusting that this is correct. What a weird choice of name, curriculum for excellence. I kind of assumed that excellence is what all curricula would strive for.... was the old one inferior maybe? Never mind. Sam has to choose 8 subjects, which he will study for a year in addition to the compulsory core subjects (Maths, English, French, Physical Education, Religious Education and Personal Social Studies). My memory is a bit hazy but I am sure I didn't have that many subjects at school....what are Personal Social Studies I wonder?


In year 4 he will have to drop some subjects and focus on this National 5 exams (confusingly held at the end of year 4). Assuming that he will sit National 5's of course and not National 4's,  or a mix of the two. I am not entirely sure at the moment what the difference is.
How do you advise your child what subjects to choose? I feel biased towards the sciences because I am a biologist by training. Richard feels biased towards the sciences because he is a biochemist. Together, we are probably not ideally suited to advise Sam on his future career...... So, what did we decide? We let him choose all by himself and discussed his choices once he was certain he had made the right choices. Quite possibly, this amounts to poor parenting. Sam's choices seem quite sensible: Geography, Modern Studies, Drama, Physical Education (in addition to core PE), Computing, Business and Administration, Chemistry and Physics. I get tired just writing this down! Funny, that, I never thought of Sam as being sporty but he is very clear that he wants to do the PE option. He gets to choose core sports and plans to focus on swimming. He is in the schools swim club already and chose personal survival skills for one of is year 2 options. He is learning to administer CPR just now. I really hope he is not going to practice his skills on his younger siblings....

We are lucky with Sam, he is academically clever and he should be able to achieve whatever goal he sets himself.



I think Sam is quite anxious about growing up. His anxiety manifests in the oddest ways (not to be shared here), sometimes I feel like laughing and other times more like crying. 

He asked yesterday if he would be allowed to be a home student and continue to live with us for the first three years of his studies.... because, he said, he was worried that studying elsewhere would be too expensive. Inside, my evil self shouts "no way" (I want his room for my creative pursuits) but I am also quite pleased that we appear to be the lesser of two evils if he has to choose between staying with his parents or running up a huge debt.

I wonder why he doesn't consider alternative paths of education, an apprenticeship in joinery maybe. Or training as a violin builder. For quite selfish reasons I also fancy a hair dresser in the family. However, I keep quiet because I don't want to push him where he doesn't want to go. For now at least.


Not only does he have to worry about his future career now, he is also turning into a young man, which seems a rather troublesome process. Lately he has been complaining about his throat that makes his voice go funny... He also discovered black heads on his blemish free face, which he blames on me because apparently, acne runs in my family but not Richard's.

The joys of growing up! Have you got teenagers that find growing up difficult?

The photos today are off my newly finished tea cosy. I have never owned such an item but now that I am a fully acculturated honorary British citizen, I thought I should make one for Sam's charity shop tea pot. Tea pots have to be of a particular shape Sam says, and it is only those cheap metal ones that fit the description. It looks quite nice with its little hat on. Sam is most pleased to have a tea cosy for his pot, too. I bet he won't mention this to his pals!

Oh well, time for some weekending. Before I forget: a warm welcome to my new followers, I am really happy to see you here.

Have a lovely weekend! 
Cx


P.S. Not so wordless after all. Funny how my wandering mind works.

24 comments:

  1. It's not easy being a parent. It really isn't. It's rewarding and gratifying and lots of other good things, but it is also a lot of hard work. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of it. I have to say, the school system there leaves me feeling sorry for the kids your son's age. How in the world are they supposed to know what they want to be when they are so young? They can't even know all the possibilities that exist at that age!

    On a brighter note, you won the Canadian mittens giveaway on my blog! I got so caught up in trying to get the post written between periods in the hockey game I forgot to put that bit in at the end. I have gone back and edited it to let everyone know you were the winner. If you email me your address I will get the mittens in the post! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exiting Kristie, thank you! I always have cold hands and a pair of mittens is just what I need.

      You are so right, how can children now what they want to do, not knowing what there is (apart from the obvious). Some days I still don't know what I want to do, and I am 43.

      Delete
  2. Our oldest is fourteen Christina, and similarly I feel sorry that she's having to make decisions pertaining to subject choices that will have lifelong consequences. Though I've no qualifications as such, I consider myself to be scientifically-oriented and therefore struggle to allow my children to display any artistic tendencies! I've three wanting to be Veterinarians at this stage, will be interesting to see how that plays out.
    I take it you've not always been in Scotland, are you actually Australian?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to groom another scientist but I try hard not to influence Sam. Some of his choices sounds so extremely boring to me that I would weep if I had to take them.... Veterinary medicine is great I think, there are so many options for veterinarians that the subject suits many.

      I am Swiss with Italian roots but have been living in Scotland since 1999. It seems like a long time. My husband is born Australian but has left Australia as a young boy. I think I need to write an "about me" post at some point, I realise that I puzzle my readers sometimes.

      Delete
  3. I have not yet reached the stage where I have to think about this very much yet, and I'm not looking forward to it when I do. My son is very smart, probably a lot smarter than I am, and I know he'll be very capable but his personality is such that he'll always need a lot of prodding. I'm sure it will only get more difficult. My daughter is probably too young to really tell yet but she's flighty in her way too. And the schools here are scary. I worry. Sigh. But your tea cozy! That's fantastic and I really love it. Tea cozies, I get. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a secret love for tea cosies... They are just so sweet (but don't seem to keep my tea hotter for longer). I am sure the little bear will need less prodding as he gets older. Sam was a bit like that, he needed continuous encouragement but now I don't even have to remind him of homework. Cx

      Delete
  4. I feel your angst Christina, both my children are well passed this stage but I remember dealing with it in much the same way as you are. It is important not to have too much influence on their decision making but also to have enough communication to discuss any concerns so as to offer a gentle guiding hand. Teenage years can be tough and we as parents have to ride it out best we can so it is good that Sam is having a say even though it is difficult for him to know where he wants to be 5-10 years from now.
    The tea cosy is fab, it has really brightened my day today x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad I am not alone in trying not to influence my children's decisions. We have been lucky I think because Sam is still happily talking to us and discussing what worries him (or makes him happy). I have heard that not all teenagers are like him. I hope I am not speaking too soon!
      I am glad my tea cosy has brightened your day. Cx

      Delete
  5. Hey Christina,
    Just playing catch up on my blog reading. The world of the boy teen....it sounds as if you are striking the right balance. I think teenage years are hard for teen and parent - even if the transition is relatively smooth. I do wonder how any child can be expected to know 'what they want to be' when they grow up. I think it's a shame that our society seems intent on pushing children though the stages of childhood so quickly.
    My Sam has been pretty good, I must say, although there have been the occasional running battle. I remember the same arguments with my Dad. But I am proud of his quiet determination and the courage to be himself, and not follow where others may go.
    Your tea cozy is so lovely.
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blog reading can be hard work... being himself is definitely something I would encourage in all my children. Sam seem completely oblivious to peer pressure at the moment. I forgot you had a Sam, too. How funny!

      Delete
  6. Oh dear, I can't help at all, I'm afraid, but I'm sure that whatever you do you'll be doing it right. I wish our school system didn't push children into making these choices so early. Honestly, what thirteen year old knows what they want to be when they leave school?

    Love the tea cosy, it's perfectly colourful and, well, cosy. Have a great week. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am still not sure what I want to do and I am positively old! As far as I remember, it was the career support woman who suggested I study biology. I had no idea that this was even possible... I hope my children's career advice is better than that. Have a lovely week, too! x

      Delete
  7. All that teenage angst seems to last for ever but looking back it passed in a flash!
    Choices at such a young age seem hard and the best advice from my childrens' school was to choose the subjects that interest you, not the ones you think will lead to a career because you're bound to change your mind. On the plus side, even after uni they seem to change career paths at the drop of a hat - there's always training available and hardly anyone goes into a job nowadays thinking they'll be doing the same thing in twenty years.
    I'm still waiting for the bedrooms to be freed up for a creative space. They may go off to uni or move countries for work, but they seem to keep coming back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think choosing what interests you is the best way to go. At least that way, Sam is more likely to enjoy school. In a way it good to know that career change is more common now than it was when I was young, maybe this lessens the pressure a bit.
      I just remembered that my two youngest ones share a room and I am sure they will want separate rooms once Sam is gone off to do whatever he chooses to do... must start planning an extension.

      Delete
  8. I'm out the other side of the whole teenage thing now and I think, hope, we just about got it right. We have two boys who were mostly home educated - deemed too bright for mainstream school but that level of intelligence is a mixed blessing believe me - and two girls who went the normal school route. Boy 1 chose to study history at university, switched to business admin as a post grad (something he'd shown no interest in before), and now has an MBNA and is a rising star in a big credit bank. Girl 1 was having nothing to do with university - we had a struggle with the school who were determined she was academic and were pressuring here to do a degree where we felt the choice should be hers - a few years on she is Operations Manager of a promo firm. Girl 2 also studied history at university, then an MA in Archives and Records Management, and is just beginning her career as an archivist. All through school though she played the violin in various youth orchestras and was tipped to become a pro, so the music or history choice was a hard one for her. And Boy 2 went to uni at 16 to study computing, dropped out two years later, and is currently as happy as Larry working on a large farm/market garden up to his knees in mud all day. He plans to go back to uni eventually, to study agriculture. All of which adds up to my saying it is impossible to predict where they will end up but letting them trust their instincts is the best place to start I reckon x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing this Annie, it is reassuring to hear from other mums who have come out at the other end. I hope all my four will find happiness in whatever they choose to do. Cx

      Delete
  9. So were you in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland then Christina? So interesting. I love reading the "About me" page have but have struggled for over 2 years to actually write one myself!

    Sorry, no help on the teenage front. I have all that (dauntingly!) ahead of me and 4 of them are boys which I know I will worry about more than my daughter. But it really seems like only yesterday that I was a teenager and it's just is a tricky time in general but we all seem to come through it and I'm sure you're doing everything right. I think it's hard enough knowing what you want to do when you are 18 let alone any younger. Our school system doesn't sound that much different and I wish they would make it easier in later years to switch back to other elective subjects. Isn't the trend these days to have multiple careers in our working life anyway which makes me think there should be more emphasis on a general love of life-long learning to cater for our changing interests over time. Anyway, on a lighter note, your teapot cosy is fantabulous!!! Mel x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am from the German speaking part of Switzerland but my father was half Italian. It will probably be two years before I manage my about me page... I prefer writing about other things somehow. Funny, I worry less about my daughter than I worry about my boys, too. I wonder why this is? Cx

      Delete
  10. Fantastic tea cosy, well done you! I am suitably terrified about the prospect of teenaged boys in the house (my eldest is ten and a half at the moment). And secondary school, and all the choices and all the worry. It doesn't bear thinking about. Sam sounds like a very grounded boy though, and his decisions look like good ones. I hope he enjoys his classes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure Sam will enjoy his classes, he just changed from computing to design and manufacture. I am secretly pleased. He is lucky because he loves learning. It is a bit worrying, the teenage business I mean, but we are taking baby steps to get used to it. Cx

      Delete
  11. Really great post. As you know if have Bell who is 13 soon to be 14. I find the emotions quite hard to deal with. I am quite often her very least favourite person. I've decided to give her, at her request, more freedom. I just worry, your teens are hard enough to deal with, with the emotions and developing. I have always told her she can ask me anything - and I mean it. With boys it is more difficult as they tend to be a closed book in their teens, I have a good few years to go yet before my boys hit their teens. As for school Bell is more creative than academic - so she struggles sometimes. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am often Sam's least favourite person.... I think this is just the nature of teenage life. Being creative is a wonderful thing and I think it is a shame the schools don't embrace it more. Cx

      Delete
  12. My daughter is 14 and has to choose her options for GCSE in the next week so we're going through the same thing. There is much anxiety about the options 'blocks' as she may not get her personal choices if the subjects she has chosen are in the same block. There were tears about this last night. Currently she wants to be a lawyer but I'm not sure she realises what is involved - she just wants to be Atticus Finch - to stand up for people who are badly treated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More Atticus Finches are needed in this world! Good for your daughter to aspire to be a lawyer. It is a difficult degree and studying doesn't finish with the Honours but I think I would consider it for myself, too. If I had another chance!. I hope your daughter gets her choices!

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx