Pre Teens

1.Get them cooking, Early!

It will make them confident, and make them ridiculously popular at university or with teen “gatherings”. (More of these later).

Get them to cook a meal for the whole family once a month. You can oversee the dangerous bits (large pans of boiling water being drained, for instance)

2.Teach them the value of money. Gold star charts are ok, but a glass penny jar with a slit in the lid for tasks "well done” is a lot more powerful.

3.Computer games are the root of all evil. Don’t plug them in! Its lazy parenting, and should be saved for emegencies (hospital waiting rooms and tonsilectomies) only

4. PUT A LOCK ON YOUR BEDROOM DOOR. Not only to stop them bursting in when Mummy & Daddy are playing doctors and nurses, but also prevents arguments later on when articles of clothing\jewelry\phone chargers are “borrowed” and not returned. Suddenly, they will turn into heaving mountains of hormones when you arent looking, and will ask for a “small gathering” (ie Party. When they want to avoid the “P” word, which may alert you to trouble. With that lock, you wont come back to the first “gathering” to find a cigarette burn in your duvet and a nasty looking tooth brace on your bedside table.



1.Your teen is NOT your best friend. This is like a war, my friend! you need to be tactical. The old saying, keep your friends close and your enemies closer applies.

They will see it as a weakness and use it to their advantage when they feel like it!

2. When they say they want to go to a festival/stay overnight at a party and whine “But all my friend’s parents are letting them go!” get them to hand over the phone numbers of the parents. (Another thing - when they go to secondary school you won’t know any of the parents for years. Its not cosy like primary school. You will be made to drop them off around the corner or begged to let them get the bus) Check with them. They wont know anything about it and will probably say  “Lola told me you had said yes…” They will usually be very relieved to hear from you, and appalled at Lola’s new found skill of lying.

3.They will try alchohol. and Cigarettes. they may try drugs. Get used to the idea. Pre warned is pre armed. Nothing worse then finding out that your little darling is having her stomach pumped via a phonecall from A&E.

4.Talk. Talk. Talk. Keep all channels open, even when all you get back is a grunt or a door slam.

5. Encourage their friends in to the home and let them know they are welcome, as long as they observe basic house rules.

6. Give them condoms at 12. Yes, 12. They will probably be horofied, but will have them if they need them. Underage sex is a reality, and teens are always one step ahead.

7. No matter how selfish and sulky your beautiful sweet child of years past becomes, Try and commend them on the smallest positive thing. Even when it is very hard to find anythng positive to say. (“thank you for putting that drink carton in the bin sweetheart, that was so kind and helpful of you”. They will get the idea. Eventually.

8. Hold onto their coat tails. Hopefully the ride wont be too bumpy and you will have a lovely human being when they come out the other side…May the force be with you!

Here's an easy recipe for Vegetable Lasagne. Teens love it. Everyone loves it. 


2 Leek, chopped small

1 large onion 

2 aubergines

3 tablespoons of frozen chopped spinach

1 large handful of peas (frozen are fine)

2 carrots, chopped small

3 cloves of garlic. sliced

a few sprigs of thyme

olive oil

1 400g organic tinned chopped tomatoes, plain

1 bunch of fresh basil

150g cheddar cheese, grated

2 handfuls of parmesan, grated

8 dry lasagne sheets, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes



Pre heat oven to 200.

Steam the whole aubergines over a pan of simmering water for 30 minutes.

then cut up, with the skin on.

Fry the leeks, onion, carrots, peas, aubergine, garlic, and thyme in the olive oil for 10 mins.

Add the tins of tomates, the spinach, and most of the basil.

Simmer for 20 mins until sauce has thickened.

Place a spoonful of the sauce in a shallow dish. 

Place a lasagne sheet on top. Sprinkle over a bit of cheddar and some parmesan, then the lasagne sheet.

do this several times until the dish is full.

finish with parmesan, a few basil leaves.

put in the oven for half an hour until golden.