I read recently about a challenge to be politer and kinder in how you speak to your partner and your children. Not to take them for granted, to be grateful for all they do and not what they don’t do. To be aware of every interaction. It is ridiculous how we treat perfect strangers better than we do our own family sometimes. And I know the flip side is that home is a safe place to be, where we can sometimes vent and show our not so nice side. Where we are loved no matter what. But we can also try be better. To be aware that its not ok to be impolite to those you love the most. Just because you can. But whilst I believe in being the change and taking the lead I challenge any parent of a teenager to do this. I challenge myself every morning. You see, my consistent theme remains … most of the stuff we all know, most of the stuff we all try do, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t. Because if we’re honest, nobody is perfect. Nobody gets it right all the time. Especially not the parent of a teenager. But I will keep on trying. I have to keep reminding myself that Kate and Jem’s teenage and preteen behaviour is not about me. It just is. I just happen to be there. All the time. I wish I’d remembered that this morning when as I was discussing with Kate the merits of letting, or more to the point, not letting her friends come home to the empty apartment after a party on the river, she got up from the table went into the bathroom and shut the door. Okay, so maybe I was lecturing rather than discussing, and maybe I do go on a bit, but I mean, I was mid sentence. She didn’t even think. She had just had enough of the conversation. As much as I breathed and reasoned, I was not polite when she emerged. But I did manage to stop myself from beating down the door. She had got the point, and moved on. With a knowing air of disdain. Would she do that to a stranger. Never. Because she is a lovely polite girl. Just not always at home. But then, nor am I. So, we are taking up the challenge. We will be conscious of how we talk to each other, how we behave towards each other, how often we thank each other and how much we take each other for granted. And especially how much we ignore our mother.