There are some things that never change about teenagers. We always spend inordinate amounts of time on the phone and obnoxiously turn up the volume on our iPod when confronted about the astonishingly high phone bill. We choose boyfriends or girlfriends we are certain that no respectable member or society would approve of. We also enjoy a strange relationship with our parents that is, at times, rocky but based mostly on mutual trust.
Our parents have our best interests at heart, of course, but it can be difficult to discern exactly what they want us to do. They are chock full of contradictions. People think that teens are indecisive and lazy. We are not. We know precisely what we want from life - to get by as comfortably as possible while doing as little work as we can. Parents, though, trying to provide the best for us, subject us to numerous parenting methods they've read about in dubious Agony Aunt magazine columns.
The other day, my mum was rifling through the online school newsletter which is unfortunately sent to her personal email account. "Everyone in your school is in a sort of netball team," she said anxiously. The fact wasn't surprising considering our school has a strong PE department and about 10 different netball teams. "Why aren't you on one?" she asked.
"Er, because I don't play netball."
She mulled it over and came to the conclusion that I wasn't properly integrating into the school community and treated me to a heart-to-heart on why I must make an effort to become more of a part of the social fabric. In the end, I think, this translated into: "Let there be no school club or event that gets itself mentioned in the school newsletter without you being part of it."
The next day she found me chatting to someone on Facebook. "You've spent three hours sitting there, what are you doing?" she demanded.
"Integrating into the social fabric?" I ventured tentatively, and was told off for cheek.
"You must polish your school shoes every night" is a favourite maxim of my dad. "There's a correlation between people who polish their shoes and people who get a Nobel Prize; I always did when I was your age," he likes to add.
Meanwhile, the care I devote to painting my nails is considered a waste of time. All too often I find I simply must take the varnish off because it's the wrong shade. However, spending aeons filing them and dabbing on another hue doesn't count as me being well presented, but simply as an excuse to fritter about.
Nevertheless, although we may argue incessantly with our parents, we know they will always lend a sympathetic ear when we need one. And while they might get muddled up, when they tell us they love us we know they're not going to change their minds a second later.