The Royal Commonwealth
25 Northumberland Avenue
Commonwealth Essay Competition London WC2N 5AP
Topic: What advice would you give to a family with teenagers?
Disclaimer: This essay contains information revealing your teenager’s deepest
feelings. In this essay, I refer to myself as the average teenager. Fear not, I have
conducted various surveys among peers who assure me that every piece of advice is
vital in ensuring your teenager’s happiness. Reader discretion is advised. Keep out of
reach of teenagers.
Rule of thumb: The teenager is always right.
If I said I finished my homework, I finished my homework. Or at least, I want
you to think I finished my homework. And if I said I spent my entire month’s
allowance on guide books and daily subscriptions to 57 different national newspapers
to improve my general knowledge, you do not demand to see the shoes I bought the
day before. I told you, those shoes were gifts from 12 different people and you brought
me up better than to blow my entire allowance on shoes.
Rule #89: Do not repeat yourself more than twice.
The third time you tell me to tidy up my room I immediately space out and ignore
you completely, entirely blocking out your presence and voice from whatever I may be
doing at the time. Even doing homework is more important than your incessant
nagging. I will either do the former or launch into another dramatized tantrum that
involves moaning and excessive whining with an occasional shriek. And if you
honestly provoke me, I will not hesitate to let loose the tear ducts.
Rule #23: Do not treat me as if I’m –insert younger sibling’s name here-.
The last time I checked, I am well out of diapers and even bigger than you are. I
can talk, walk, fend for myself and the last time I wet my pants was more than a
decade ago. You, however, may beg to differ and point out my various vices because
that’s all you see of me anyway. But I am in no way even comparable to –insert
younger sibling’s name here- and please refrain from even mentioning our names in
the same sentence or breath. Your enormous effort will not go unnoticed, I assure you.
Rule #64: When I am seen in public with you…
Please, no public display of any type of affection. And if you can, please refrain
from touching me altogether and keep all contact, visual and spoken to the barest
minimum. Warn me before making noises above 50 decibels or movements that will
attract attention to yourself or worse, me. Your sense of humour will not be deeply
admired in this context, best to keep your little comments to yourself, lest you
embarrass yourself or worse, me.
Rule #3: All outfits go through me before the door.
Your flamboyant taste in clothes and often ostentatious choice of outfits give me
nightmares which I fervently barricade from my conscious memory. It quite often
gives me goose bumps and sends chills down my spine, almost as frightful as an
appalling horror movie. I beg of you to show every single piece of clothing you plan to
wear out the door to me above anyone else, and thereafter seek my opinion on
everything else you buy. This way, a waste of your clothes is tremendously reduced
and there will not be mortification on my part and a subsequent apology of your outfit
Rule #21: Freedom = I ♥ U 4eva.
All I truly want in my entire existence is freedom: You not calling me every other
hour to check my whereabouts, you not regularly asking who I am with and what time
I think I am coming home? I promise to love you for eternity when you entrust me
with absolute freedom and no more questioning my ability to read the time. And I
promise to never roll my eyes at you or give you monosyllabic answers all for
freedom. A very fair exchange, no?
Rule #48: Do not question my English capabilities after I text you.
My English skills are perfectly refined, thank you very much. You will be
delighted to know that I do not speak or write anything like the way I text you, and
that my English is not frowned upon by my teachers and peers alike. And I also do not
fail my English essays but achieve a distinction in each composition and sometimes
even a sticker for my wide vernacular. I also often top my class during spelling
competitions and my grammar is spectacular. My oral skills are revered by my peers
and total strangers often approach me in school for help in English. Therefore, I can
confidently conclude that my English skills are of an extremely high standard and
texting is the only exception to my esteemed proficiency in the language.
Rule #73: Do not judge my friends.
I hate your friends as much as you hate mine so we’re even. Do you think I enjoy
it when your friends overflow the house, invading my privacy by their deplorable
shrieks and cackling whenever you tell one of your stale jokes? I realize that you hate
the closest people to me whom I spend every waking minute with, these people I label
my friends. You deem all of them bad company as you think we get up to a
smorgasbord of imprudence behind your back and behave like unkempt ruffians with
hooligans for parents. I however, beg to differ. We, on the other hand, engage in
highly intellectual conversations and have civilized discussions on controversial
cultural subject topics and correct each others’ grammar. My friends and I also indulge
in attending symposiums conducted by acclaimed laureates and exchange notes after
the seminar. And when we meet up in shopping malls, we do so to calculate the
amount of money spent on frivolous items of mundane and tangible desires which we
Rule #833: When in doubt, don’t ask.
Do you really want to know where I have been all this time and who I was with?
What you do not know will not hurt you and we will both be better off without the
information, you not asking and me not telling. I also trust you not to pester me while I
am out to get my behind home as soon as possible to help you with clearing the toilet
or getting gum out of -insert younger sibling’s name here-‘s hair.
Rule #35: Do not ask rhetorical questions
Yes, I think you’re joking and this whole situation is funny. Yes, I think you were
born yesterday and you don’t know what I’m up to. Yes, I regard home as a hotel with
stellar room service and excellent bed quarters. Yes, if my friends jumped off a cliff I
would jump too. No, I do not have a mind of my own. No, I do not plan on coming
home any time this century. Yes, I also think money grows on trees and you print
Rhetorical questions are a waste of breath on your part and time on my part as I
have to think if you really do want me to answer you.
The Golden Rule: Do not attempt to bend any of these rules; they are carefully
constructed by a group of highly skilled professionals who have been studying the
behavioral patterns of teenagers over a span of 20 years.
Your job is to ultimately ensure your teenager is in a state of euphoria at all times
and you must go all lengths to ensure your teenager’s happiness.