by Jerome Betts
“Adolescence now lasts . . . to 24, although
it used to be thought to end at 19.”—BBC News
Thirteen, from dump to Georgian deanery,
Proclaims the start of offsprings’ teenery.
The years this lasts are, strictly, seven
For parents often far from heaven,
With all the trials of adolescence
From lethargy to effervescence.
Hail, acne, mood-swings, hormones, braces,
Binge-drinking, break-ups, surly faces,
And fads, from eco-freak to Moonie,
Tongue-piercing, tattoos, choice of Uni!
But now, it seems, its real duration
Is six more years of tribulation,
Financial chaos, unwise beddings,
Court orders, drugs, and shotgun weddings.
Yet, worse, the cynic will assert, is
With some it stretches through their thirties.