Moments when you realise your teenagers are all grown-up

One minute they're in nappies, the next they're borrowing your car. The National Citizen Service youth programme asked Mumsnetters to recall the moments they realised their babies were really growing up 

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1.  'Bedtime' has no real meaning any more


"Their bedtime has become later than mine! That's weird - I have to stay up later so they are in bed before me."

2.  They've grasped the value of money (...ish)


"My kids have started using their own debit cards to pay for stuff when we're out. That was really a defining moment - it moved from me providing for them to them providing for themselves (and sometimes treating me!)."

"My daughter said she'd use her student card to save me money - it was the fact that she has started to realise the value of money that had changed."

3.  They feel as protective of you as you do of them

"They've started to filter the TV programmes for me: 'You won't like that mum, it's a bit rude and sweary.'" 

"I returned dreadfully upset from a visit to my dying mother, and my 14-year-old daughter rocked me in her arms to comfort me." 

4.  Tantrums are (more or less) a thing of the past 

"My stroppy hormonal teen asked 'did you get my make-up wipes?' Then quick as a flash said, 'Sorry mum, that sounded a bit rude'."

5.  They're far better informed than you are

Saffy ab fab

"My son gave me a run down of why Greece needed to leave the Euro, and I realised he knew more that I did." 

6.  They've started making entirely rational decisions 

"I realised my son had grown up the day that I offered him a biscuit when making my post-work cup of tea and he replied, 'No thank you, I won't be able to eat my dinner if I have one now'."

7.  They've become so... competent!

cleaning teenager

"I phoned home to be told that the dog had had very bad diarrhoea on my bed. When I got in, my son had cleaned everything up: the curtains were in the washing machine with the duvet cover, and he had even gone out and bought more Febreeze. There was nothing for me to do! I realised just how capable he actually is - even if he hides it well most of the time!" 

8.  You get a feeling that everything's going to be okay

"With my eldest, it was when her provisional driving license hit the doormat. She had just turned 17, and that thud changed my perception forever. How is it possible that perfect little baby I brought home from the hospital is ready to learn to drive, in what feels like the blink of an eye? I made her, I nurtured her and did the best I could - and I could not be any prouder of her. She has my blood, sweat and tears behind her, and I know without doubt she is a good person, with a strong heart."

Taking place three times a year, National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity open to 16 and 17-year-olds in England and Northern Ireland. Because it's backed by Government, the two-four week personal development programme costs no more than £50. To find out more visit 

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Last updated: almost 2 years ago