Rebecca Morse: “I am right now (rn) deep in the trenches of parenting a tween and a teen…”

…and my eldest daughter, while no longer demographically a teen, still behaves like one, so technically I have three in the cohort in question.

WORDS: Rebecca Morse

After daily anthropological observations of their habits I present to you teens and tweens Now vs. Then. 

With the Then component kicking it back to the late 80s/early 90s when I was in my teenage years.


NOW: Text messages, Messenger messages, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, BeReal. 

You must be contactable at all times. You cannot leave a friend on read. (which is so confusing to me because surely at some point one of you has to stop the convo and sleep/eat/toilet/ and interact with your family at a bare minimum standard)

If you are traumatically going out of mobile range due to a flight or school camp etc you must pass on your Snapchat login to a third party to maintain Streaks. Because Streaks are life. Or #lyf.

The photos you send to maintain said streaks can be of your feet or double chin or the wall, but anything posted for posterity on social media must be curated, in a nonchalant manner.

Phone calls are usually via FaceTime during one’s beauty routine. (see BEAUTY)

THEN:  You passed notes in class.

After school you would dial your friend’s landline phone number which you knew off by heart and talk for hours, or in later years until someone in the house needed to use the dial-up internet.

If you wanted to call a boy you needed to get the courage to speak to his parents or siblings first if they answered the phone. Chickening out and hanging up was common practice.

If you made a plan to meet someone and you were running late there was no way of contacting them. You could stand at the Malls Balls for an hour thinking your friend was dead when they’d just missed the bus.


NOW: Cut-outs, crop tops, bikinis. Luxury designer labels. 

THEN: Baggy t-shirts, Stussy pants, swimming in board shorts. Designer labels were Sportsgirl and Country Road.

(no shame around the body confidence by the way (btw) I wish our generation had more of it)


NOW: Binge watching series on multiple streaming platforms. Preferably in your room so your parents can’t veto Euphoria.

Watching shows while simultaneously doomscrolling on social media.

“Discovering” programs like Friends and Gossip Girl.

Downloading a movie that’s still in the cinemas.

THEN: Sitting down with the family to watch Young Talent Time/Hey Hey It’s Saturday/It’s a Knockout/Neighbours.

Timing your toilet and snack breaks around the commercials.

Knowing that if you were out and missed an episode of your favourite show YOU COULD NEVER WATCH IT AGAIN. Unless you set up the VCR. (video cassette recorder)

Waiting for the latest New Release to be returned to Blockbuster or Video Ezy. Fighting with your siblings about which Weekly you would rewatch in the meantime. Getting fined for not rewinding the video.


NOW: Spotify lists of any song you feel like listening to at any time played from your phone into little wireless earphones.

THEN: Waiting for your favourite song to play on Take 40 with Barry Bissell and pressing record on your pink cassette player. Listening to your mix tape on your Sony Walkman, also pink. 

Later, buying the latest So Fresh compilation and carrying the CDs in a case in your car.


NOW: Drunk elephant, Glow Recipe, Allkinds, Sol de Janeiro perfume, the entire online inventory of Mecca and Sephora. 

A knowledge of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. A lack of knowledge about the cost of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Thick brows.

Looking like a glamazon.

THEN:  Body Shop passionfruit cleansing gel and Rose Musk perfume. Impulse. 

Clearasil skin coloured pimple cream in lieu of foundation. 

Thin brows.

Looking like an awkward teen.

I hope you enjoy reading these lists to your teen/tween. If you can capture their attention for more than 15 seconds. 

Rebecca Morse x



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