What’s the precise date your child turns hideous?

The exact date is: the October half-term holiday in their first year at high school.

The signs will be pretty clear, they are as follows:

Embarrassing rapping.

Your child will couple up with another child and rap; this is, unfortunately, inevitable. One will do the embarrassing rapping and the other will do embarrassing beatboxing.

In gay relationships, you can usually tell which is the male and which is the female, it’s the same with amateur rap duos; the one doing the beatboxing is the woman.

Surprise wrestling.

If you have a son, during the October half-term holiday they will start spontaneously trying to wrestle their father. It is a classic show of male dominance; the young pretender trying to usurp the alphamale. If you’re the father in this scenario, then I recommend that you get something bullet proof, like the family tortoise, and sellotape it to your groin.

This wrestling is unscheduled and will happen at the most inconvenient times, such as when you’re resting a hot cup of tea between your thighs, or having a secret fag in the shed. My son is, at the moment, like Kato from the Pink Panther movies. I tread carefully into rooms, open kitchen cupboards slowly and watch for minor movements in the curtains.

Hair selfies.

As we all know, extreme quiffs need constant exposure on all media platforms, and your child will see it as their job to do this. You may at this point need a separate room for your child’s hair care products. So if you’re thinking about an extension, this is a prime time.

Going to the park.

Going to the park will become a constant obsession. Your child will hear the jungle drums beat across the village and will automatically drop everything and flock zombie-like to the park. Once there, they will indulge in all of the above, in-between being ironic on the swings and swearing at strangers, which usually turns out to be someone you know, so expect a phone call later from a ‘concerned’ citizen.

Voice Breaking (boys only – in most cases).

At some point the voice of one of your son’s friends will break, and your child is soon to follow. It is OK to take the piss out of their friend, but if their parents do it to your son, it is well within your rights to ignore them for a bit and go into an adult sulk.

The introduction of an adult voice in a boy’s frame is a weird and uncomfortable time for all involved. Imagine Clint Eastwood asking you for a bowl of Coco Pops and you get the gist.

Refusal to wear a coat in cold weather

Big coats for kids going through growth spurts have a limited shelf life and may only last one season. It is your job as a parent to get your money’s worth out of it, so feel free to demand that they wear the big coat whenever they are in the vicinity of fresh air.

Perversely, it seems to be the child’s job to refuse to wear the big coat. They firmly believe that a nylon school jumper is perfect for blizzards, hurricanes and alpine trekking.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Either the brand of coat is not cool, or they have to hang their coats in the school locker room, which is usually where all the nutters hang out, and they are afraid that they might become a victim of unscheduled wrestling.

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