Yes, they do!
I give you as an example teenagers!
When they were small, they were simple beings- uncomplicated and only needing the basics in life of food, hygiene, emotional support and the occasional tidy round in their rooms. They were simple organisms.
Now however, the complexity of the teenager is mind boggling!
What was once simple has developed into something so complex that whole days have to be spent organising things so they are just right.
It used to be I could place a meal in front of them and it would be eaten – simple as that!
Now, I have to take the meat out for one, the cauliflower (or swede or carrots) out for another and prawns out for the third. Leave them in? The complexity of the teenage brain does not allow for this to happen- they must be removed. Eating a single pea, carrot or whatever they currently do not like would be akin to asking an amoeba to arrange the typing keyboard into an easier alignment – the teenage brain is so complex it cannot cope.
Then there is the once simple matter of hygiene. It used to be that a quick dunk in the bath at the end of the day was fine. Now, however, the complexity involved is terrifying.
Under arm deodorant has to be used – it must not be a roll-on even though I protest about the potential damage sprays can do to the ozone layer. I tried buying natural sprays (with crystal – you fill the tube with water, the crystals dissolve and can be refilled 5 or 6 times) but these got left on the side and three smelly teenagers bemoaned the fact they had no deodorants apart from wired ones. So, grudgingly I bought some sprays. One sprayed it over his shirt so had to be taken through the method of application, one sprayed so much you could not breathe in the bathroom and so he had to be taught the basic safety rules of using sprays.
The third simply shrugged, looked at it and left it on the side, where it sits to this day – and he still smells!
Emotional support – once was simple. A quick ‘there, there’ and a cuddle was enough to soothe even the worst problem with a friend or the loss of a coin. Now, try and touch them and you get either sneered at (you are an emotional needy), told to go away please (as it is embarrassing), or get a very quick perfunctory kiss, usually on the cheek or which misses altogether and the air next to your head gets kissed.
Try and ask them about girlfriends or how they are feeling and you get the most extraordinary series of grunts and shoulder shrugging that it is impossible to decipher the reaction.
Then, later on, they tell you they are going out. You ask where and when and they say they told you ages ago when you asked them how they were feeling!
Female teenagers develop in a slightly different way but it is still complex compared to the simple life of the younger child. Suddenly, they develop strange habits like foot stamping, standing with hands on hips and running up stairs and slamming doors.
You are left bemused and with your mouth open like a fish. Once, it was simple – what you said went.
Now, what she says must be listened to or else you risk the stompy reaction. How complex is that?
However, the most complex level of development will be in you. Whatever they do and however you feel about their reaction it all seems vaguely familiar and you find yourself remembering stamping about, slamming doors, leaving meals your mother had carefully prepared (sometimes just to annoy), being vegetarian for a year and then not telling her you switched back. Things like that. So, whatever they do, you will love them and see the adult they are becoming. Not many adults slam doors, fly off the handle or make too much of a fuss about hygiene (well, not many anyhow) so, complex they may be but you love them any how – and that, dear reader, is the simplest fact of all.