THERE are times when your teenagers drive you to breaking point. You shout. You scream. You threaten. It’s not a pretty sight.

I should know, because I’ve had a particularly sorry episode played back to me on film after my 11-yearold, who was hiding behind the kitchen door at the time, captured it all on camera.

“I’m going to put this on YouTube,” he announced gleefully, before running away with the evidence that proved, beyond all doubt, that I am possibly one of the worst mothers in the world.

The problem is teenagers know exactly which buttons to press to send you into orbit. I had been trying to hurry the 17-year-old along as we had to leave the house by 10am to set off on a camping trip.

He had got back late the night before and was not so much on a goslow as at a complete standstill.

While I had been up from 7am loading the car with food, drink and camping paraphernalia, he continued to snooze in bed.

I woke him up and told him to get a move on. Then we sat downstairs and waited. And waited. The more I tried to rush him, the more he dillydallied.

We were already running half an hour late when he eventually got into the bath and started singing.

We had arranged to meet friends who were holding a space for us at the campsite and I could feel my blood pressure steadily rising as the minutes ticked by. By about the tenth time of shouting at him to get a move on, my voice had turned into a high-pitched screech.

Calm down, calm down, said the teenager, laughing. We were more than three-quarters of an hour late when he announced that he had forgotten to tell his friend, who I was supposed to be picking up, to be ready early.

He had just come off his mobile phone. “We can’t go now. He’s not up yet,” he told me.

And that was when I snapped, then exploded and, finally, totally lost it. If there had been a shout-ometer to hand, my performance would have shot off the scale. Stupidly, and to my shame, I even let a mild expletive slip from my lips: “That’s it. I’ve bloody well had enough,” I screamed.

At that moment, the seven-yearold appeared from behind the door.

He has never heard me swear before: “Mummy, you said the b-word,” he exclaimed, clearly shocked.

The teenager, battle won, gave me a superior, disapproving look, before pressing a few, final buttons: “I am not going anywhere with you until you have calmed down. I am so disappointed in you,” he announced as he walked out of the room, slowly shaking his head.

And that was when the 11-year-old appeared, waving his camera. “This will be such a big hit on the internet,”

he laughed. And the wide-eyed seven-year-old, still in shock, added: “You said the b-word.”

Fifteen minutes later, after apologies all round, we were on our way, although the journey was strained.

The 11-year-old, in the front passenger seat, entertained the others with the video clip, which he played over and over again.

At last we met up with the others.

“Mummy said the b-word,”

announced the seven-year-old.

“Would you like a glass of wine?”

said one of my friends as we sat down to lunch. “You look like you need one.”

The teenagers disappeared. The 11-year-old was about to go off with his friends when he came back into the tent. “Mum, would you just look after my camera for me please?” he said.

The temptation was too great. I didn’t even have to think about it. I pressed the delete button. And, in that moment, YouTube lost one of the greatest internet hits that never was.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to erase it from our memories. As Albert still occasionally insists on reminding me: “Mummy, you said the b-word…”

SIX-YEAR-OLD Alfie wasn’t pleased when his mum told him that she was going to have another baby. He didn’t like the idea of dirty nappies in the house and was adamant he wasn’t going to change them. Then, deadly serious, he added: “And does dad know about this?”

ONE of the teachers at our local primary school, Mr Ellis, is leaving to take up a headship down South. The children put together a book of their ideas on what makes a good headteacher.

It could be a publishing sensation.

“Just have half an hour of lessons every day,” says one scribe.

“Don’t drink beer in the staffroom,”

advises another.