Since Mother’s Day is drawing near and there are some mothers out there who need your love, I have compiled a list of tips for dealing with the strangest and complex of animals, the Teens. Read it. Frame it. Present it to her on a silver tray with her FULLY PREPARED BREAKFAST, FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATE and you will be her favourite person EVER.
You. Are. Welcome.
Teens don’t want to talk to you and often appear dazed and confused at the best of times, so having any kind of logical coherent conversation is a minefield of babbling randomness or total silence. It’s a crapshoot, really. AND, they would rather be connected to their phones than anywhere in your vicinity. They don’t even want to acknowledge your existence in the universe let alone in their sphere of the world, so having any kind of repartee demands skill on your part…and actually paying attention, which let’s face it, to some of us is quite difficult.
Here are some tips when talking to teens to keep in mind:
- They think you are lame and so far from knowing any of the real shit that goes down that it amazes them that you are able to operate a motor vehicle or any other major household appliance, so keep whatever you want to say short and to the point. They already think you’re dumb…don’t make it worse by trying to expand your street cred with them by going on long explanations of the mechanics of making paper airplanes. I’m begging you.
- Feed them first. They respond well to food of any kind and are more likely to talk to you whilst downing their fourth hot dog, than after said meal and The Walking Dead comes on.
- Trap them in the backseat of a motor vehicle with their friends by offering to drive them wherever they want to go. They often forget you’re there and will start spilling stuff with their bestie, unknowingly giving you fodder and further gossip for later wine dates with the other moms…not that I’ve done that of course.
- Don’t try to be their friends. Seriously, they have those already. They need parents. Do that.
- Try not to trivialize the drama that they have going on. My eldest is a total drama queen, while my middle child is more level headed and logical. We see the drama emanating from D1, but instead of making fun of her, we try to be listeners and silent supporters. She just needs to vent most times. She vents and moves on. AND THEN we roll our eyes and mock her endlessly…we’re allowed. We voted on it.
- Humour is awesome. I think we’ve been through this before. There’s ALWAYS a good time to use sarcasm and puns to prove a point. They realize they’re being silly…and maybe a bit DRAMATIC. AND then they’ll stop it to save the onslaught of mockery and endless teasing they’ll have to endure later. Because that will happen…oh, yes it will.
- Using the dog as an excuse for your overprotectiveness is quite okay. For example “I only texted you a million times last night because the dog was obviously worried you would forget to feed her the next morning and was up all night pacing and panting. So, really. YOU NEED TO BE HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THIS DAMNED DOG.” See? Like that.
- Guilt is in your repertoire for a reason. So use it. “You’ll be sorry for that when I’m not here to take care of you anymore because I’m locked up in some home for the insane due to the torment you and your brother and sister did to me for all of my adult life. And THAT is why I need wine.”
- Hone your poetry skills for those late night texts that go unnoticed by your little darling and are spread around the bar at 2:00am to her friends who now think you are either A) a poetry genius or B) as drunk as they are. Either way, you win. AND, don’t worry about coming up with something original. Using Dr. Seuss rhymes and other children’s authors is highly recommended. It makes them remember their long forgotten childhoods of you reading Hop on Pop for the millionth time when they were four. They get all sentimental and want to go home…or will text you begging for you to stop. Yay you! Epic win…
- Distraction is your friend. Learning the art of distraction is so much a skill I highly recommend. You can use it during an argument with Hubby: “I know, the Visa bill is high this month and Oh MY GOD ISN’T IT YOUR MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY NEXT WEEK?! We so have to get something for her. GET ON THE PHONE AND CALL HER RIGHT NOW! When was the last time you called her?! WE NEED TO KNOW IF THERE’S ANYTHING SHE NEEDS. YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DRIVE OUT THERE!” The visa bill is forgotten and it’s his fault his mother’s birthday is next week and he callously forgot…bastard. Anyways, you can use this ‘technique’ on the kids too: “You are so right. I had no idea that it was so difficult being you. By the way, did you know that Sephora is going in the mall? Have you SEEN their new website? Maybe you should apply for a job there! Let’s see if you can apply online…” So, so easy….