Friday, June 30, 2017

The Impossible Dream...

Renee Palmer wants to know how to fight with your teenager...and win.


That is not a thing humanly possible because teen brains are under-developed which is why they think they know everything. Sadly, this is also true of some adults, but the adults can't claim the same affliction. These people are known as "annoying" and the only cure for them is to steadfastly ignore them (still talking about adults here).

I have a sister who is fourteen years younger than me, thus I was married with four children before she graduated high school. I told her many many times (much to her chagrin) that she wouldn't even be a human being, much less an adult, until she was at least twenty. She bristled every time it came up and she would come back with the fact that Texas considered her an adult when she turned 18. Then I would remind her that Texas didn't know her, because if he did he'd totally change his mind. Texas just wants more eligible voters, which is really all being eighteen means.

She's twenty six now, and has embraced my wisdom, and in weaker moments will even say so out loud.

To be fair there are teenagers who can be more level headed, but they are still teenagers and prone to basic stupidity on occasion. One can use subliminal messages when communicating with teen aged offspring. I haven't mastered that, but my mom was a pro. For example, let's say you are at a graduation party for a sibling when your mom says, "now, you're the only one who need a degree to be like your siblings." It is most effective when said with a great big, oblivious smile.

Reverse psychology can be an effective technique because the average teenager will always do the opposite of what you want. For example: Timmy is running with a large knife. Why? Because Timmy is sixteen and has limited understanding of cause and effect. You, as his parent, see the various and sundry end to his beginning and yell (with a sense of urgency), "Timmy don't run with that knife," which is a guaranteed trip to the E.R.

However, and this takes an immense amount of control on your part because it has to seem like you don't care, you purse your lips and declare, "if you cut your fool self, I'ma make you sew yourself up," he will most likely cease and desist. It's still a crap shoot.

Arguing with a teenager is exactly like arguing with a two year old. Yes, teenagers have a larger vocabulary and can slam a door like a pro, but they have about as much sense and grasp of logic as your run-of-the-mill toddler, so meaningful debate is just as pointless. You would get more satisfaction arguing with the wall because at least the wall doesn't talk back. The super beauty in wall-talking is that you don't have to hear phrases such as "on fleek," or "you're so basic," or my personal favorite,  being "lit." What? Why? Just stop it.

When did I get old?

So here's what you have to ask yourself. Do you want to be right or do you want to have peace, because you'll never be right, even when you are. Teenagers will hold to their view like a grenade without a pin. It may seem like your teen is trying to spite you, but he is really just trying to assert the independence and individuality you are trying to teach them. They just aren't mature enough to express those thoughts intelligently. Cause they're dumb, see?

So it's kind of our fault. If we'd stop teaching them to think for themselves the struggle would be over, but then they'd never move out, so there's that.

I'm sorry, Renee. You will never be able to argue with your teenager and win, but you can take comfort in the knowledge that one day he will also argue with a contrary teenager. You may even be so lucky as to be the parent who gets an apology when he recognizes he was a butthead (over the phone because its two in the morning).

It's the circle of life.

Bless Their Heart...

Carrie Lacey asked a hard hitting question about politics and trying to be friends with someone that has opposing views.

Deep breaths...

Well Carrie, politics is a touchy subject that when touched upon often leads to more painful touching. So where to start? Firstly, there is only one person in the entire world you (and any other person in the entire world) can control. That person is you. Even if one has children, one cannot control them. Oh, one can control the child's actions to some extent, but even that control is an illusion. Think of siblings who have had the very same upbringing yet grow into completely opposite adults and their parents wondering, "what the hell!? I know we taught him better than that!"

That being said, wouldn't the world be very boring if we all thought the same way about everything? It would be very sad, truly because in all things there are different perspectives. One person could not possibly conceive of all the ins, outs and intricacies of life.

I have a dear friend whose only area of commonality was that our children were in kindergarten together, but I wanted to be her friend. We don't share religious views, we have different lifestyles and we couldn't be more different, but I love her. Not her religious views, not her lifestyle, not her politics, her. And because she didn't see things exactly the way I did, my views expanded. It didn't change the way I believed, but I saw her value.

The problem with politics, I think, is two fold. The first being is it is difficult to understand where another person is coming from when we don't have the same life experiences. If one person grows up in a two parent household, it is difficult for the person who's parents are still together to really understand certain concerns.

For example: Mr. D's parents have been married for over forty years. To each other. My parents separated when I was 11 and divorced when I was 13. Even my mother's second marriage was a debacle. So when Mr. D and I hit fourteen years some time back, I was a mess the entire year. Even though we were no where near the dire straits of my parents (remember they were separated for two years before) it still was the place where my parents fell apart. This is the conversation I had with Mr. D as that anniversary rolled around.

Me: "Babe, I want you to know that even though we are not my parents, I may be a little sensitive for a bit. It has nothing to do with you, it's all in my head, but I thought you should know."

Him: "But we're nothing like your parents."

Me: "I'm pretty sure I just said that."

Him: "Well just don't think that way."

Me: "Well gosh, why didn't I think of that?"

Him: "What can I do to help?"

Me: "Just be who you are. It's something I have to work through."

Him: "I don't understand."

Me: "I gathered."

The point is from where we stand things seem pretty straight forward and logical, but the other person feels the same way about their point of view. We don't hand out questionnaires when we embark on friendships. We generally strike up with people with similar (read not exact) interests, but it's our differences that keep things interesting.

The second problem lies in how we deal with those differences. It is the lions share of the problem because we as a people have forgotten how to discuss our differences like adults. Instead we start calling names and questioning intelligence like we never left high school. I can promise you, no one who has been told they are dumber than a sack of hammers has EVER stopped and said, "you know what? You're right, I am dumber than a sack of hammers. I see things in a whole new light. Thank you, thank you, for saving me from my incredible incompetence and clearly misguided notions."

Never happens.

For example, I was once asked out by a boy who I worked with. We talked a bit and generally enjoyed these conversations. So imagine my disgust when he, having just asked me out, turned and walked away when he learned I was Mormon. I'm Mormon, not a Nazi war criminal, but his entire view changed. Everything he liked about me disappeared and all he could see was what he felt was an unacceptable (religious) belief. We didn't have to get married, but to go from friends to strangers in a matter of minutes was kinda rude. The best way to be friends with persons whose political views are different than yours is to remember the things you love about them.

If two opposing views can be respectfully discussed, by all means, proceed. If one of you decides to roll in the mud, bless their heart and change the subject because when you roll with pigs you get dirty too. For example:

Bless his (ignorant heart), he couldn't find his way out of a wet paper bag with a map and a compass.

Bless her (melodramatic) heart. It's so hard when she isn't the center of attention.

Bless his (downer) heart. He got peanut butter and jelly in his lunch again.

Bless her (willfully stupid) heart. She still thinks the world is flat.

One invokes blessing of hearts when one has encountered a confounding situation. It can be used when dealing with the ignorant, the drama queen (a gender-less behavior), the downer and yes, the willfully stupid.

The Bless your/his/her/their heart works like this: the Blesser presses her lips together as she remembers her commitment to stay out of the aforementioned mud and verbally or mentally blesses the blessee.

Here's where it gets tricky. If the person who's heart you are blessing is from the south, do not, I repeat DO NOT bless their heart out loud. And whatever you do, remember allowing yourself to be pulled into pointless debates only ruins your day. Some people can't understand, some people don't understand and some people won't understand.

If you (the reader) are the bringer of contention, shame on you. I thought I taught you better than that.

So when we are friends with people who have different political views (or any opposing views, really) than our own, does it mean we have to agree with those views? Not remotely, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. Novel concept, I know, but it's amazing when put into practice. And all arguments absolutely require a minimum of two people.

One more point: blanket statements are my pet peeve. They are completely inaccurate, but are constantly draped over anyone the blanketer disagrees with. STOP IT! Nobody ever "always" or "nevers".

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Husbands Girlfriend...s

I believe I've covered the subject of my husbands other significant other before. Her name is Zelda and they were together long before he and I were a couple so I've done my best to ignore her continued intrusions into my life. He's introduced the harlot to my son and they often will spend time with her together. Her most recent arrival was in Breath of the Wild.

My boys love it/her, so I bide my time until they remember they should eat and shower sometimes and they come up for air.

Now there is a new woman in our home. Her name is Alexa and she is the bane of my existence.

It started innocently enough. Mr. D commented a few days before Father's Day, his desire to get a device called a Dot. The Dot is a ridiculous device conceived by some ultra lazy individual who found google too taxing and took it to the next level. So instead of taking your phone from your pocket or even, heaven forbid, turning your head slightly to the left to find the time on the microwave, stovetop or wall clock, you can say, "Alexa, what is the time?" And she will tell you what time it is.

When my man brought her home (apparently he was serious) she was asked various and sundry questions. She tells jokes, she sings songs, she spoils movies. She does all the things unless I'm the one asking the question...and all of a sudden, she's dumb as dirt.

I heard her name bellowed through the house no less than a hundred times a day for the first few days. When she gave a wrong answer a second bellow would ring through the air. "Alexa stop!" They yelled more at her than they did the idiot twins and that's saying something.

The shine has gone off the penny however. She and her all encompassing knowledge have fallen silent and now she more just collects dust as she takes up space.

Like the idiot twins.