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.

No comments: