Mind Candy

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Things you say to your teens which are a waste of breath

Posted by mandyf on January 27, 2012

If you’ve ever tried talking to your teen, sometimes you know there are things you say which seem to have zero effect on them. I’ve often felt like Wylie Coyote going over the side of the cliff after a few sit downs in which the things I thought were not only important, but pretty simple to follow fell on deaf ears. Whether or not that was by my teen’s choice to tune these things out or if there is some sort of mechanism in the teen mind that hears key words and automatically shuts their brain processing center down until they have kids of their own is a mystery to not just me but the entire scientific community and parents everywhere. Still, we keep trying over and over which makes investing in companies that produce aspirin and headache remedies a good long term buy and hold, just ask a stockbroker, they’ll back that up.

Somewhere in all of this, your teen has a center that tunes you out

Telling your teen that they don’t know how good they have it compared to kids in “our day” or even their grandparents day, is a conversation you can just forget about having. As soon as they hear anything related to “When I was your age…” they suddenly get a glassy eyed distant look as if they suddenly felt the effects of being hit squarely between the eyes with a 2×4. They don’t care about how it was in anyone’s day other than their own. They don’t want to hear about how you listened to and respected what your parents said. They don’t want to hear how you went to school, worked 85 hours a week, participated in school activities, and raised 7 siblings on your own, even if it’s true! That is not helping them get an iWhatever right here and now.

When they ask for money they are equipped with a shut off switch so that any answer besides ” here you go” and “is that enough?” automatically goes into their auditory spam folder. In about two hours it goes to their recycle bin and they automatically regenerate a new request as if the first never went out. You can tell them you just don’t have any cash on you, the economy is tough, ask why they need $50 to go to Baskin Robbins, or any number of things, but only the two above responses will ever be processed so just save your breath in everything else.

The sex talk really does go down like this

Don’t even get started on sex. Remember how creeped out you were at anything which even gave you the slightest hint that your parents knew or possibly ever had sex? Your teen feels the same way about you. They are living in the same fantasy world that allows them to believe they are a virgin birth or the one baby in the world that was delivered by a the stork before hunters mistakenly shot it down over Alberta Canada thinking it was just a really big duck. Attempting to push the issue will result in their head violently shaking and then exploding just like the guy in that scene in the movie Scanners.

Teens don’t hear anything regarding questions about academics until they come to you for that first tuition check. Even then all they hear are the above mentioned acceptable replies as mentioned in the above section regarding money. Have you ever asked your teen what they learned at school that day, or if they have any homework, or anything loosely connected to education? If you have then you already know they are incapable of responding with answers beyond, “I have no homework” or my “homework is done.” Well actually there is also the ever popular and classic response of “nothing” which can be applied to every single academically based question you can conceive.

You can't handle the truth! (And don't want ot know it really!)

Just as bad is even entertaining the thought of asking what they did while they were out with their friends. You’re not going to get a response and if you do get a response it’s likely nothing more than the party line of “nothing” or “just hanging out.” Maybe they were really just hanging out but from the age of twelve years and seven months until about twenty one this about all the are equipped with to answer. Don’t bother pushing the issue or it will turn into that courtroom exchange with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. Consider for a second, this is one of those cases where it is possible you can’t handle the truth! Even if you can handle it, you may wish you never heard the truth and had to find out.

While the areas mentioned are the highlights, you can pretty much assume that any topic they view as “invading their privacy” like why there are dishes under their bed that have developed spores that grew legs and started asking for an allowance, to simple things like “do you want to talk about anything” are just wasted breath. It’s all falling on deaf ears so don’t bother. Just make a list about everything you want to know and save it until they have their first child. Then they will finally be equipped to answer everything. Just don’t bother telling them that they will have to deal with the same things with their kids you dealt with in regards to them, their teen hearing blocker has just turned into phase two parental selective hearing syndrome.


5 Responses to “Things you say to your teens which are a waste of breath”

  1. haha nice written 🙂

  2. Mott said

    = Almost anything said to TENS is a waste of time — unless it involves hings that THEY have an interest in… Party, Clothing, Friends and Money…

  3. Ah, those were the days….dealing with teens. Lots of fun moments, but also lots of, well… dealing with teens!

  4. Love it. Very well written and I enjoy your style! No kids here, but the memories sure come flooding in of being in the reverse roll.

    I wish you luck!

  5. Well, you said it! And I laughed. That so fits me as a teen, and of course, 3 of our 6 are teens and I’m just about beating my head against a wall each and every time I talk to them.

    Thanks for the laugh and perspective!

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