“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”
― Erma Bombeck
― Erma Bombeck
I have been the parent of a teenager for less than 24 hours now. I figured now is the PERFECT time to put in my two cents about parenting a teenager while I still know everything.
Top 10 Things You Must Do As the Parent of a Teen Boy
- You must always tuck them in at night. Pull the headphones away from their ears and shield
- Tell them the truth about girls. Let them know EARLY that girls are freakin' NUTS. Tell them about how we hold grudges and get emotionally hysterical. Tell them how we like to rescue losers and a-holes and leave the nice guys in the dust. Give them the dirt NOW so they know to avoid them as long as possible.
- Tell them to suck it up. Sometimes, life hurts. Sometimes terrible things happen. And you've got to keep going. You've got to pretend it doesn't hurt sometimes so you can get through your day. When all is said and done you can have your breakdown in private with your therapist when you're 35. But you're a tiny man now...suck it up.
- Keep them active. Given their druthers, they would spend 24 hours a day in front of a screen. ANY screen. I have no idea why they love screens so much but their brains are connected to them wirelessly. I think the boy mind CALLS out to technology. I blame Bill Gates. GET THEM AWAY from the screen. Introduce them to nature. Tell them about things like the SKY and WEATHER.
- Force them to converse. The teenage boy vernacular is littered with grunts, inaudible hisses and voice-deepened shouts (usually in anger or surprise and almost always directed at a sibling). Speak slowly while attempting to maintain eye contact. This will be difficult because their heads are usually aimed at the floor. Ask for reciprocation. Example: "Son, how was your day?" "Grunt, grunt. Hisss." "Let's try again. Please speak in clear sentences." "Fine, Mom." Hey, ANY progress is good.
- Control shower time. Some teenage boys prefer not to shower. Some shower so excessively their skin is in danger of actually peeling off. Install a shower timer. 15 minutes should be plenty of time to get clean, right? And for those who don't WANT to shower, consider putting their beds in the tub. In the morning, you have dual-purpose shower head: alarm clock and cleanliness agent.
- Hide food. Any and all junk food will be eaten prior to any fruits or vegetables. All junk food will be consumed in MASSIVE quantities. If you have a stash of Oreos, keep them where the teen boy will NEVER find them: in the laundry basket or perhaps under the lawn mower.
- Ask them to repeat instructions. Verbatim. Offer instructions to them ONLY when all screens are off (see number 4) and limit instructions to only three line items (one is preferred because you're going to have to repeat 2 and 3 multiple times). Have them repeat the instructions back to you three times. They will STILL forget steps 2 and 3 but with this method, they usually manage to complete the first item. (Note: This method can also be used with husbands.)
- Hoard chargers. They will come to you when their chargers are missing. Do NOT give them your chargers. They are guaranteed to disappear and then you will be without your own screen time. If they need something charged, take the item with you and secretly charge it near another place the teenage boy will never look: the dishwasher.
- Love them unconditionally. The teenage boy will drive you bananas with his eating, his bodily noises, his smells and his blank stares. Love him anyway. The teenage boy will use his body to destroy your home, your pets and you car. Love him anyway. The teenage boy will be unreasonably angry sometimes and he might slam a bedroom door. Love him anyway. He will test your limits, your sanity and your wallet. Love him anyway.
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