I remember watching my black lab, Chopper, in the act of vigorously licking himself or eating horse poop or engaging in other pretty disgusting doggy-acts and this occurred to me: he’s just doing what dogs do. Let’s apply that to a teenager who, by nature, will also engage in behavior that is maddening, ridiculous and – much like Chopper – occasionally disgusting. Just like a dog, a teenager has a certain nature and s(he) will just do what teenagers do.
Here are the Top Five Teenage Behaviors that are universal and sometimes awful, much like Chopper’s self-bathing:
1. They lie.
Every one of them. It’s what they do. It’s not because they are immoral humans but lying comes easy and naturally to a teen. They will lie about where they’ve been, what they’ve done (or, in the case of homework, haven’t done), who their friends are, what the plan is, whether they’ve been drinking, what time they got home, etc. They do this because they’re trying to get away from you, emotionally and literally.
2. They have little or no motivation to do anything an adult would see as valuable.
They don’t care about being on time, achieving things, being with family, eating well, or not belching in public just to note a few socially acceptable behaviors. These things are not in their wheelhouse – again, not because teenagers are evil. It has to do with the Hormone Soup stirring in them along with a Brain in Transition and a hurricane of emotions seemingly out of their control. So when you want them to sit up straight and do your homework so someday you can go to college and have a job you might as well be speaking Greek to a brick wall.
Here are things teenagers DO care about:
- Their social status
- Clothes with absurdly large logos on them
- Sleep, especially after the sun has already come up
- Whatever gender they are attracted to
- Food and money for food
You get the picture. It’s a limited inventory, for sure. So when you’re flapping your gums about showing respect for Grandma by being on time for Sunday dinner they hear: wha wha wha wha wha wha wha with a little blah blah. They’re not listening. They don’t care about the things you care about. Period.
3. They act restless and risky
These states outwardly manifest as staying up all night, sleeping in all day, making stupid choices, and sometimes generally just being in a state of constant irritability. As a parent you (1) want it to stop, much like when they were two years old and screaming on the floor of the Safeway; (2) want to make it better for them. Maybe you feel bad that they don’t sleep or are bouncing off the walls. Either way, chances are that whatever you do will be the wrong thing.
4. They are RELENTLESS
What IS this? How can they literally never stop when they want something? Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom…. Can I go Can I go Can I go Can I go Can I go? I’m breaking out in a sweat again as I write this. Do you hear your kid’s voice in your head right now? And you say NO to something and they either (1) keep asking; (2) ask another parent; or (3) do it anyway. Makes you want to drink gin straight out of the dog bowl. They will push you to the brink and then straight off the cliff. Push push push push push.
5. They know EVERYTHING
Isn’t it wonderful to have someone so knowledgeable about everything in your house? How lucky you are! From brain surgery to making money, driving a car, or running the country they know everything! I especially relished the commentary on my driving, with big sighs and eye-rolling, from a 12 year-old.
No need to catalogue the subjects they have mastered (absolutely everything) or the way in which they make you feel like you were lucky to graduate high school. Think of how hilarious this is: a kid who doesn’t know the difference between WWI and Vietnam, for instance, and who likely hasn’t done math homework in months is making you feel like an idiot. Oh, the irony of these young beings. Laugh, or go crazy.
These are just the top five ways they will make you nuts. The list is long and discouraging unless you remember a few things:
- They’re just trying to figure everything out.
- Remember, they’re just kids. Give them a break.
- Give yourself a break (and remember you’re the grown-up).
There are physical, chemical reasons why they are so profoundly annoying.
Here’s the crazy thing. You can’t WAIT for that kid to leave and you know what? You’ll miss them when they do. Stay tuned for effective strategies for surviving your teenagers, or download your FREE E-book here.