This is a picture of a closed door. This is very common in my house. I have teenagers.
I should write a blog titled “How to Deal with Cranky Teens.” It could be one of the shortest blogs in history. It could start out like this…
“I don’t even know.”
And it could end like this…
“Even if you figured out one way to deal, don’t ever expect it to work the same way again.”
And the middle… well, there might not even be a middle. Maybe it’s just those two sentences.
I could say “Don’t take it personally.” But who are we kidding? We all take it personally. That’s what crying in the bathroom with the fan on behind the closed door is for.
I could also say “Everything you learned about how to parent your children up to this point… is basically no longer useful. Every instinct you have to try and pull them out of a bad mood is WRONG.”
You might think you can joke them out of a bad mood. You would be very wrong. Do not attempt to make light of any situation that has them in a bad mood.
You might be tempted to move in for a hug, or even a sympathetic pat on the arm. This could prove hazardous to your health and your sense of self-worth. Teens (especially boys) do not want to be touched.
You might be tempted to rationalize things out with them. This is also ill-advised. Teenagers are not rational. But you can’t tell them that. (They probably won’t realize it for another 20 years anyway.)
All of those things will work- usually- on toddlers and young kids. But for your teens? Sadly, parents, our tools are not only outdated, they are all but useless.
That’s what we have: empty tool boxes and empty rooms. Because they don’t want to be around us.
It’s extremely hard to figure out how to bring them out of a bad mood when everything I do seems to annoy them…
I chew too loudly. I breathe too loudly. I swallow too loudly. I drink too loudly. I talk too quietly. I talk too passive-aggressively. I walk into the same room as them. I sit down too close to them. I start a conversation. I talk too much. I don’t know what I’m talking about.
If you have teens, you know. If your kids are still young-ish, soak up those hugs and cuddles and unsolicited “I love you’s” while you can.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I might go days or even weeks (a month?) without a hug from my teen(s). And then when and if it does happen, I’m immediately suspicious… What do they want from me?
Because they may be cranky little stinkers, but they know just how to play their parents. They know that a well-timed, well-placed “I love you Mom” will instantly warm us up.
Be aware. Be very aware.
Every once in a while they will surprise you though. They’ll come out of their room to watch a movie with you. Or they’ll come to the dinner table in a good mood. Or they’ll willingly participate in a conversation – with complete sentences.
But for God’s sake, DO NOT ASK WHY they’re in such a good mood. That is the surest way to deflate the positive energy.
Just pretend it’s completely normal. Everything’s FINE. We’re all FINE.
The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that I really don’t know anything.
Why are any of you still listening to me?
Don’t listen to me.
I have no idea what I’m talking about.
(P.S. Today was one of the good days. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know that either.)