Nicholas Falconer

Teens, dirty words and that sinking feeling

THERE are two words I would love to have banned from a teenager's vocabulary - and I'm not talking about the ones that rate a ***** in print or a "beep" on the radio or television.

These words are quite innocent on their own or when spoken by just about anyone over the age of 19 years and 364 days. But when muttered (or shouted) by a teenager the rest of the conversation takes on a whole new level of anger and frustration.

My teenage son is sure to use one of these words when asked to do just about anything from make his bed to taking out the rubbish. Can you guess what it is?

This is a word-for-word account of a conversation held so often in our house that I may as well record it and put it on repeat or maybe I should create a clever You Tube clip (he might actually take notice of that).

"It's your turn to do the dishes tonight," I'll say after we've eaten the dinner that I cooked.

"Later", says the grunty teenager as he settles in for a Mythbusters marathon.

At 8.30 I'll ask again. "Later, when this is finished," he'll say.

By 9.30 I'm getting worked up and finally at 10pm I'll be ranting and raving at him to "get up and do the bloody dishes right now."

At which point he huffs and puffs and says "What's your problem, I said I was going to do them later."

So then I start slamming the dishes around and we are having yet another argument about his extreme laziness and my constant nagging.

As I complain he answers with the other word that's bound to get me fired up. Can you guess what this one is? If you have anything to do with teenagers I'm pretty sure you've got this on your first guess.

His one word response of "Whatever" is delivered with such a combination of boredom, anger and arrogance it makes my blood boil. 

So it is only when I'm riled up and ready to keep on fighting rather than feeling all relaxed and ready for bed that he finally gets up and heads into the kitchen.

While he moans about my nagging I chalk it up as yet another bad day on the parenting battlefield and try to figure how to ensure an early and peaceful victory next time around.

Of course the parenting experts have their ideas on how to make children compliant and willing helpers around the home: negotiation, a rewards system or even withholding privileges are usually at the top of their lists. I have tried them all with varying degrees of success.

And I'm still left wondering why I have to do battle just to get a few dishes washed up sooner rather than later?

I'd love to know what words your teenagers use that drive you crazy? And what tactics do you use to get the dishes done?


Life with teenagers can be like an out-of-control roller-coaster ride and when there's no one else to turn to for support or a second opinion, I go undercover to blog about the everyday dramas of raising my otherwise perfect teens.
 



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