Teens are tricky. Whatever happens “don’t take it personally”. This has to be the one quote I tell myself again and again. Whether it be the ‘grunt’ in reply, or the silent treatment to a question or the overreaction to such a minor, minor comment – in some ways it reminds me of the toddler years. An overly emotional person who having trouble getting the bigger picture – remember the tears over whether the sandwich was cut into triangles instead of squares? Or the colour of the plastic plate that lunch was served on? Fast forward to the teenage years, you can make a harmless comment on, well anything really and the scowling, the stomping, the sighing and the door slamming. Don’t take it personally!!!!! Their brain is going through enormous leaps, pruning of synapses and releasing large doses of hormones. Life is tricky.
There are many experts on teens, and one of the most useful bits of information that I have certainly learned and see play out is the turning of the tv on after school. Your teen will walk in the door, sit in front of the tv and grunt a reply to you or ignore you totally. Now before you lose your cool and demand an answer – it’s the height of rudeness ignoring a parents question however innocent like ‘How was your day?’ Or ‘Don’t you have any homework?’ Avoid the last one at all costs. Apparently teens in front of the tv are relaxing and winding down after an overly emotional day at school. (it’s like meditation) Escaping the inferno of emotions, social dramas and who is not talking to who type problems. Imagine being in a workplace with about 500 of more people that you don’t necessarily get along with, that you have no choice about being within close proximity with and have to listen to – deal with in class all day! Hmmm..... that’s a different way to think about it. As adults we have choice who we hang out with, work around, teens don’t they are mixed in with 500-1000 people who they have no choice over.
So pressing for an answer at this time, only adds more pressure. The grunt in reply is code for “I don’t feel like talking right now” the silence for your second question in case you didn’t get the code first time, is “Please don’t talk to me”, didn’t get that one either and you actually asked a third question or demand they speak .... this is when your teen will explode, yell, and stomp off to their room. This is when we as adults lament, how we went wrong, how can they be so moody, and we tell our partner how rude “their child” is. Don’t take it personally, understand the code and leave your teen be for about 30 mins if you see them watching the tv. After their relaxing then start a conversation but not with “Don’t you have any homework to do....”.