This is the new section of The Non-Mom, where instead of providing unsolicited advice, I provide solicited (completely inexperienced) parenting advice. Once again, you’re welcome! Submit your own question at www.facebook.com/jentalkstoomuch
Dear Non mom
I’ve been told that kids have no fully formed frontal lobes until they are in their late teens. That we, as parents act as their frontal lobes until theirs is developed.
That being said…what about good old common sense?
Why does every single teenage kid open a dishwasher and say “is this clean or dirty?” Does this require a frontal lobe?
When is this jig up? My frontal lobe can only be sliced in to so many pieces.
~Mother of 5 teenagers. Clare, Toronto
Oh Clare. You my friend may be my hero. Five teenagers? How do you manage to get out of bed each day?
On a serious side, the truth about your kids situation isn’t that their frontal lobes have not yet developed, it’s that instead of their frontal lobe, a parasite known as “teenager” has invaded your kids brain and has declared residency right in the front. This parasite, doesn’t die off until they are in their mid-twenties unfortunately. You see when someone turns twenty, they actually turn Twenteen, followed by Twenteen One and Twenteen two.
Because of said parasite, these kids seem to be oblivious to things that are just obvious. Like when the dishwasher is empty, yet their glass goes in the sink. Or how they have plenty of space in their closet, yet their shirt always ends up on the floor. Unfortunately for me, and Mr. Opposite, this parasite has not yet died in me and I’m still suffering from “glass-in-sink” syndrome. What’s that all about? I think I just need to get super super super rich so I can have a daily cleaning lady. Then all my problems will be solved.
Anyway, back to you, here are some survival tips for making it through the next ten years with your five children:
- When they ask “is this clean or dirty?” Respond with “you tell me.” Maybe this will get them to think, thus hurting the parasite in their brain.
- To keep your sanity, keep your kids doors closed most of the time. Looking at all that filth will drive you mad.
- That said, they’ve got to clean it or you could get rats, so maybe hang something they really want over their heads like an unlimited data plan until they clean their room. Then threaten to cancel it once a week.
- Remember that hormones have taken over your children. You may want to think about investing in a good cage. Hormones are the worst. Teenagers are like a pregnant menopausal woman but worse because they have no ability to be rational yet.
- Do gold stars work on teenagers? Or is that just for overachieving 10 year-olds? Shoot, this one may not work.
- Their peers are going to be their biggest influence during these times. Please digitally stalk all these friends to ensure that they are not total wastes of time. Because let’s face it, some kids are terrible and end up being even worse adults.
- Rehearse “BECAUSE I SAID SO” in the mirror until you get to the point where you sound like you truly mean it. This argument is so frustrating to teens, but I think it actually works, because you’re the boss. I bet, even now in my 30’s my mom could use that term and I’d probably do what she wanted. Probably.
- Lastly, here‘s a Maclean’s article that may actually help you.
The thing is Clare, unfortunately, these teen years last into their twenties (which is f’d because they should stop at 19!!) and you’re going to have to do your best to survive these trying times. And while teenagers are the worst, they can also be the absolute best. You’ll start to see the good influence you’ve had on them, and watch them become strong humans. They have to be strong because they are fighting off a parasite. I do believe that you’ll be able to make it through this trying time. As long as you have a good bottle of Chardonnay around so you can have a glass or three when times get rough, you can make it through anything.
NOTE: Sorry about my hiatus, my cat Tuna was sick and I can’t even function when he’s not well. Can’t even.