This Ain't a Democracy

Despite my teenagers repeatedly telling both me and my husband that we're old and not cool, other teenagers who are not our offspring constantly hang out at our house and sometimes admit that we're a teensy bit funny. This difference in opinion got me thinking... hm. 

Our then-pre-teen, "What does this face say, Mom?"

I recall the many ways my own parents, mostly my father, would intentionally try to humiliate me, as a parenting technique. It's like there was some invisible humiliation-meter and the more points he racked up on the meter the more likely I would be to obey. Not sure about the logic there, but it worked. On me. In the 80s.

In the interest of full disclosure and wanting to help other parents living with teens, I feel the need to share my parents' top 5:

5) Laying all of his rifles and ammo on the dining table, presumably to clean them, minutes before my date arrives.

4) Dumping a clean load of laundry on the living room sofa, with my bras and panties right on top, while my friends and I are watching a movie. Especially if one of those friends was a guy.

3) Sanctioning a spymaster (my little sister) to interrupt me and my friends if i ever dared closed my bedroom door.

2) Buying a DIY car horn that literally whistles Dixie in such a high decibel that dogs whimper and die as we drive by.

1) While walking through a grocery store, slowly bending at the knees until he is duck-walking past the canned goods. After I yank him to his feet, we get to the next aisle and he starts all over again.

Now, I'm not necessarily espousing these parenting methods. Though I know firsthand how effective these methods, however cruel and unusual, can be. Still, I think it's a good idea to look at what's working for other parents, particularly now in our digital age. Because raising up Millennials and Gen Zs is a whole new business than dealing with Gen Xers. So here's a top 5 gathered from all four corners of Ye Olde Internet...

5) Spoofing your teen's profile photo every time he/she updates it, especially if you can steal the same shirt or hat for greater authenticity.

4) Cover your fridge with "naked-baby pictures" right before your teen's friends arrive.

3) As you leave a public place with your teen(s), yell in a loud clear voice, "Ok, kids, back to the orphanage."

2) Get super mushy and kissy with your spouse when your teen's friend(s) come to dinner.

1) For the parents of daughters who wear shorts and skirts a little too short for your liking, cut off a pair of your own jeans and, well, do this...

I'm sure this fella, and most of us, believe that when we finish parenting our teenagers, we could become hostage negotiators or drill sergeants. It certainly takes the same skill set to wrangle hormone-damaged brains into submission. 

But hands down, Huffington Post has some of the best parenting one-liners you can find, all compiled in this great article of top 2015 Tweets. Here are a few that got me twittering and giggling:

"80% of parenting is yelling through a closed bathroom door."

"I've discovered the key to always having a hot cup of coffee! Never have children."

"Every time we take our dog to obedience school I can't help but think about everything that we did wrong when we were training our kids."

"If parenthood was one of those choose your own adventure books, every ending would likely result in a mess, laundry or losing lots of money."

"The hardest part about being a parent is pretending like you know what you're doing."

"Most of my time as a mother has been spent in a closet, eating something I didn't want to share."

"There's no such thing as parenting advice. There are only parenting warnings."

If I can just speak write from experience for a moment, we've found success in certain techniques, for instance, the "chore wheel" which my husband once heard from Mitt Romney during a presidential campaign. Our teens refer to it as the "wheel of death," but it actually gets chores done around the house in an equitable fashion.

Most of the time. And, thanks, Mitt Romney.

Me and the other two teen girls in my house.
We've also had a measure of success using social media now that all of our children are on Instagram and Facebook. Therapists and actual psychologists (which i'm not) wouldn't recommend online shaming, but re-posting old photos or quoting your teen word-for-word isn't illegal, is it?

Interjecting a few key phrases into your everyday speech is also important when handling teen relationships. These work best when one of their friends is around to hear it. Here are a few I try to use at least once a week:

"I'm not afraid to go back to prison."

"Oh, sweetie, don't forget your rash creme!"

"Dear, your father and I have been meaning to tell you. You're adoption just fell through and we're sending you back." (only use this on an older teen who is biologically yours)

"Kids, I just decided I'm not having kids, so... bye."

"This is not a democracy. It's a benevolent dictatorship."

"This is a great story, right [your child's name]? You know, the one you told me while you were clipping my toe nails the other night."

Well, that about wraps it up for now. Just remember, we embarrass them because we love them (and because we don't want them to get arrested). Got a funny parenting-a-teen story to share? Please comment below!


Cuz you liked 'em so much...