At some point in your parenting misadventures, you are going to wake up to find your adoring children are gone.
In their place will be moody, sullen, soul-sucking aliens hell-bent on crushing your self worth and enslaving your spirit in service of their demonic cause (which mostly involves picking them up at ungodly hours from an endless itinerary of teen parties).
Remember when your kids hung off your every word? When they followed you around the house just to see what you’d do next?
And they tirelessly sought your validation and approval: “Look mum, look at me mum. Mum! You’re not looking. Muuuum!” Etc. Well, those days are over. Dead and gone.
Now, in one of life’s more comical ironies, we Generation X parents find ourselves chasing our teens around seeking their approval: “So nice to see you at home, darling. I’ve finished your laundry. It’s in your room, all ironed and folded. Darling? Can I make your favourite dinner? Oh, you’re going again. Lovely to see you, my precious petal”. Etc.
But by far, parenting teens is marked by the brutal mood swings of the alien beasts that now occupy your home (while declining to clean or pay rent).
You can never really be sure how each encounter with your teens will go. Will you run into your teen in a rare moment of humanity or happiness?
Or will it be angst or irritability or unexplained resentment? Tension hangs in the house like drapes smoothing the light. You tip toe on eggshells, your nerves frayed and raw.
Gen X vs The Aliens
Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see them.
There’s two. A big one – a man-boy, all feet and attitude. And a girl, adorned and aloof. Both absorbed in their phones.
They zombie toward you.
Instinctively, you run through a mental checklist. Have you done their washing? Fed them? Listened to their venting about inane teen ‘problems’? Paid the internet provider and triple-checked the wifi is working?
You prepare for an onslaught of bitter complaints about shit you didn’t do for them that they really should have done themselves but somehow it became your job and now it’s not been done and you’ve ruined their life and they hate you.
A flash of panic hits you and your face flushes with adrenaline.
You search for an exit. Damn it, no doors.
You brace yourself.
With just seconds until contact, the tension peaks and you feel your bladder weaken.
Then they’re on you, and there’s nowhere to run.
What do you do?
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Teens: A Survival Guide
Ok, stop. Take a deep breath. We’re here to help.
We’ve been in this situation many times and we’ve figured out how to survive it.
We Gen Xers have to stick together. So, in the spirit of sharing, we give you our best 3 Sure-Fire Survival Tips for Teen Parenting. Learn them well. Your life may depend on it.
Survival Tactic One: Small Target
You can feel it, right?
The teen’s emotional rage boiling under the surface like lava under cooled molten rock. Always searching for an outlet to erupt.
All it takes is one little slip. One tiny trigger. And the teencano will erupt in a molotov explosion of condescension and loathing.
You can’t hide in your bedroom forever. Sooner or later you have to face the beast.
But you don’t have to feed all that emotion. You can avoid a teenplosion if you don’t provide it fuel or triggers. We’ve found in times of high seismic activity, you can reduce the risk of triggering an eruption if you don’t say anything at all. Nothing.
It is a glorious feeling to see the perplexed look on your little Krakatoa’s face when they’re itching to vent their angst but are denied an excuse as you smile pleasantly and silently at them.
Survival Tactic Two: Duck & Cover
Sometimes, the alien-robot-beasts will already have been triggered when you encounter them. This will render the small target approach useless.
In these cases, we strongly recommend hiding.
Duck and cover wherever you can.
The best places to hide are behind waiters, your teen’s friends or anyone licensed to carry a weapon. Other convenient hiding spots include: the pantry; walk-in wardrobes, crawl spaces behind desks, under your car or in the ceiling, particularly in air conditioning vents.
Survival Tactic Three: Gorilla-Attack Defence
Should your teenangster corner you, with no where to duck and cover, then you have only one option remaining if your’e to avoid a self-esteem crushing, life anti-affirming, soul mauling: go limp.
We learned this approach on the National Geographic Channel. It’s the recommended defence against a Silverback Gorilla attack. You can’t beat a gorilla or outrun them, so you show deference and they wont attack. Be non-threatening by showing yourself to be defeated. Be a broken remnant of a human that is just not worth the effort of batting around.
Teens also respond well to this approach.
They simply do not know how to react to an adult who has dropped to the floor in the foetal position, whimpering, eyes scrunched tight in terror. Your teens will be perplexed, but don’t mistake this for sympathy or they will erupt and maul you.
You’ll know if the gorilla-attack defence is working if your teen’s head tilts to one side and their face goes blank like they’re in a math class or ‘listening’ to your advice.
When they are reduced to this ‘buffering’ state, slowly and without making eye contact, back away. If you can reach your phone, order Uber Eats. Then wait for help to arrive.
Okay, Generation X, there you have it.
Let us know if these survival tips work for you.
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