Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teen Girl Survival Guide

I've just read yet another blog post about insanely-acting teen/preteen girls. Let me shorten the learning curve for all you people whose daughters have just recently been possessed.

Surviving Teens (and Preteens) of the Female Persuasion

1. Do not, I repeat, do not try to reason with these creatures. You could reason better with a pet iguana. They do not want to see your way of looking at things. Because that would make them as much of a loser as you are.

2. Insist on the outward forms of respect. That is, unless you want to live for a couple of years with a screaming, wall-kicking, door-slamming she-monster....

3. Remember! You are dealing with someone who has regressed to the mental state of a 2-year-old. Treat her as one. Short, simple commands work best.

3. Never does the pain/pleasure principle work so well as it does for teenagers. Making a teen write "I will not hiss at my mother while she is speaking" 200 times has more of a salutatory effect than lecturing her. Make sure to take away all computer/phone/IPod privileges until she is done.

4. Carry a hand-mirror at all times to avoid looking in the face of the teen-girl death glare. Confronting the death glare directly has been known to turn formerly rational parents into screaming, out-of-control maniacs.

5. Acknowledge everything she says and agree with it. (Yes, dear, we are ruining your life. That's right, we are losers. Now go shovel off the floor in that hellhole you call your room.) It drives her absolutely crazy.

6. When they complain about simple household chores, give them more. When they complain about that, add even more work. Eventually, it gets through their pea-size brains that there is a pattern here, and they shut up. (Not permanently, alas, but that would be too much to ask for)

7. Do not acknowledge her displeasure when she is standing directly above you, glowering like a summer storm cloud, flashes of lightning emanating from her eyes. Asking what is wrong is just looking for trouble. Instead, smile and say, "My, don't you look lovely today!"

8. Develop an early-warning system with your spouse. Do not let him come home from a hard day of work to be greeted by, "Either she goes or I go!" These sort of histrionics are very hard on the menfolk.

9. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Removing an oft-slammed bedroom door is a reasonable tactic for an otherwise unsolvable situation. So is refusing a driver's license until the teen is capable of thinking in a rational fashion once more.

10. Remember, this is a test of endurance; a marathon, if you will, not a sprint. Conserve your energy. Hydrate well (preferably with something that has some alcohol content). Stay in shape in order to prevent your daughter's doing damage to personal property or a younger sibling. Above all, laugh a lot, especially in front of her. She hates that.


  1. Wow! Those suggestions are so very helpful. I would add one more. When my 15-y/o daughter complains that she hates me or that I'm the worst mother ever (etc., etc.) I reply "Good, I'm doing my job then" which absolutely infuriates her to the point of temporary surrender. This also works well on male teenagers.

  2. When I was in junior high, not quite a teenager yet, my parents brought me along with them to a parenting seminar to learn how to deal with my older brother and sister. The guy's cast wisdom was to use the words "regardless," and "nevertheless."

    "I cleaned my room yesterday!"

    "Nevertheless, you must clean it again today."

    "I hate you!"

    "I understand, and I am saddened. Nevertheless, you must now clean your room."

    And it really worked! I never hit the rebellious stage myself, so they never had to use it on me.

  3. That's an excellent introduction to your blog. I can remember how mad all that would have made me as a teenager.

  4. How scared am I, that my seven year old BOY is making me consider this list already? In fact, my head is still killing me from all the yelling getting ready for school this morning...

  5. madmad - Maybe you should do what my mother ended up doing - stay in bed until both of us left for the bus. I understand that now, really, I do...

    sass e-mum - Glad to meet you! Put up your feet and stay a while...

    marie - "regardless," "nevertheless"... got it. The key here, of course, is to say nothing more. Teens just love to argue and wear you down. Refuse to play.

    toni - they really do hate when you agree with them, don't they?

  6. Do you think the sugar ants have anything to do with the Twix consumed at the computer? :-)

  7. Ah- you are a wise one. I have successfully used many of those techniques on my 15 year old daughter lovingly renamed Banshee Girl. And unfortunately, as Banshee Girl is a very worthy opponent, I have failed to use those strategies on several occasions also. May I add: Live to fight another day!

  8. Our darling daughter is not quite 10, and can sometimes be quite pleasant to be around, however, she has that death glare thing perfected already.
    She also has this uncontrollable need to have the last word in every conversation.
    She is physically incapable of not talking.
    Last week I challenged her "I bet you can't just let me say something and not talk back."
    Her "I don't talk back"
    ME "You just did. Starting now, stop talking."
    Her "Okay"
    Me "See you just did it"
    Her "Did what?"
    Me "You talked. now let's try this again. Stop talking now."
    Her "Why?"
    Me "Because I don't think you can do it."
    Her "Yes I can"
    Me "See, you just did it"
    Her "No I didn't" (Insert death glare)
    Me "Okay, then stop talking now"
    Her "Okay."
    Me "Now."
    Her "I'm not talking"
    Me "You just did."
    Her "No, I didn't"
    Me "See, I didn't think you could stop talking."
    Her "I knew it, you hate me!!"
    Then she storms off to her room.

    Good luck with your ant infestation.

    1. You're just making your kids worse than they already are. Show them love and respect, give them space and independence, and it'll do wonders.

  9. Gosh that's funny, but so true! I hate the eye rolling and "fine" remarks. I DO insist on the respect. I swear it makes her feel happier when I demand nice behavior. I tell her that she's not allowed to do anything until she starts acting better. It changes everything in just a couple of minutes.

  10. Great list! Number Nine (door clause) is one of my personal tried-and-true favorites; and I can't wait for the next opportunity to test Number Seven (most likely later tonight).

    You know, a synthesis of your two topics suggests itself to me: when things really get out of hand, crush a Twix bar and judiciously position the pieces in her backpack, underwear drawer, makeup bag, cd collection...

  11. I am going to print out this list and hang it in every room of my house. You are so wise!


  12. I might have to cross-stitch that list onto a pillow or make it into a plaque.

    Wise, funny words.

  13. I so, so appreciate the survival guide. Somehow I was sure the rapture would occur before I became the parent of a teen, but here we are and I'm at a loss as to how to handle this she-monster that I birthed someteen years.

  14. Ants and teenaged daughter? Does god hate you?

  15. HA! My daughter is only 7 and she is already a handful. I try not to think about what it is going ot be like a few years from now. I love the death stare one. I remember doing that to my parents.


    Can I send No 1 over for 'finishing school' chez Sub?

    We've already removed the door, although in retrospect this may have been a mistake....as now we have a fab view of the mucky mess that is her bedroom floor!

  17. Oh mah holy heck. Add a year and a penis, and you have Shortman. Who can't understand why I'm upset that his light gray carpeting in his bedroom now looks like something was decapitated.

    Why, you ask? Because he thought it was a brilliant idea to take his spaghetti up to his room to eat.

    I'd assign "There is no good reason to eat spaghetti in my bedroom" 1,287,398 times, but I don't think he can spell spaghetti.

    (And I don't even want to know what that sound was I just heard from upstairs. Hold me! I'm scared.)

  18. Right on with the advice - funny and so true. I especially like #5 as it drives our kids crazy when we do that. Have you noticed that the menfolk don't quite know what to do with a teen girl in her glory, or is that just my hubby?

  19. You scare the crap out of me.

    Seriously. My eldest daughter is 3 1/2 and I'm already terrified.

    Your tips are bookmarked.

  20. I'm not going to tell you about Derfwad's sugar ant infestion of last summer. Get those suckers under control fast. They came close to breaking the spirit of every member of my household.

  21. #6 works really well with boys, too. I also like to do what I call the "switcheroo". If they complain about emptying the dishwasher, I say fine I'll do it . . . but you have to cook dinner. Here is the recipe, the raw chicken, and the rest of the ingredients.

    My boys, they hate the ol' switcheroo!

    God bless.

  22. Please, please, PLEASE tell me you have a similar list for surviving the toddler years?

  23. Any chance of getting instructions for 11 year old BOYS with early onset teenageritis?


  24. After being shot the death glare last night, I lamented out loud that I did not have a mirror handy to difuse it. She was not amused. Hmmm. Imagine. Too bad, I was more than amused for both of us. I loved your post.

  25. And what is the correct response to "You hate me!!"

    My dear son uses that one. The answer, "No, I love you very much, and because of that I can't let you grow up to be a brat. I hate your behavior sometimes, but I will always love you." just sounds too involved. But I think he may just need to hear it. Grant us you wisdom, oh traumatized one... ;)

  26. OMG You have been to my house! I have such a creature living in my home...slamming doors are in my future. She hasnt reached "womanhood" yet but its coming. My husband often looks like an iraq war veteran when she starts being emotional. I can almost hear him yell duck and cover!

  27. I agree 100% with #2. Respect is a most, even if don't feel like giving it....and that is a two way street sometimes.

  28. Thank you! I needed this. My son is headed for those teens-- in a year or so--but is exhibited some ugly habits.

    My daughter is SOOO sweet and perfect right now it's hard to imagine. But I remember my own fine self at 15 and shudder.

  29. Great post. No teen girls here, though... any advice on tiny 3 year old dictators?

    S'ok not doing meme - It is hard to out weird anthropology textbooks ;)...

  30. My 7 1/2 year old girl is already showing some signs of teenagerishness. I'll be keeping these pointers handy. Thanks!

  31. LOL! Those are great! Thanks for the tips. I'll file them away and pull them out when my oldest daughter gets to that age (probably next year!)

  32. Oh my goodness I just found your blog by accident...ACK! there was no "depends needed" warning!!..that I saw. Oh my goodness I have not laughed so hard.

    What about Sons, just had one turn 14!!

  33. OH the teenage death glare.

    I love your suggestion.

  34. I'm with Angela - This sucker is getting printed and memorized for when my daughter comes home from Military school. I know she'll learn lots there, BUT SHE'LL STILL BE A TEEN!! I humbly bow to your sage wisdom.

  35. OK, you got me to laugh. I'll try harder with my mini-teen.

    And the door thing? We are totally on top of the door thing. Eric has gotten really good at removing her door from its hinges in record time. Even 6 year olds hate it!

  36. I'm thinking the poor daughter! it sounds like her mother isn't worried about a change in her daughter's heart-just in her behavior! what good is it to raise a perfect heathen?

    I wonder what would happen if you said something nice and encouraging about her. She might appreciate and respond differently because she KNOW you love her and aren't just trying to get on her nerves.

  37. anonymous - I would have said the exact same thing as you 3 years ago. But then the space aliens came and took my sweet perfect girl away and left me with a rather bewildering replacement. We have of course tried your approach first. It didn't work. She knows we love her - she just doesn't want us to.

  38. I am SO bookmarking this!

    My YaYa is only 8 - but I can read the writing on the wall. I am also thinking that as she is going through puberty - I will be going through menopause! Great Timing huh??

    Found you through Minnesota Matron - love your blog!


  39. New here! Sent by a friend, Karen, as we recently had a LONG discussion on what to do with our she-monsters, well what we could do legally that is, obviously what I would like to do to mine would not be allowed! :)

    But I want to thank you, the more I know that other moms think this way the better I feel....it's nice not to be alone! Thank you oh wise one!

    BTW, Anonymous, I am just curious what are the age and gender of your child/ren?

  40. Thank you for this blog. I got sent here by a varied and tortuous route of "friend-of-a-friend-of-a" which I will not burden you by relating at this time. Needless to say, you brightened my day.


  41. You must live in my house!! When I see such glares and drama coming out of my children... I like to announce,"And the Academy Award Goes to Child's name for best drama queen!

    Another one that annoys my children.... good I am glad to hear I am making you miserable my goal in life is to be the meanest, uncoolest mom!!

    They hate this one too and I save this one to get even with them!! When in stores if I over hear someone talkng about getting married and I have a Precious Teen with me I tell that person don't get married but if you do you should agree not to have children however if you get dogs instead..... they will love you know matter what, they always obey without sassing AND you can lock them in cages and no one will arrest you!!

  42. "But then the space aliens came and took my sweet perfect girl away and left me with a rather bewildering replacement."

    This is exactly how I feel about my 13 year-old daughter. I want my sweet little girl back, but she has been body-snatched and replaced with...I don't even know what. This isn't even my first time through this, but I don't remember my 16 year-old daughter being this bad at 13. When my 6 year-old reaches 13, I'm just going to have the alcohol IV attached.

  43. This is great! We are in the teen years at our house....

  44. I'm perusing your blog and this caught my eye. It. Is. Spot. On. I love all, but #3 (of which there are two) was especially dear to my heart.

  45. This is horrible. We're trying to help our daughters get through life and raise them to act maturely, not make them mad because we think it's funny! If you don't care about your daughter loving you or wanting anything to do with you after she moves out then go right ahead with this. You people make me sick.

  46. @Chelsea - You have apparently not experienced the phenomenon that I (and approximately 35 other commenters) have witnessed. Some mothers are spared - consider yourself fortunate.

    Also, take the trouble to read my response to Anonymous up there - she expresses your concerns, too.

  47. Chelsea,

    Oh, sweetheart! You are either the mother of young children, a teenager yourself and/or childless, or you are, as SuburbanCorrespondent said, one of the few blessed with a perfect child.

    In any case, I remember being where you are now. When my children were small some older moms in my office were commiserating about their miscreant offspring. One said, "If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have had kids." I was OUTRAGED! How dare she??? In my young opinion that old bat didn't deserve to be labeled "mother". I KNEW that NO MATTER what my children did I'd never be so hard hearted as to wish I hadn't birthed them.

    Fast forward 25 years and more heartache and drama than most people experience in a lifetime and I'm there. As of about 10 years ago I totally understand what that old mom was getting at. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids unconditionally but there are some days...

    I also understand that in order to survive it you either build walls or you grow a sense of humor. SuburbanCorrespondent has that sense of humor thing down pat and has elevated it to an art form. And I'm so grateful because she's even helped this old lady chill a bit!

    Chelsea, I pray that you never have to reach the point where you regret having had kids even if that regret is only momentary. However, if, like the rest of us, some day the real world smacks you in the face I hope you had the good sense to bookmark SC's blog and especially this post cuz you're gonna need it, honey. Hugs and best wishes for parenting bliss.

    SC - Sorry for the hijack but I couldn't let this one go. Love ya, lady!

  48. @DamamaT - Love you back - you answered better than I could. I agree with every word. And 6 years ago? I would have written Chelsea's comment myself.