UCB Parents Advice about Teens:
5 Things You Can Do to Annoy your Teenager

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by Ginger "Mommmmm!Stopit!" Ogle

Stressed out over the hormonal mood swings? Tired of piles of stinky socks on the living room floor? Annoyed with the continual ring of the phone that is never for you? Irritated by bored, monosyllabic responses to your attempts at conversation? Just generally fed up with the giant slouching creature your cute little toddler has evolved into?

Now you can get back at your teenager in small subtle ways that will take them a while to figure out. Here are five things to try:

  1. Hum "It's a Small World After All" in the morning before she goes to school. It will stick in her head all day. This is good while driving in the car, too.

  2. Learn a few teen slang words and use them in your everyday conversation with your teen. Warning: slang varies from school to school so you will have to pay attention to your teen's own jargon for this to work, otherwise you will look like a scrub (an idiot).
    Examples (circa 1996, Willard Jr. High):
    "Wuss Up'?"
    "Oh - you made a D on your history quiz? Tha's toe up."
    "He didn't call you back? Tha's cold."
    "New shirt? Tha's tight."

  3. Talk baby talk to them in front of their friends. For instance, just as he's leaving to walk to school with his friends, rush out the door with a baggie of cookies and yell "Wait sugar-pie! You forgot your grammy bears! Mommy doesn't want her baby to forget his grammy bears!"

  4. Rekindle your interest in listening to music. Try playing music that your teen may not have experienced before. Country and bluegrass are good for teen fans of rap and hip hop, especially if you know the words and sing along. Crank up the volume and really enjoy yourself. Say "Wait! Just one more song!" when they complain.

  5. Corollary to #4: Ask them to play some of their music for you. Turn it up loud, open all curtains and shades that provide the general public with a view, and then start dancing! All those favorite dances from the 60s and 70s will come back to you and it's great exercise. Invite your teen to dance with you! This works really well if other teens just happen to be walking by while you're showing off your steps. [Note: this is even more effective if you, like me, never really learned how to dance. The point *is* to look like a dork.]
Try these at home, folks, they really work. Remember to say afterwards in your sweetest parental voice, "I'm sorry, honey, does that bother you?" That really gets 'em.
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The opinions and statements expressed on this page are those of parents who belong to the UC Berkeley Parents Network and should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California, Berkeley.