(Taken from ‘Me, Myself, and I’ by Allen, R.)
Teenagers aren’t just a different generation, they are a different race. Their language, customs, and morals are a mystery to most people over the age of twenty.
They live among us, however, and some attempt at communication is necessary. No one says it’s easy but some people do have the knack of not just exchanging greetings with their teenagers but actually holding simple conversations with them.
Are you one of the lucky few, or do you find your teens incomprehensible?
Can you talk to teenagers? It’s time to find out.
For this test you will need a pen and paper to write your answers down.
by Elia Strange
'Can you talk to teenagers'
1. You son or daughter returns from school, and you ask them how their day was. They respond with several grunts. How do you react?
A. Grunt back, you can pick up the luggage, how hard can it be?
B. Try and talk using words from your youth. How much can youth culture have changed in the past thirty years? Your kids will surely appreciate the effort you’re making and start the conversation.
C. You will not stand for this. While they live in your house and eat your food they’re going to live by your rules! Tell them their behaviour is unacceptable and that they’re going to show more respect to you or pack their bags.
2. You agree a curfew of midnight for them to return home from a night out, they eventually stroll in at 3 am, how do you deal with this?
A. Relax, you stayed out late when you were younger. If they don’t learn to be independent and cope for themselves now, when will they?
B. Tell them that you’ve been worried sick about them and that they should have at least called you to let you know they were OK.
C. Lock the door at 12.01 and make them suffer for their lack of respect for the ground rules you set. It’s tough love that’s needed here, spending the night in the yard may be uncomfortable but you can be damn sure they won’t be late home again.
3. How do you handle the inevitable and unavoidable sex talk with your son or daughter?
A. Recommend sex. It’s natural, it’s all part of life. Contraception? You never bothered with it and never did you any harm right?
B. Go through it all frankly and honestly, it’s better they learn the facts now rather than nine months later when it’s too late for them.
C. Recommend a book at the store and change the subject to the golf tournament you’ll be participating in next Sunday.
4. The phone bill comes in. it’s far more than you anticipated and the big spender still has her ear glued to the receiver in the other room. How do you react?
A. Just be glad that at least she’s popular and seems to be happy, if that’s not the best thing that could happen to a teenager then what is?
B. Tell her that you simply can’t and won’t be footing the bill for her lengthy phone use. You sort out a plan for her to gradually repay you for the mone she spent.
C. Ban her from using the phone altogether for a couple of months – that should level out the cost.
5. It is Halloween. The usual gang of teenagers come to your door and your provide them with candy. They throw eggs at your house and car. How do you respond?
A. It’s all part of the tradition of Halloween, admire their accuracy from the comfort of your armchair.
B. Open the door and start a heated discussion, you aren’t over reacting, you gave them candy so what more do they want from you?
C. Make a grab for the nearest sharp object and come running out of the house and chase them – nobody makes a fool out of you.
6. Your son or daughter is playing loud music. The neighbours have already complained but your cherished offspring have barricaded themselves in their room and locked the door. How do you negotiate?
A. Competition is the answer. You get out some rock music and turn up the volume. Once they’ve been beaten at their own game they will surrender.
B. Threaten them with the removal of something they can’t do without (TV or computer) if they don’t come out. They know as well as you do that they can’t stay in there forever.
C. Bang on the door repeatedly, in a triumph of brawn over the brain. If all fails find the appropriate tools to remove the door.
7. You embark upon a family holiday, but you have entirely different ideas about what makes a good time. How do you solve this conflict of interests?
A. Be liberal, they’re young but seem old for their age, let the kids go off and do their own thing so that everybody’s happy.
B. Compromise by letting them do their own thing, but take precautions: give them your cell phone number and arrange a place where you will meet them later.
C. Tell them they are too young to go out alone and take them on your excursions to historic sights and museums.
8. Your daughter asks your opinion on some clothes she is trying on. You hate them. What do you say?
A. Pretend to like them, and then your daughter is bound to respect you.
B. Tell her the truth. Say that you are not really that happy, but as long as they aren’t distasteful than you will not stop her wearing what she wants.
C. Tell her that her clothes are completely unacceptable and choose suitable alternatives.
9. Your kids haven’t received the grades at school that they are capable of. What action will you take?
A. Grades don’t count for anything – you never worried about them, and now you are the manager of the pizzeria you work in! Just leave them to it.
B. Talk to them about their grades, but instead of yelling, try to find out what has caused the lapse in work and look for a solution.
C. Yell at your kids then send them to their rooms until they have learned the entire dictionary from cover to cover.
10. You buy your kids tickets to a rock concert that you are sure they would love to go to. However, when told you will be going as well they turn the offer down. What is your response?
A. You are not upset by their reaction, you aren’t young anymore. What sort of self respecting teen would want to go anywhere with you anyway? You really have only yourself to blame.
B. You are hurt. You made a big effort to do something they would appreciate and they have pushed you away. You find a corner to sulk in.
C. Yeah, like you’d go and buy tickets for one of these new terrible bands anyway. It’s filth that’s what it is. Use the money to buy a flower pressing kit.
'Can you talk to teenagers?'
You are far too liberal for your own good. I mean letting the kids go off on their own with no way of contacting them! What were you thinking!? Anything could happen to them and you probably wouldn’t notice for three or four days! You need to get over the idea that you’re still one of them. You have responsibilities now and they need some guidance and someone to look up to, not just another friend.
You are clearly lying! Sorry Mr or Mrs Compromise but if you are going to say that you have never had the tiniest urge to run down the street, after Halloween pranksters, with a sharp instrument, then you aren’t fooling anyone. However, your traits of common sense show that you are on the right track. You know what they are thinking but at the same time you’re making an effort to assert some authority.
I am almost certain that your child is living in fear of you. Go and find some plutonium, get the flux capacitor working again and come back to the future. It is not 1950 anymore – children obviously need rules and guidance but not at the cost of your relationship with them. Try and remember what it was like for you at that age.
'Can you talk to teenagers?' References:
Allen, R. (2004). Me, Myself, and I: Discover yourself with 50 revealing personality quizzes. London: Collins & Brown.
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