If any of you readers have teenagers in your home, or preparing for darkest adolescence I am going to give you a little gift. The adults in the family usually set the rules of the household. This gives the teenagers something to ignore and make fun of to their friends.
The rules that teenagers follow are usually unwritten. After I have raised a total of five teenagers in my home, I think I can hold myself out there as an expert. So, what I am going to do for you gentle readers, is to give you the unwritten rules that teenagers follow. I will warn you, that the TeenRules are designed to insure the lives of parents are rich in stress and frustration. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed if dealing with these TeenRules will result in facial tics, whining, thumb sucking; all the while you are waiting for the warm of the day they leave for college.
This is the first time that anyone has even attempted to write down the TeenRules but perhaps if you enter the battle prepared, there is a small chance that you will emerge with small grain of sanity.
First of all, lower your expectations. Acts of kindness, civility, courtesy and consideration as foreign teenagers as table manners in a pile of crocodiles at feeding time.
For instance, there is a unwritten rule that the first nine numbers on the radio, television or stereo. Are never used. I do not even know whether teenagers know they exist. They have not discovered that never-never land on the volume control between “off” and “full blast.”
One of the first rules that you have to understand is that siblings must always treat one another with total disdain. After all, each of them is the product of the hated adults and was placed on this earth only to annoy the other.
I have tried to stick only to the rules that affect the household since that is where you have the most interaction with the dreaded teenagers.
The more time spent preparing a meal and the more expensive and fresh the ingredients are, the more likely it is that a teen will label it “gross.” Once anything has been labeled gross by one teenager, no other teenager will eat it.
The sole purpose of laundry is to accumulate until it reaches a critical mass. At this point it is simply incorporated into the décor of the teenager’s room.
The tank in the family car must ALWAYS be returned on empty and the radio tuned in to heavy metal station and turned up full blast. This has the same effect as being inside a small booth with a fog horn and is meant to cause coronary arrest for the next unsuspecting adult who turns the key.
Cups, glasses, dishes, etc., can only be carried one way, to the teenager room or in front of the TV. It is someone’s else’s job to return them to sink of cupboard.
The size of a helping will be determined by the nature of the food. In other words, two or three molecules of broccoli will be considered excessive, while several pound of chocolate washed down with a Coke will be considered a “small snack.”
Pills, vitamins and medications (especially if prescribed by a physician and costing lots of money) are placed by the breakfast juice glass solely so the teen has something to ignore in the absence of a parent. The teen considers this a gross annoyance.
Any glass of water, or soda, or anything else in a glass that need to be cold, always require 11 ice cubes. This will allow the ice cube tray to be returned to the freezer with a single ice cube left in the tray. NEVER, under any circumstances will a non-adult fill an ice cube tray. (I think the reference to ice cube trays gives away how old I am.)
If a box of cereal does not have enough to make a full bowl, it must always be returned to the cupboard for additional aging.
The later it is at night or the earlier it is in the morning, the harder the doors need to slammed.
Never, ever, replace a roll of toilet paper or paper towels. If ignored long enough a new roll will magically appear.
When confronted with a Tupperware container full of leftovers, always eat just enough off the top to insure that what is left will not feed the entire family at a meal.
When doing dishes or clearing the table, any morsel of food larger than a dime should go into the refrigerator on the serving platter. To do otherwise would risk having to wash the platter.
The locker at school is used exclusively for storage of old fruit, moldy sandwiches and overflow from their bedroom.
The only acceptable spot for a bottle of nail polish (or remover, whichever the case may be), will be on the furniture where a spill can do the most damage.
Caps, boots, and mittens are only to be purchased at great expense, never to be worn. To do so would risk being labeled a geek or a nerd or not cool.
When entering the home, remember that the closets and coat hooks were just placed there by adults as an annoyance. Always leave books on the table or counter, throw the jackets and coats on the furniture and all miscellaneous items go on the stairs. That way an adult is likely to put it away and the teen wins.
Remember that all these rules are designed to speed up the aging process in adults.