I am an idiot, according to my son

Posted on June 6th, 2011

I don’t know how it happens, but when your children morph into teenagers, they suddenly know everything. It’s like they go to sleep one night as perfectly ordinary preteens and they wake up three inches taller with a bad attitude and all the knowledge of the universe stuck inside their heads.

And that is how you know you have a teenager on your hands.

Suddenly you are the most stupid person on the planet. Seriously. You could be Albert Einstein and you’d still be an idiot. You could be a member of Mensa and still not be nearly as smart as your teenager. And teenagers are not shy about letting you know that. In fact, they don’t even have to say the words, “you’re stupid” to your face.

They have a look.

It’s a look that is a cross between “holy cow do I need to tell you that you are stupid” and “really, I’m sitting next to a moron.” It comes complete with looks of shocked disbelief, raised eyebrows and an incredibly annoying smirk.

I’m quite familiar with the look, in case you were wondering.

The most amazing part of this transformation is that teenagers who know everything have no idea what they are thinking. I know, right? How the heck does that work? Well, let’s take for example, your ordinary teen who has forgotten something of minor importance in their life like say, showing up to History class. For an entire semester.*

When the parent finally confronts said teen, the parent will say to the teen, “did you think you’d get away with never going to class?” That will be followed by the inevitable, “what on earth were you thinking?” To which the teenager-who knows everything there is to know-will answer, “I don’t know.”

Pardon me, but just two minutes prior that teenager knew everything. Do you need to know about Quantum Physics? That teen has the answers. The dramatic irony in “Romeo and Juliet?” That teen has the answers, along with act, scene and line numbers. But if you say something like, “honey, why did you light the balcony on fire,” they will not know what they were thinking.**

And this, my friends, is why the parents of teens have dented foreheads. We spend a lot of time banging our heads on our desks, hoping that the painful headache that will arrive once the banging is over will enable us to forget that our teenagers do not under any circumstances know what they are thinking, despite their superhuman ability to know everything.

In fact, they do not even know IF they are thinking. Really. Ask any teen who has done something involving say, the police, a high school principal, the chemistry lab and several pounds of bananas, what he or she was thinking before the chem lab and bananas came into the picture and each one of them will say, “I don’t know.” ***

Seriously. I may be just a stupid parent, but my head is getting very dented from trying to understand that logic.

I mean, we have an entire generation who are so smart that they believe they do not need parents around. In fact, they would be especially happy if parents would accommodate them by leaving the country until they graduated from high school. Sadly, very few teenagers ever have this dream come true.  So the ones that are left must deal with the idiots they live with who provide them with clothing, food and a balcony to light on fire.****

But then when they do something particularly, um, idiotic, they cannot for the life of them figure out what they are thinking or indeed, if any thought process whatsoever took place.*****

Yeah, I think you understand my frustration. Also? Why I need a new desk.

* I am required by my signed, notarized deal with Junior to inform you that this is an example and that Junior has never missed a History class.

** I am required by the same signed, notarized deal with Junior to inform you that he has not lit our balcony on fire. Yet.

*** Yeah. Same deal requires me to inform you that Junior has not taken Chemistry yet, but reserves the right to figure out what he could do with a boatload of bananas in that classroom.

**** Again, he hasn’t lit the balcony on fire. But he does think his parents are idiots.

***** This is Junior. All the way.

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10 Responses to “I am an idiot, according to my son”

  1. Laura Says:

    Thanks for the laugh. I have a 18 y/o girl, just finished her first year of college.

    I don’t know what I am thinking not letting her tell me how to function in life. She knows everything (at least in her mind).

    I’ve asked her if I am so stupid, how did I raise such a exceptionaly brilliant child, her response “I Don’t Know”… ugh

    BTW, love your blog…

  2. Laurie Says:

    LOL, Laura. I have to use that question on Junior.

    I honestly think he believes that I would not be able to get through the day without his instruction :)

  3. Liz Says:

    You forgot the eyeroll! As I have told you my daughter is leaving to go off and start her adult life in college, the one thing I will not miss is the eyeroll. I am telling you the girl has a switch it is activated the minute my voice is heard. Mostly when I am saying no or can I have more information then we are just hanging out. Another teen thing I do not understand. Ask any teenager what they have planned and 9 times out of 10 it will ….hanging out.

  4. Catherine Taylor Says:

    I hear you loud and clear. Either teenager and/or parent should come equipped with a helmut. People often say they want to have a baby. Do you notice no one ever says they really want to have a teenager?

  5. Jessica Ashley (Sassafrass) Says:

    I knew my six year old was gifted. I just did not realize until this post he is really a teenager.

  6. Penny Says:

    I have just recently found you and just ahve to say… OMG you crack me UP!

    As a survivor of 3 teens and only 1 to go…I totally sympathize!

  7. John Valenty Says:

    Oh the elusive teenager…

  8. Laurie Says:

    LOL. @Liz I always forget the eyeroll. I think I’m so used to it that I don’t even see it anymore. Kinda like my wrinkles. I know they are there, but…wait. No. I know they are there.

    @Catherine I love that nobody ever says they want a teenager. So true. So true. And pretty sure that I’m using that as my mantra now, because “I’m calm, I’m calm” isn’t working.

    @Jessica, LOL. Just wait. My son thought I was stupid when he was 6. Then he thought I was smart. And we’ve come full circle. Only now, I’m REALLY stupid.

    @Penny, you rock. I know my limits and that’s one.

    @John, I only wish he was elusive. Apparently, he’s still upstairs. Although I only know that because the fridge was left open again.

  9. April Hitt Says:

    My daughter is 14yr. As much as I hate the I don’t know answer, I’ll take it over her insistence that everyone else is right and I’m wrong. I can tell her something and she’ll look at me like I’ve just grown two heads. I’ll then get her response of no, you’re wrong. (insert anyone’s name but mine) says that (information completely opposite of what I said). I can even have an encyclopedia open to the information as proof. At this time she will then go into to complete denial and state that the book is wrong, I’m wrong, and that so-and-so said such-and-such. I’ve got tennis elbow from throwing my hands up in frustration. Hope I can get through her teen years with some sanity intact.

  10. Laurie Says:

    @April, I know, right? Everyone on the planet is smarter than me. Frankly, it’s a miracle I can function at all. Good luck with the sanity thing. So far it’s a downhill slide for me :)

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