Thursday, May 20, 2010

Teenage Brains

What is it in teenage brains that enables them to completely ignore the fact that they are being ri-freaking-diculous?

Example #1 - Daughter, age 15, wears jeans and a tank top to school today. At the moment, it is 55 degrees and cloudy. The school is all inside, so she would be perfectly comfortable.

She calls me on my cell phone at 8:15am, and wants to know if I'm going to be "down there" today. "Down there" refers to down by her school, which is 3-4 miles from our house. I told her that I was planning on going to the store at some point, but I didn't know when. I assumed she was going to ask me to bring her money for lunch, which she used to do on a frequent basis. The last time, I told her that I was sick of coming down to the school to bring her money, and that if she needed money she needed to tell me the night before.

Did she want money? No. She wanted me to bring her a pair of shorts. Because when she leaves school to walk somewhere for lunch (about 11am), she will roast, because isn't it going to be like 70 degrees today?

Yes, it is going to reach maybe 72 degrees, at about 3pm. When you go to lunch at 11am? Possibly low 60s. I explain this to her. She gets mad at me because I won't drop everything and bring her a pair of shorts. This is a child who lived her entire life up until this year in a state where we lived a majority of the year in 100+ degree weather. And she's going to be hot in jeans if it's 65 degrees. What is wrong with this child's brain?

Example #2 - Same child asks me yesterday if she and her friend N can ride the lightrail downtown to the 16th Street Mall, which is a really cool stretch of outdoor mall with a free shuttle that runs up and down the middle of it. From the light rail station nearest us, it is a straight shot to 16th street. No stops, no changing trains. It's about a 30 minute ride on the light rail, and they were going to go after school today and not stay very late, maybe 7ish. They don't have school tomorrow because their high school is holding graduation at Red Rocks tomorrow, even though the rest of the kids still go until June 2nd.

I was considering it. It's not much different than me dropping them at a mall, except they'd be taking a non-stop light rail. I asked her if N texted her back about going. She said, "Yeah, but you might have to tell N's mom that you are going with us."

Ok, N was her very first friend here, from the softball team. We sat with N's parents at most games. I love N's parents. They are lovely people. Daughter spends the night at N's house often. You're telling me that N wants me, as a mother, to lie to her mother and tell her I'm going with you when I'm really not? Um, no. So it's not just my child's head in which these crazy thoughts go on.

Example #3 - Oldest daughter, 18, about to graduate from high school and come to CO to live with us and attend college. That's the plan, anyway. She doesn't want to leave AZ, and I know that, but my parents only signed on for one year of boarding her. I wouldn't even ask them to consider keeping while she starts college, and frankly, I don't think Daughter wants to continue living there either. They're nice people, but she's 18 and they're in their early 70s. 'Nuff said.

Two weeks before graduation, and I think Daughter is still trying to think of a way she can stay in AZ. I laid it out for her like this:

If you come to CO and live with us, you only have to do two things: Go to school full-time, and work part-time to pay for your gas, clothes, entertainment, etc.

If you stay in AZ, you would have to go to school full-time, work full-time, and take out a student loan to help with your living expenses. It's not that we won't help her financially, it's that at this point in time, we can't. You'd have to get an apartment with a roommate, pay half of the rent, food, utilities, cable/internet. Not to mention furnishing the place. Then you'd always have to worry about bills. If you lose your job (like they decide they don't need so many employees, it happens), you're screwed. If in the middle of the semester, you decide that working full-time and going to school full-time is just too much, you're screwed, because you're locked into a lease. On top of that, you're incurring unnecessary debt for that loan you need.

This seems like a no-brainer to me. This isn't so much ridiculous, but it's that she's thinking with her heart, and not her head. I get that. But at some point, I think she's going to have to realize that CO is going to have to be her home, at least for a little while. The ridiculous part is that she's convinced she's not going to make any friends. Between a job and school, she won't make any friends because she'll be living with us, and not in a dorm. I don't know why she thinks that, but she does.

Do you ever wish you could take what you know, and somehow inject it into their brains, to give them some perspective? I'll bet my mom wishes she could have done that to me. I guess we all just have to live and learn. Some of the lessons aren't so pleasant, but you do what you have to do.


Fannie said...

These are what we refer to as “non-negotiable” issues. Just keep repeating: Move to Colorado, go to school, work part-time, non-negotiable. Emphasize with her that it sucks. Try to stay calm when she pushes back (which she WILL) and repeat what is non-negotiable. And remember, this too shall pass. I promise.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Well, if she doesn't do it your me she will realize you were right when she starts getting the bills. Sometimes kids have to learn the hard way.

Dawn in Austin said...

While I agree with you, I also know that sometimes they have to do what they think they have to do. I watch mine do it every day. I've stopped making suggestions. When they tell me their newest plan, I often answer with a warm smile and say, "Good luck with that, I hope it works for you"

I do like the way you laid it all out for her, though.

Joann Mannix said...

They. Never. Listen.

My daughter has been using this stupid wristlet as a purse all year. she's rather flighty and I keep telling her, a wristlet is not a good choice for her. She keeps everything in this thing, including her car keys attached to it.

She lost it last night. And not only did she lose it. She was afraid to tell us, so she didn't until this morning. Sooo, along with her debit card, she had my debit card since she'd gone grocery shopping for me yesterday.


Why are we parents so stupid, yet we always turn out to be right?

The Empress said...

Oh, do we ever have to sit somewhere and TALK!

Yes, I live with a 15 yr old who is the smartest person ever born.

He just knows it all, and has the answers to it all.

I feel your pain. Do you feel mine?