THE ALL-PURPOSE, ONE-SHOT, DEFINITIVE PARENT-TEENAGER CONVERSATION
By Kaz Cooke
First published on ninemsn.com.au website in 2016.
Teenage girl: Mum, Kaitlen was so mean to Aliyah today. I need money for the thing, I can’t believe he said that, and you need to drive me to the other thing now.
Mum: I know nothing of any of these unconnected matters. You are talking so fast; are you on any of the drugs?
Teen: I’m not on the drugs. Look at these Facebook pages of some other teenage girls who are not me.
Mum: All young women should be able to safely explore their sexuality. Is that a jumbo bottle of vodka down her cleavage, the one wearing the bra and high heels? Leggings are not pants.
Teen: Leggings can be pants. The photos are from a party where they all smoked weed, the parents provided lots of alcohol and everyone talked about BJs. I wasn’t there.
Mum: There are diseases. I am the best mother in the world.
Teen: You’re the strictest mother ever. I’ve told my friends I’m not allowed to go camping with them and some bearded guys in cars, who will bring home-made fireworks.
Mum: You look somehow relieved.
Teen: No, I’m just wearing mascara. You don’t realise but society puts incredible pressure on girls and I’m the wrong shape with the wrong face.
Mum: I wonder if there is a women’s movement that could underpin one’s life and work for 30 years, perhaps I shall Google it.
Teen: I have exams. Stop telling me to clean my room, can I not have even a moment’s privacy? Everything is terrible.
Mum: Don’t exaggerate. The mess in your room can be seen from outer space and could attract giant rats.
Teen: (Rolls eyes).
Mother: Don’t roll your eyes at me, it’s juvenile.
Teen: I didn’t.
Mum: Don’t take that tone with me.
Teen: There was no tone.
Mum: (Rolls eyes).
Teen: Look Mum, I get you’re dealing with ageing body image, changing hormones and brain chemistry. Aside from Dad’s tuna surprises you’ve made me more than 6000 dinners, you gave up opportunities in your career to be my mum. I know I’m volatile and self-obsessed. I want to tell you everything and ask for help and then tell you nothing and laugh at your ignorance. Give me a cuddle, don’t touch me, tell me what to do, leave me alone.
Mum: Listen darling, I get you’re being unfairly demented by school stress, mean girls, and ongoing changes in hormones, your body and your brain. The world expects you to label yourself, and decide now what to do with the rest of your life. The world’s your oyster but don’t eat it because we have polluted the oceans and everything else. Marks don’t really matter but they kind of do. I am also volatile and self-obsessed. You are smart and lovely and you need to develop independence and make your own decisions, but just do everything I tell you. Grow up, get out, don’t leave, you’re my baby.
Teen: Oh my GOD, Mum. You are the worst.
Mum: You are.