A Mother’s Survival Guide For Life With A Teen Boy

A Mother’s Survival Guide For Life With A Teen Boy

Portrait of angry teenage boy at home with parents in background
Westend61/Getty

Any doubts that human beings evolved from apes can easily be dispelled through examining the behavior of a young teenage boy. The distance between animal primate to human teenage primate is quite small. (Don’t believe me? You can borrow mine for the weekend. No, really!)

If you are fortunate enough to live with one of these human teenage primates, you know they can disappear inside their room/cave for days at a time. Which means you have to occasionally check on them to make sure they are still breathing. When the time comes for you to enter their cave, the first thing you notice is the smell. It is a maleficent odor that defies description; suffice it to say, it must have evolved as a defensive weapon to keep human adult primates at bay. As you focus on breathing through your mouth, you spot your primate in a nocturnal state beneath a pile of clothes and dirt in his sleeping corner.

You first attempt to awaken him by lightly tapping his hairy back; after several minutes of no response, you resort to shaking his shoulders and screaming his name. You are then forced to pull out a blowhorn and pour a bucket of water on his head (which is likely the first time he has come into contact with water in weeks.) He finally awakens, screeching and flailing his arms and legs about in protest.

Eventually, he crawls away from his sleeping quarters, scratching at his chest and armpits while batting at the flies buzzing above his head. As he ambles about, his movements stir up other pungent odors in the area, and a gag reflex arises in your throat (which he takes as a sign of victory and flashes his biggest, toothiest grin.) Upon exiting his cave, he jumps down the stairs, extending one arm up towards the chandelier, attempting, as always, to swing from it. When he enters the kitchen, knowing he needs constant nourishment, you immediately throw him a banana, which he inhales in two large bites.

After consuming eight additional bananas, five bowls of cereal, four apples, three cheese sticks and two bags of potato chips, he leaves the kitchen, announcing with pride that he has to poop. He has a feeling this could be a good one, and starts reminiscing with his teenage primate siblings about past favorite bowel movements. There was the one that was so enormous it refused to flush down the toilet—even after multiple attempts—so he fashioned a tool out of several sticks and cut it in half. There was the one that came out in the shape of two conjoined strawberries, which amazed and delighted them so much they snapped pictures of it on an iPhone, which they proceeded to share with all of their friends.

The teenage primate’s curious fascination with poop has lent itself to long, lengthy conversations with friends in which they gleefully analyze the shape, consistency and odor of their movements. When not pontificating on the merits of a good poop, they communicate with one another through play, which mainly revolves around the throwing of various objects. Some are tossed back and forth to each other, others are simply thrown right at one other (which always results in long, loud screeches from the players.) These games are enjoyed both in person and online (a skill this species has recently acquired); the latter appearing to be their preferred method of late.

This doesn’t always sit well with human adult primates, as we know they learn best through playing outside in the jungle. Whichever game they play, they all seem to follow the same basic principles—lots of screaming, farting, and hysterical laughter—and always concluding in the consumption of additional nourishment. Discussion of the opposite sex occurs strictly in code, with all of the conversations resulting in rounds of uproarious laughter and teasing.

Human adult female primates know better than to ever ask direct questions about this sensitive topic, as this will result in immediate banishment from the teenage primate’s cave. However, since they need to learn at least a modicum of socialization skills in order to eventually mate, adult female primates hand this topic off to adult males. They advise them to try and relay to the teenagers the importance of an emotional connection when it comes to mating. If and when this concept does not compute, at the very least, they should know it is frowned upon for teenagers to try and hump everything in sight (including both animate and inanimate objects.) The adult female does not yet introduce the topic of verbal communication, as it would only be in vain, since she is still working on this skill with the adult male primate.

There comes a time when the adult and teenage primate hit a wall in their relationship, and the adult turns to the research in an attempt to break it down. Luckily, there is an abundance of available research on the topic, as there are many human adult primates who have made careers out of studying young primates. One of the central components of this research often examines the similarities and differences between human adult primates and teenagers.

Occasionally, a researcher will explore whether or not we will ever be successful at cohabitation. Judging by anecdotal evidence alone though, although there are many similarities amongst the two species (including an almost identical DNA structure), it often appears we are both happier residing in separate dwellings. From the perspective of the human female adult primate, there is only so much poop, farting, jumping on and off of furniture, loud noises and horrible odors she can take without feeling a strong desire to return her primate back to the jungle.

It is at these precise moments though the teenage primate will often surprise. Perhaps because they sense they are in danger of losing their food and shelter, they are known to suddenly start exhibiting such odd behaviors as hugging, making eye contact and, occasionally, even smiling at their adult primate. The adults, in particular the females, are often then reminded of how cute and sweet their primate was as a baby, and, current disgusting behavior aside, the overall experience of parenting their primate has been pretty awesome.

They remember that in what will seem like the blink of an eye, the teenage primate will be off on their own in the wilderness, and it will be an even bigger jungle than either can imagine. This thought softens the emotional and physical blows of living with a human teenage primate—that is, until the screeching and poop jokes start up again.