What I Say Vs. What My Teens Hear

by Love Barnett
Originally Published: 

Image via Shutterstock

You thought your days of translating Whinese were over? You thought once your toddlers started school and matured a little bit, life would smooth out? HA, HA HA! Welcome to puberty, where you have to re-learn how to communicate with a hostile foreign-speaking entity.

What I say: We’ve got to leave this house in five minutes or we’ll be late.

What my teens hear: Now would be a great time to go change clothes 72 more times, throw your entire closet contents in the floor, and then spend two more hours in the bathroom.

What I say: Go take a shower.

What my teens hear: If you lock the door and turn the shower on, no one will bother you for at least 45 minutes. You don’t actually have to get wet or wash anything if you don’t want to. No one cares if you waste 93 gallons of hot water while you sit on the toilet doing whatever it is you’re in there doing.

What I say: I’m making my shopping list, what do you guys want for dinner next week?

What my teens hear: Food. I’ll be buying lots and lots of food. As soon as I walk through the door with the groceries for an entire week of meals, please feel free to ravenously devour everything that same night. I can always go get more.

What I say: It’s time to get up and get ready for school.

What my teens hear: Roll over and grunt a few times so that I know you are alive, and then I’ll just come back seven or eight more times until it’s three minutes until the bus leaves. I’ve got nothing else to do this morning anyway.

What I say: Clean up your room.

What my teens hear: Shove everything under the bed and behind the dresser. There’s some empty space in the closet floor too, if you can manage to get the door shut. Spray some air freshener or AXE so it doesn’t smell like moldy ass, but instead will give off the aroma of cologne-infused vomit. Turn the vacuum on, (but don’t move it, just leave it on and standing there) for six and a half minutes, so it sounds like the floor was cleaned.

What I say: I’m on the phone, can you lower the volume on the TV/stereo for a minute, please?

What my teens hear: Blah blah blah blah too loud. Click the volume level down from 73 to 70 for like three seconds, and then bump it back up to 90. Only old people keep the volume knob on 20 or below anyway.

What I say: I would prefer it if you didn’t watch that. I don’t think it’s appropriate at your age.

What my teens hear: I would prefer it if you would watch that sometime when I’m not in the room, possibly when I’m not even home. I don’t care if you watch it, I just need to be able to say that I told you not to, so I can yell about it later.

What I say: Did you put gas in the car last night?

What my teens hear: Did you put 32 cents worth of gas in the car so that you could truthfully answer yes to this question?

What I say: Could you guys please stop fighting with each other for like 30 seconds?

What my teens hear: Can you yell a little louder for 20 more minutes, or possibly break something expensive while wrestling? That would be great. Oh and if you can ratchet up the noise level and force me to yell about 6 more times before threatening you both with military school, that would just be fantastic.

What I say: I need some help cleaning up in here.

What my teens hear: There is somewhere else you mysteriously need to disappear off to right now.

Related post: 5 Ways Toddlers Are Easier Than Teens

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