Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Teenagers Think

As some of you know, I am the grandmother of two teenage boys. At times, it is an onerous task, at other times there is joy. Most times, there is confusion, my confusion that is. I'm quite sure that behind the volume of meticulously straightened hair which conceals the faces of F and S (my grandsons) there is a computer interface which automatically selects certain responses to information received from adults.

I can provide proof. A reconstructed conversation with S.

Me: When are you going to cut the lawn?
S: screen shows - No Signal
Me: Are you ever coming out of your room?
S: screen shows - No Signal

Thirty minutes later.
Me: You'd better cut the lawn, or else, when Mom and dad get home they'll be pissed off.
S. screen shows - blah blah blah, or else blah blah blah pissed off. Level 1 response required. Select a) yeah, okay, or b) yeah, in a few minutes.
S. responds Yeah, In a few minutes.

Thirty minutes later.
Me: Do it now, S!
S. screen shows - Now! High voice volume requires immediate response.
S. emerges from room for the first time in 18 hours and cuts the lawn, then returns to room and adjusts his internal computer screen to inactive listening mode.

Two hours pass.
Me: downstairs, in conversation with grandad and a long way from S.'s bedroom. - I hear there might be ice cream cake for Sam's birthday and that his present will be an Ipod touch gadget.
S. screen shows - blah blah blah ice cream cake, blah blah, present, blah blah Ipod. Bingo! Immediate response required!
S. emerges from his bedroom again. Yes, folks, it's a record, and says Hi - is there cake?


Anonymous said...

Too funny, Diane...and so true!

It always amazed me how my daughters' parent filters used to work.

But, I guess, fair is fair.

I used have the same kind of filter and it used to drive my spouse crazy.

My girls would go "mom, mom, mom, mom" and I wouldn't hear anything but white noise. Not until there was a certain level of urgency anyway...

He used to poke me and say, "Will you answer her already? She's driving me nuts!"


Lori Hahnel said...

Oh,yes, I can see the beginnings of this in my ten and twelve year olds. And my husband's had it for years.

Anonymous said...

I don't have human kids, but oddly, my canine 'kids' act similar.

"Ronan! Come!"

Looks at trees, grass, and finally me. But he sits instead, defiantly.

'Ronan! Come!"

Blank stare.


Zoom zoom. He's in the house so fast you'd think he was on fire.

For Tasha, repeat, but substitute the word play with treat.

Princess Kendal, Wonder Dog said...

Hmm. That's an interesting theory about the computer interface for language processing. My friend Laura spends a long time sitting at her computer. Do you think she might have an interface like that? (If I could figure it out, it might help me to cut through some of our communication difficulties.)

Michelle, your kids' communication skills seem perfectly normal to me.