Thursday, January 27, 2005

Another teen phenomenon. Adventures in child rearing.

I originally wrote this when both my sons were still in their teens. After going through what I thought to be pretty much every phase a child/teen could go trough, I realized there was a major event missing from the phase list. It’s the “I don’t know” syndrome of teen hood. Unfortunately unknown to me, teen hood includes the early 20's.

My oldest son will be 23 October 18th and the youngest will be 21 on June 5th. They seem to have grown up rather fast. It seems only yesterday they were romping the house playing with the soccer ball and throwing darts at each other. No wait, that was only yesterday. I’ll just skip that part and move on to the main reason for this post. I feel compelled to enlighten other parents on a few points they may want to remember as the kids get older. Especially at those times when they will leave you wondering if the kid really did come from your gene pool.

First off, the words (snipped from a "joke" sent to me) "I don't know," will be three of the main words your kids will eventually learn to use quite freely and usually at the most irritating times. I think it’s actually a requirement for them to learn irritating behavior before a certain age.

Normally these kind of questions, "So, what do you want to study?" might be answered with, "Law, medicine, goat rearing, snail husbandry". That sort of thing. "Where would you like to go to college?" might bring on a barrage of University names like, and "Stanford", "MIT", "Cal Tech", "Vanderbilt" or any of the various institutions of higher learning scattered throughout the world.

Well, you can stop smiling now because you won't hear answers like those. What you will actually hear is, “I don't know". No matter what you ask the answer will still be, "I don't know".

On many, many occasions when given answers just like this, I have stared blankly at my child, my son, my offspring, my legacy and hope for the continuance of the family name and wondered if the child had without my knowledge, been mentally damaged at some point. Something horrendous that doesn't show at all until you actually ask them a question of any importance. After being given this answer, I asked, "Son what do you mean, "I don't know?" and my son calmly answered, "I don't know."

It is at this point that all the cells in my parental brain start nudging each other asking, "Hey! Did you hear that? What’s that mean anyway?" That cell nudges the next and asks the same thing and so on until my brain is flooded with the words, "What the hell does he mean anyway?" In the meantime, as my brain is processing his answer I'm standing with my mouth gaping wondering what traumatic thing, unknown to me had happened to my son and his thought processes. I asked him if something had happened to his brain and he answered, "I don't know". How stupid of me for not guessing.

After this strange encounter, my son turned and left the room leaving me standing there with my brain cells still on alert at a meeting in the town hall trying to figure out exactly what he'd meant. I suppose at some point he will know the answers to these and other questions. Whether he will share the information with me is unknown but I would certainly like to send a fax to my brain cells and let them all know so they can finally go off alert.

I just thought I would warn parents what to look forward to in the coming years so that you can store this information somewhere in your brain and then be able to recall it from the foggy corners when the time comes. You may also want to consider some responses so that your brain cells aren't thrown into a panic and put on alert for years following the first attack of, "I don't know".


  • reading thru your post, almost seemed as though i was experiencing deja vu.

    it was just a few days ago that my parents asked me the same question. in fact, they've been asking me for a while now (a year or perhaps even more).

    most of the time, i replied them with an 'i don't know'. i never thought they would be THAT frustrated....

    i'm starting university this year. already i'm feeling that time is going by too fast, and even though i have chosen to study medicine, i am still not sure whether it's the best career for me. There's SOOO many things i want to try/do, however life is simply too short for that.

    Have you ever been confused when choosing your future career? my parents never seemed to have that problem, possibly because there weren't that many professions to choose from back then. perhaps it is something to do with society nowadays...

    i don't know.


    By Blogger z., at 2:42 AM  

  • You aren't limited to only one thing, you can do anything you set your mind to. Try it all. That way you have a chance to find what your heart tells you to do.

    Kate :o)

    By Blogger Kate Ford, at 2:46 PM  

  • I'm not sure what's more annoying. The fact that I know it irritates people, or the fact that sometimes I still have to say it myself.

    When are you gonna get a girlfriend, get married?
    I don't know.

    When are you gonna turn that report in?
    I don't know.

    What is the square root of pi times pi itself, exact to the millionth digit?
    I don't know.

    What do you want for dinner?
    Damn tough questions.

    By Blogger Goalie, at 4:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home