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Raising Teenagers: Sense of Humor (and Thick Skin) Required

Raising Teenagers Requires a Sense of Humor

My family was in the car driving to a Cleveland Cavaliers game. The whole family together for a family outing. What could be better?

The radio is on and my husband and kids start shouting words. “Don’t Wash My Clothes,” “Don’t Water the Plants.” And then everyone breaks into hysterical laughter. “What are you guys playing?” I ask. “Oh, we play this game when we are in the car. See how the dashboard shows “Don’t Wa? It’s the beginning of the title of the song, Don’t Wait For Me, and we just make up a new title that is funny.”

I sit back and try to follow the game. Nothing is making any sense to me. As everyone erupts in the fifth round of uproarious laughter, I try so hard to understand the rules. I struggle because I fall short in the sense of humor department.

Teen Humor: Apparently I’m Not Funny

Nevertheless, I love a good game. So after I spend enough time observing, I decide to give it a try. Taylor Swift’s song, We are Never Ever Getting Back Together is playing. So I jump in with “We are never ever getting back soon.” Silence. No laughter and lots of eye rolling. “I don’t get it. Why wasn’t mine funny?” I ask as I try to hide my disappointment. “What are the rules?”

“There are no rules, mom. We just come up with funny endings.”

Okay. I guess I need to pay more attention. I sit back and listen some more, silently trying to come up with the perfect zinger that would make me a legitimate competitor—part of the gang. I study each player in the game, watching how they jump in with one line after another that leads to joyous laughter. I want in.

Let me fast forward to the ending. I “never ever” elicited so much as a chuckle from anyone in my family. In fact, they all just banded together and said, “You just don’t get it.” And the ultimate hurt—“You aren’t funny.” To which daughter #1 chimed in, “Mom, you’re not so funny but you are really good at editing our papers.”

Ouch. That hurt. Truth be told, they are right—I am not funny. But I have learned that the best way to survive their brutal honesty is to fake a sense of humor. So we all laughed together (at me) and I got to be part of the fun.

Susan Borison

Susan Borison, mother of five, is the founder and editor of Your Teen Media. Because parenting teenagers is humbling and shouldn’t be tackled alone.