If your teens are like my teens, chances are they are cave dwellers. And by caves, I mean bedroom or basement inhabitants.
Despite their cocooning tendencies, I know (because the experts have told me) that I must keep the lines of communication open. I need to protect them from all of the evils that lurk on the internet and beyond.
So, when my children shut themselves off in their bedrooms, I like to make numerous visits in order to ensure all is well and everyone is safe.
If you would like to follow my shining example, since I am a
self-proclaimed teen-raising expert, here is an example of the conversations I repeatedly have with my spawn. (You’re welcome.)
In order to protect their fragile identities, the Heir (age 17) shall hereby be known as William, while the Spare (age 14) shall be called Harry.
Me: (knocking quietly, then barging into Young Harry’s room) Hey! What are you doing?
Harry: (switching the screen to black) Nothing.
Me: (smiling) You can’t be doing nothing. What were you looking at?
Harry: (not smiling): Just stuff.
Me: You know, honey. There are lots of…bad things on the internet. And sometimes we don’t mean to open them, but we do and then you might see something you don’t want to see…
Harry: (sighing loudly and rolling his eyes): You caught me. I was looking at pornography. Lots and lots of pornography. It’s just a big old porn fest in here, Mom.
Me: Very funny. Can I see what you’re doing? I read that parents are supposed to be aware of what their children are doing. It makes kids feel safer.
Harry: Wow, yeah. I feel really safe right now with you stalking me and barging into my room.
(He turns his screen back on and I see what looks like a regular word document.)
Harry: I’m doing my homework. Are you happy now?
Me: (sheepish now): Yes, actually, I am. Thank you for sharing with me.
(I start to leave.)
Harry: I’ll make sure to add lots of pornography to it before I’m done!
(I race from the room.)
Harry: SHUT MY DOOR!
I head down the stairs to check on the Heir, who has been locked in his teen-man cave for hours now. I can hear new age music blasting through the door. I knock and then barge in…it’s my thing.
Me: Hey! What’cha doin’?
William: (Not taking his eyes off the screen) What do you want?
(I look around his messy, smelly dark room and move to open the curtains.)
William: (without breaking eye contact with the screen): Don’t open those. The glare makes it impossible to see the screen.
Me: Your room is like a dungeon. You could be hiding a body in here.
William: You caught me, Mom. It’s under the bed. Don’t look. It’s pretty gross.
Me: Ha ha. It certainly smells like you could have a body under your bed.
William: Why are you here? (Still staring the screen, while simultaneously working a Rubics cube into perfection.)
Me: Did you hear the story in the news about the kids who built a bomb and took it to school? Their parents said later they hadn’t been in their sons’ bedrooms in months. They had no idea what their kids were doing in their own house.
(I start sifting through some of the dirty (?) clean (?) clothes on the floor.)
William: So, you’re in here looking for a bomb? Oh my God! I better hide the pieces. (He shoves the Rubics cube down the front of his shirt.)
Me: You and your brother are horrible children, you know that? I am just trying to be a good mother.
William: You’re a great mom.
Me: (heart lifting) Really?
William: Yeah. (turns back to the screen) Can you shut the door on your way out?