i keep telling my teenager no.
it's not working.
Okay. So here it IS. Just like “Sit on the Step” was it for toddlers, and “Take it Outside” is it for the preteen years, I am now revealing the holy grail for teenagers. You know, for those pesky decisions which require almost a computer algorithm in your head to figure out all the pros, cons and possible dangerous activities in between. Or the principles you want to stick with, like no piercings under my watch, no driving with more than one teen in the car, or even no driving on the interstate? For those times, when they just won’t stop!
“It’s Not Up for Discussion Anymore.”
That’s it! -the six most precious words in the English language for moms of teenagers. Be sure to stand in front of a mirror and practice this so it just rolls off your tongue with ease. Kids make like twenty requests a day, each! And you’ve got to be ready. Hopefully you and your husband are on the same page most of the time because you will need to be quick and confident in your decision making process.
If you can, try to make a final decision quickly. Not, “we’ll see” or “I’ll have to think about it” or when you have thought about it and know what to say.
Make a very quick and final decision. After that, firmly tell your teen your decision with only slight or no explanation needed. If they continue to bother you with, “Why not?!”, “Please, please!”, “Just this once!”, “Mo'om!”, that’s when you take your voice to a lower level, and say somewhat blandly, “It’s not up for discussion anymore.”
That’s it! No further explanation, no further discussion, nothing.
Just repeat after me – “It’s not up for discussion anymore.” Notice no explanation mark after the statement. You won’t need to yell, won’t need to talk over anyone, won’t need to string together fancy words that justify something.
Just plain and simple.
This works for a myriad of situations. Requests for spending money. Requests to buy things. Requests to go somewhere. Requests to have someone over. Requests that you pay to get their nails done. Requests for another new prom dress. Requests for designer athletic jackets. Requests to go on boondoggle trips to the beach for spring break. Repeated requests in public that catch you in a vulnerable position. You know what I’m talking about.
Once I learned these little words, our whole lives changed.
Requests went down, arguments went down, whining went down, positions of power went down. Everything was simplified because they knew I meant it! Once I made up my mind, I rarely retreated. I just simply did not have the energy to go over and over stuff. Best to get it settled and move on.
I got an inkling that this was actually working when Carolina was a teenager and she asked her dad for something or to do something. He hemmed and hawed (?) and wouldn't give her a definite answer. I heard her say, "geesh, at least mom gives an answer right away." Yesss, ahah, LOL! Maybe I was doing something right.
I wish you luck with this. And with some practice, trust me, it will get easier and easier.
A LIFESAVER, REALLY.
FOR YOU AND YOUR TEEN.