We’ve added a very useful and effective tool to our parenting arsenal. It’s a guaranteed method for removing a teenager from your vicinity when you grow weary of her company. This could be because you were trying to have a private conversation before she arrived and she is now just taking up space. Or it could be that it’s past her bedtime. Or she’s in the way. Or maybe she is just being obnoxious.
Now, there’s a catch that I want to share with you before describing the tool. It’s not for the prudish among us. If you still want your teenager to believe babies arrived in little slings held by storks, then this approach is not for you. But if you know that your child already knows the basics and you don’t mind acknowledging that, this will work.
It involves reminding your child – preferably in the most embarrassing (yet not inappropriate) way possible – that her parents are sexual beings. This will send her running to the hills within seconds. This can be done in a number of different ways and can be quite entertaining for the parents. Let me describe a couple of scenarios.
Last night, she was working on her homework at the dining room table. She has a desk in her room for this purpose but she mistook it as a clothes rack some number of months ago and we haven’t seen the top of it since. It was late; the boys were already in bed. We were sitting at the table with her and had been visiting about various topics. We were waiting for her to go to bed so we could watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.
It soon became apparent that we could not talk or she would be distracted from her homework. We could not adjourn to the living room and watch our show because she would be able to see it and thus be distracted from her homework. We suggested she finish the homework in her room. She made no motion to comply with the suggestion.
“What could we do to get her to leave?” I asked.
He looked up and smiled. “We could make out.”
She immediately buried her face in her notebook and tried to cover her head, face, and ears with her hands and arms. “No! I’m leaving! I’m leaving! Just don’t! Please! Don’t!”
I moved over to my husband and wrapped my arms around his head. We began making little Mmm-Mmm-Mmm noises as if we were making out. I started passionately “kissing” the top of his head. She literally ran from the room. Mission accomplished.
We first discovered this trick a couple of months ago. It was early morning. My husband was dressed for the day but reclined on the bed, waiting for the kids to be ready to go. I was by the closet getting dressed. Jane had come into the room and crawled into bed and was now refusing to get up and get ready for school. Eventually, I wanted to sit down on the bed to put on my shoes but her body was in the way.
“You know what we do in that bed besides sleep, don’t you?”
She threw the covers off of her and literally leaped out of bed. “Oh! That’s gross! That’s gross! Don’t say that! I’ve got to get out of here!” And with that, she raced across the hall to her room and closed the door.
Feeling daring, I called out, “You think we haven’t done it in there?”
She hurtled out of her room toward the bathroom as my husband called out, “Well, no. Not in there, honey! That’s her room. Everywhere else in the house though.”
“Stop it! Just stop talking! GROSS!!!”
I smiled at my husband as I sat down to tie my shoes. “That was easy,” I said.
And so a strategy was born.