Are all teenage daughters evil? It’s a question I have been wondering about a lot lately. A research study recently reported that people with teenagers in the house are, statistically speaking, the least happy demographic group of all* (I am not making this up). Interestingly, disgruntled postal workers and prisoners in solitary confinement rank higher in their daily happiness quotient than the average parents of teenagers. Sadly, Melvin Zemmecki, a postal worker from Newark, New Jersey, serving time in prison in solitary confinement and father of four teenage girls, has the dubious distinction of being rated the unhappiest man in the entire USA.**
Not to toot my own horn, but I consider myself an expert in understanding the impact of parenting mistakes and communication failures (based on years of intense field research – mostly in the family room). As a parent of two darling teenage daughters, ages 16 and 17, I find myself discovering the miracle of witnessing in stereo hormonally-induced multiple personality disorder on a daily basis. There are all sorts of theories as to why teenage girls tend to be so moody, angry, irritable, thoughtless, self-absorbed, lazy, disrespectful, emotionally distant, narcissistic, a giant pain in the ass, never EVER cleaning their damn rooms, would it kill you to clean it up just once, I tell you??!!!??…. But I digress.
As I was saying, there are a variety of theories for why teenage girls tend to be somewhat challenging and mercurial. Some experts attribute this to the flood of hormones surging through their bodies. Others speculate it’s the increasing role that peer pressure places on girls to pursue that elusive, ultimately futile perfect body image a la Taylor Swift. Some evidence points to the nonstop onslaught of in-your-face reality TV shows where the most selfish, outlandish, nasty, back-stabbing behavior is often glorified and handsomely rewarded. (Notice how nice people never seem to win those shows?)
But I have a different theory: All teenage daughters are evil.
Okay, okay. Before you jump onto your keyboard and start pounding out an angry rebuttal, let me clarify my previous statement: What I meant to say is…. All teenage daughters are evil – except for my friends, Karen and Marty’s three teenage girls, Marsha, Megan and Monica – they’re angels, I must admit.
But with that exception, I stand by my theory. Oh sure, my theory, which is only about 27 minutes old, could be colored slightly by the fact that my two daughters had a sleep-over last night with three friends and our family room looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
My girls appear to see nothing wrong with the fact that there were enough Doritos, pizza slices, melted ice cream, and half-drunk cans of Diet Pepsi scattered in every nook and cranny of the family room to feed a third world country. Oh and nice job, girls, with putting away, what is the word I am looking for… oh, yeah… ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!
I have conducted an impressive amount of first-person field research to support my theory that all teenage daughters at one time or another turn evil. In my case, it seems to have happened somewhere around the age of 13 years, 7 months and 5 days (give or take) when both my girls changed from the perfect little angels they once were into fashion-obsessed, textaholic teenagers who spend roughly 98.5% of their spare time playing games on their iPod or texting other like-minded evil teenagers, leaving approximately 1.5% of their remaining time for being vaguely aware of their parents’ existence.
We parents can’t possibly understand all of the intellectual, life-altering epiphanies our teenage girls discover on a daily basis — such as why the American Eagle clothing store is so totally 5 minutes ago and Forever 21 is so totally now. Here is something I did not know: Human intelligence apparently reaches its peak between the ages of 15 and 17 – and goes down steadily from there until it bottoms out….at whatever age I am, at the moment.
Fortunately for me, given my obviously limited, near-Neanderthal level of “bang the rocks together” intellect, my girls have kindly simplified their method of communicating with me to a more primitive, pre-vocal system of exasperated sighs, eye rolls, agitated glares and grunts – really endearing grunts. Amazingly, these same girls somehow are miraculously able to shift instantly back to a more advanced verbal communication system involving the full use of facial muscles and multi-syllabic words and are able to form something highly evocative of a genuine smile – about the time they need me to give them a ride to the mall to meet Sarah.
But are teenage daughters really evil? In Part II of this blog post, I offer up a simple seven-question test to help you determine for yourself whether or not your own teenage daughter might be evil.
(* Source: My wife told me about this study one morning while I was flossing. And my wife would not make this stuff up.)
( ** Source: www.viewfromthebleachers.net, September, 2009)
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2010 – 2011