got snacks?

November 1, 2007 | By More

There is a very time consuming and often-frustrating game parents and teenagers play. At my house, we play it every weekend. We only have to play this game with our two youngest boys. The oldest is 21 now, so he has outgrown our playtime.

There was a time when I would try to play this game with all three of them at once. Learn from my mistakes and never play this game with more than one teenager at a time. It is just too overwhelming to decipher “teen-speak” with more than one of them talking to you at a time.

The game resembles Twenty Questions, but it is not nearly as fun. If I had to name this game I would probably call it, “What, Where, When, Who, Why and Will there be any parents there?”

Every teenager hates this game, and the teenagers in my house par- ticularly hate it because we play it before they leave and when they get home. Okay, maybe not right when they get home, I just can’t stay up as late I use to. However, we definitely play it first thing the next day. The fol- low up questions are slightly different, but we still use the same format.

There are a few tricks to this game and it starts with the very first question. “What are you doing tonight?” Answers must be decoded. This is why having only one teenager speaking at a time is essential.

“I don’t know yet” could mean I have several options, or it could mean I am still trying to figure out how to get the parents to say, “Sure you can go to the party.”

That is why questions such as, “Where are you going? When are you going? Who is going with you? Why are they having a party? Will there be any parents there?” are so annoying to our boys. They know the an- swers to these questions will determine the fate of their evening.

For example, if the answer to “where” has anything to do with a field out in the middle of nowhere they know the answer will be a resounding “NO!” Been there, done that, enough said.

Besides decoding answers, you must be able to endure the sighs of disgust, the rolled eyes, and the accusations of mistrust all designed to distract you from obtaining the answers to your questions. I will admit, I have fallen prey to this diversion occasionally. It is quite humbling to have your husband ask you, “Where are the kids tonight?” and to an- swer, “I have no idea.”

Somehow, in the midst of the game, I take the bait, and begin the de- bate about trust. Then the phone rings, the dogs start barking, teenager number two spills something all over the floor, and the game ends with unanswered questions. I told you this game is tricky.

Thank goodness for cell phones. Yes, this game can be played over the phone.

Granted, I am not always perfect at this game, but I do have more practice at it than my husband. Donald is a pretty good player, but there are times I wonder if he really understands why we play this game.

I have tried to explain to him that we are gathering all this informa- tion to help our children make good decisions and keep them out of  trouble. Yet, he continues to ask bizarre questions and ask them at bizarre times.

One of our boys seems to meet a new girl everyday. This leads to many rounds of the question game before he “spends time” with his new acquaintance. So, after enduring round one the other night, I felt it necessary for round two to begin as soon as he walked in the door at midnight.

His father and I were both still awake which meant we would be tag teaming this round. Two very tired adults against one teenager is fair in this game.

I was on a roll. Questions were firing one right after another. The answers were acceptable but we still would add a few cautionary comments from time to time. Then right in the middle of my, ‘did you kiss her goodnight, did you hold hands or put your arm around her?” Donald asks, “Did you have snacks?”

That’s right, “Did you have snacks?”

Here I am trying to make sure our child was behaving ap- propriately with a young lady he hardly knows and my hus- band wants to know if they had milk and cookies.

My son responded that they were no longer in preschool so they don’t call their food “snacks.”

Donald could not understand why we all burst into laugh- ter. I told you, I am not sure he understands the purpose of this game. It was, however, way past his bedtime so we just gave him a ‘do-over’ for next time.

Remember, I warned you, teenagers hate this game so play at your own risk.

Game over.

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