You have to know how to laugh at yourself when you live with teenagers.  Teens will tease you.  They will point out your faults.  They will let you know when you are being a geek, nerd, dweeb, or dork.

I’ve been teased about missing my exit when driving, about my facial expressions, about texting with one hand, and about certain stories I tell about my past.  In my opinion, if a teen is comfortable teasing a parent, the relationship is a healthy one.  My kids tease me, and then follow it up with a hug or peck on the cheek.  And I eat it up!  Let them tease me all they want; it’s better than a gloomy, moody grouch who refuses to speak to anyone. 

It is because of the inevitable teasing that I have never bothered to learn how to get my cell phone out of the ALL CAPS mode when I have to manually type in a word when the phone doesn’t recognize it in t9 mode.  The kids tease me about it whenever I send a text that has to include a word in ALL CAPS.  Recently, while I was in Hawaii with Huh and Mack, I sent a text to Hoob asking her how she was enjoying staying at her grandparents home.  She responded that she had been spending a lot of time with some of her cousins.  The cousins all have the last name of Jensen.  My phone didn’t recognize the name Jensen so my message back to Hoob looked like this:  Have you been having fun with the JENSENS?

Hoob’s response:  YES i have BEEN having fun WITH  the JENSENS.

Me:  Lol.  I don’t know how to fix that.

Hoob:  Ha ha.  Oh mom.  So helpless.

Helpless.  She can think I’m helpless all she wants.  I don’t plan on ever learning how to get my phone out of ALL CAPS mode because those texts have been the means of much laughter.  As soon as I shared the texting conversation I had with Hoob with her older sisters they immediately started reminiscing about other times I had sent them similar “yelling” texts. 

“Remember the time Mom sent us a text that she was going to be late picking us up because she was picking up our SIBS?”

“How about all the times she types Yawlin’s name?  She yells our little brother’s name everytime she texts us about him.  ‘Do you know where YAWLIN is?  Or, ‘YAWLIN has pack meeting tonight, do you want to come?’  Yup, Mom, does a lot of yelling in texts!”

They tease.  I chuckle and nod my head.  They say, “Poor Mom.”  And then they give me a hug to make me feel better.  The hugs are worth the teasing.

I love to see the same types of interactions with other parents and their teens.  It shows me that there are other parents out there fostering positive relationships with their kids.  One of my friends from high school regularly gets teased by his daughter on Facebook, and I love to read their interactions.  It is clear they love and respect each other in a fun way.  Once he simply posted:  “Rock on!”

His daughter responded with:  “Wow dad.  Is that the only cool thing you could think of to say?”

Typical teen.  The same daughter posted a message on her dad’s page after he posted that he was going hiking with the scouts.  Her message:  “Daaaaaaaaad!  I miss you!  I hope you’re having a fun, SAFE time on your hike.”

Clearly, she loves her dad.  And I love to see it!  I’ve been with friends when their teens have teased them about the tv shows they watch, the times they’ve tripped, and their methods of discipline.  I’ve watched my sister’s kids tease her about things she has said or done.  Each time the parent being teased has simply laughed it off and responded by some gentle teasing of their own.  I learn from these examples and try to incorporate them into the relationships I have with my own kids.  You can’t take yourself too seriously when you are dealing with teens.  They will eat you alive if you do!  The best thing to do when your teen starts teasing you is to laugh it off and milk it for a hug and/or kiss.  Laughing strengthens the relationship, and it is the relationship that is most important, not your need to “save face.”

It isn’t always teenagers that poke fun.  My nine-year-old has taken a few jabs at my expense.  His sisters have taught him well!  And then there is this recent conversation that a friend of mine had with her four-year-old daughter.  She posted it on Facebook:

Four-year-old:  Mommy, if I give you some money, will you be nice today?

Mommy:  Sure.  How much money do you have?

Four-year-old:  Enough to keep you quiet.

Won’t it be fun to see what that little girl is like as a teenager?  🙂