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March 17, 2013

The dumbest person on the planet

By Leslie Crawford, Senior Editor

“Oh, you have a teenager?!”

We're in line at the elementary school office waiting to explain why our respective little darlings are late, when I announce with some bravado to a mother I've never met that my other child is a (!) high schooler. Eyebrows are raised, curiosity piqued. Most parents at my first grade daughter’s elementary have little kids, such cute little kids. Those parents— so hopeful, so innocent! — wouldn’t know a hormone-packin’ teen if he skateboarded across their toes at the mall.

"Yes,” I answer, “I certainly do. He is a 100 percent certified teen.”

“Oh, I know who you are!” she says, wide-eyed with excitement, as if she’s just figured out she’s standing next to Lady Gaga, right here in our elementary school. “You’re the dumbest person on the planet!”

Name-tag-final
For a split second I am taken aback. But then I get it. “Why yes, I am,” I say, as we both crack up. How does she know something about me that only my teen has previously divined? It wasn’t always thus. Two-and-a-half years ago, I was smart, or smart-ish. But then, the very day my son turned 13 in fact, my IQ apparently plummeted, because only dumb people say such ridiculously clueless things like, “Where do you want to go out for your birthday dinner?”

The look of incredulity! “Why would I want to go out to dinner on my birthday?” he asks, dumbfounded.

"Because our family always goes out to dinner on birth-…" I begin to explain, stupidly, but he has already walked out of the room shaking his head. I know. I have rarely suggested such an idiotic idea. I didn’t know that encounter would presage so many like it over the coming years. Many times, I have defended myself, given him the what for (“That is so rude! Don’t speak to me like that!”), but clearly this technique is imbecilic, because nothing I say, even when I present the most logical arguments make a wit of difference.

Here are other things the dumbest person on the planet does:

  • His older teen cousin tells me about something funny he saw online so I think, recklessly, I should tell my son about it! “Have you seen EpicMealTime on YouTube?” I text. “Oh my God, Mom…Epic Mealtime was cool in like 2011” I M 2 moronic 4 words.
  • Wears very tiny, very hip – DPOTP thinks proudly – sunglasses at the Outside Lands concert she kindly takes her musician son to. “Um, Mom, those glasses…did you notice everybody but you has Ray Bans on? No one’s wearing little sunglasses.” No, up until that moment, I had not noticed. And suddenly I also I notice that I’m at least 20 years older than anyone there, which makes me not only the oldest person at the concert, but the, well, you know…
  • Asks: “Do you want a blueberry yogurt in your lunch?” Yes, I actually said that. He gasps at me, horrified, as you would a sick, small animal with oozing pustules. It’s too much, really, this living on the planet with the dumbest person who happens to be standing just two feet away from you.

I could go on, but why torture myself? Besides, it’s not just my declining brain-power that I’m worried about. It’s become clear that something is very wrong with my voice.

Even when we're in the same room, my son can’t seem to hear me. “Hello!” I say when he gets home from school, “How was your day?” He continues riffling through a kitchen cabinet, hearing nothing. I repeat myself, this time raising my voice and speaking slowly, as I would to a foreigner. It’s no use. He doesn’t respond but walks out of the room as if I’m invisible. I really am a mess. I better shape up before my daughter turns 13.

 

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Comments

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Hi Leslie,

We love this article!!! And totally relate!!! We are totally dumb over here as well.

It must be something in the backyards that is making us so.

Nancy

Thank you! So that's it...our backyards! Want to form a dumb parent club? We can have a competition for the dumbest of all.

Leslie,
Great article! Just wait, it can get worst...I have two teens and an almost 13 year old who already knows how to behave like a teen. Now they band together and laugh at me behind my back. Everything I do is hysterical. I am not only dump, stupid and old, I don't understand them!
OMG!
Andrea

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." attributed to Mark Twain.

Great blog for all youngsters and parents to see the dumbest person on the planet.

Leslie,

Too hilarious!!! I thought I was the only dumb parent on the planet!! I'm glad to see there is such a "fan" club.

@Andrea: I feel for you, having 3 kids thinking you're dumb. Looking forward to the time they think we've wised up (as one commenter quoted Mark Twain) in a few years. Good luck!

I guess I'm lucky because my 10 year old son going on 15, thinks I am a super hero! Him: (watching his brothers baseball game) Mom, can I go to the car to get my baseball glove? Me: No, I can't see the car from here and it's dark. HIm: You're "Super Protective Mom." Him: Can I go on-line and play (fill in the blank of a website not age appropriate)? Me: No. HIm: You're "Super Protective Mom!"

See, he thinks I'm a super hero. LOL

I guess I don't get it. I have a teenager and a preteen. They don't treat me this way. If I call them, they listen. If I ask a question, they answer. We're not harsh parents. In fact, we are quite lenient and very giving with our children. They know they are loved without a doubt and they are a little spoiled too. But they have a healthy respect for their parents and know that ignoring us is not an option.

14-yr-old in the house as well. Love the idea of the "dumb club". I'd join in a heart beat and share my dumbest moments. :) Love the article...

I also have a 13 year old son, and I don't have not witnessed being treated like this yet. I am listened to, respected etc. I respect him as well. Me and his father are not super strict, very lenient. He doesn't desire to rebel. He has all the Nintendo's, wii's ipods and cell phones but also knows ignoring us or mocking us would result in consequences of losing those items. I say it is in repecting them as they are little so they respect us and others. Not sure this wont' change, but I don't think this dumb stuff is really that funny...do you?! Seriously!

As an observer who read the comments and raised 3 successful children, it appears to boil down to good or poor parenting skills. You are not supposed to your child's friend but his mentor.

@Sheryl, @Becca, & @Bill Atwood: Thanks for your comments. I admire that you're doing it, or have done it, right. In my son's defense, he's actually a great person and I'm betting that one day I can say I've raised successful kids (along with my daughter). That said, I look at how my parents raised their three children and their household sounds like Becca's, with an expectation and environment of respect, without being punitive. That's one regret I have, not creating that expectation, which I now believe has to be set up from the beginning.

Leslie,

It does get set up in the beginning. Oddly enough, I had no problems with my son and respect (even though he was a handful). My daughter on the other hand has entered middle school and has suddenly taken to eyerolls or exasperated sighs to share her displeasure. A very curt response about how if she's that affected she can find her own rides, or type her own papers usually snaps her back to reality. I really refuse to be a doormat to anyone.

Great article! I enjoyed it very much- thank you. I have a 12 yr who thinks she's 16. I am very sad to say that I think I am heading towards the dumb direction but very happy to know that I am not alone--so sign me up!

@Sheryl Audiss He didn't mean that in a good way, He thinks you are over protective and annoying, That's not a superhero name, just because it has "super" in it. He wants to be free at his age, so let him, Go with him and bring a flashlight to get his glove, tell him if he's mature enough, he could play the site. Sometimes parents need to loosen up a little bit.

@I am Dying Inside - Sheryl Audiss knows her son doesn't think she's a superhero - she was being facetious. Not only, as you say, do parents "sometimes need to loosen up", so too do blog readers.

@Leslie Crawford - Funny piece. My husband and I are big dummies, too. I keep that Mark Twain quote in mind and also try to remember how uncool and out of touch I thought my parents were. I am sure your 13-yr-old is still respectful and obedient when it really matters. Pushing us away with the rolling eyes and the running commentary is all part of the independence stage. Don't sweat it! You are doing just fine, despite the naysayers!

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