The Teenage Song of Despair

As a parent, I have tried very hard to make sure that I do not buy my kids clothes that I will be embarrassed about later. Still, somehow, things manage to find their way into their closets that makes me stop in my tracks in the midst of my morning routine, stare at them, and say “Oh no… you are NOT wearing that!”

At least three times a week, I say this to my daughter, who comes out of her bedroom wearing some tank top or otherwise sleeveless contraption that she wore in the 6th grade. Since she will be starting high school this year, those 6th grade tops really do not work for me and I keep trying to find them as they come down the chute and dispose of them, but somehow they keep passing me by. This morning was a shocker though. I never have to have this lecture with my son, but today he changed all of that. This morning, my son was wearing these pants that have a hole very near the crotch area. I stared at him and shook my head and said, “No, you will not wear those pants out of my house.”

He looked back at me and his jaw dropped in utter confusion. “What’s wrong with it?”

Ah… the teenage song of despair.

I explained that I have two very simple rules about pants. These are not complicated and they will often work in his favor if appropriately applied. No holes in the crotch area, and no holes in the ass area. Otherwise I do not care about the pants.

He said, “But these pants are comfortable.”

I said, “Then find some other comfortable ones.”

“But they’re dirty.”

“So that’s why you’ve been asking me all week to teach you how to do laundry… well that doesn’t help you now. Change the pants.”

On the way to school, the boy tried desperately to convince me that these pants were acceptable fare and finally as I pulled into the school parking lot I said, “Son, your fashion statements are really none of my concern. I just know that I refuse to have you walking out the front door like I don’t give a damn about it. If I have to, I will burn those pants in effigy.”

Then I said the one thing that more parents should say to their teenagers.

“By default, there is no way you are going to win this argument. I’m the parent. I control your access to playstation controllers. In our relationship, I’m the one who gets to decide how things go. You can do that for yourself when you move out, until then, I can and will take away your PSP.”

There was no arguing with this.

I could tell by the look on the kid’s face, he had relented. He just wasn’t going to say it out loud, not yet anyway, I mean how manly is it for a guy to get beaten by a girl, even if that girl is his mom.

Eventually, he said, “Okay.” Then I watched as he got out of the car and ran to meet his friends for a new day at school.

An evil thought occurred to me then, and this is why I love being a parent. You see, I have access to the pants today while he is gone at school. I think I will solve both of our problems by stopping at the fabric store and buying a big, yellow smiley face patch.

Some days, being a parent is such a joy.