Top Secret Strategy for Parents of Teenagers

by Jim Mica

	All of us who deal with them have been told that teenagers only appear
	to be self-assured and assertive.  We've been told that, underneath that
	daunting, imperious exterior they are full of self-doubt.  I recently
	had the chance to test this out in a chance experiment around the dinner

	Our tribe was assembled for a meal the other night.  As I often do, I
	was telling the children (ages 14, 14, 9, and 7) some "new" jokes from
	the HUMOR list.  One of the 14 year-olds picked up on the thread of the
	jokes and began to use it to make fun of her 9 year-old brother.  We
	parents looked at each other in dismay.  The family communion was being
	undermined by this act of teenage terrorism!

	"Say," I said, "Why don't we do Teenager Jokes for a while?"

	The other parents agreed.
	"Q:  How many Teenagers does it take to change a light bulb?"
	"A:  Nobody knows, it's never happened."

	Both teenagers looked stunned, the parents around the table looked like
	they had been injected with some sort of revitalizing fluid.  I went on:

	"What's the difference between a dead teenager in the road and a dead
	skunk in the road?"

	"There are skid marks in front of the skunk."
	Both teenagers looked terrified while the parents at the table looked as
	placid as Microsoft stockholders.  The teeners were pretty quiet for the
	rest of the meal.  I'd deem the experiment a success.
	Why not try it yourselves?  Try some variations:
	Q:  Why did the teenager cross the road?

	A:  Who knows!  We were so amazed to see him expend energy on something
	even marginally constructive that we forgot to ask!

	Let me know about YOU'RE results!  But, remember, be a little gentle.
	We don't want to abuse this new found weapon!

The author grants the right to forward and reproduce the above as long as the title and author's name are attached.

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