OMG! We’re Talking (Barely) to Two Teen Girls.

Do you have a teen or pre-teen child? If you do you know that they can be, at times, less than cooperative in nature. How about daughters? I’ve been a parent a long time. I’ve known hundreds and hundreds of parents. I have talked to, interviewed and written about parents for years. I can’t remember one time where a person with children of both genders said that they thought that daughters were easier to raise than sons. Not one time (barring special circumstances of course). So when you put the two together, a teenage girl, well let’s just say there is a special place in heaven for those of us who make it through. And in the meantime, we have the bar.

I was tempted to just post the audio that we use for our interviews, rather than transcribe it to write this post. I thought only then could you fully appreciate the heavy sighs, the barely audible responses, the giggling at the questions. I thought that would help you feel the vibe of complete and utter annoyance being put forth. To think that these two young girls, who shall remain anonymous, had to take 10 whole minutes out of their busy lives to do something so incredibly lame as answer the silly questions of an adult. AS IF?

Rather than post the audio, and risk their identities being revealed, which would of course send them into a spiral of shame and unpopularity that would surely last them well into their college years, I decided to just go ahead and transcribe the post. Besides, it’s not like you can see the dirty looks and the eyerolls on the audio anyway.

How old are you girls?
A: 13
B: 13

What grade will you be going in to?
A: 8th
B: 8th

Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: 1 brother and 1 sister.
B: I have a brother, 2 step brothers, and a step sister.

Do you like them?
A: Makes funny faces and a strange noise.
B: Shakes her head and makes a strange noise.

Do you guys get along?
A: Eh. It depends on the day.
B: Mmmmm… no not really.

Why do you think you guys don’t get along?
A: Because they like to irk my soul. (Yes, you read that right. They IRK HER SOUL.)
B: Shrugs.

Okay clearly the sibling thing is going swimmingly. Let’s move on shall we?

What are you guys doing this summer? Going anywhere? Done anything good so far?
A: I went to the beach.
Who did you go with?
A: My family
How was it?
A: Two thumbs up.
So if you could go anywhere you wanted to this summer, do anything in the world, what would you do?
A: Go shopping in Paris.
By yourself? Would you take your take your family?
A: I’d take my friends.

How about you, doing anything fun this summer? Going anywhere? Done anything good so far?
B: I went to the beach in Ocean City. We’re going to Myrtle Beach too.
Did you go to OC with your family?
B: Yeah.
Are you excited to go to Myrtle Beach?
B: Yeah.
So if you could go anywhere you wanted to this summer, do anything in the world, what would you do?
B: Um, (2 minutes of total silence). Um, (2 minutes of verbal prompting). I’d go to Hawaii.
Ok. Would you take your family?
B: No.
Would you take your friends?
B. Yeah.

Alright… enough about summer time. Summer’s clearly overrated anyway.  Let’s move on to school. Why not?

So, you’re both starting 8th grade in the fall. What’s your favorite subject in school?
A: Lunch. Kidding… science.
Why is that your favorite?
A: It’s fun.
What’s your least favorite?
A: Math
What don’t you like about it?
A: Too much work! (Work? In school? No way!)

How about you, what’s your favorite subject in school?
B: Math.
Why is that your favorite?
B: I’m good at it.
What’s your least favorite?
B: Language Arts
Why is that your least favorite?
B: I’m not very good at it.
(Makes perfect sense to me)

If you could add any subject to the curriculum that they don’t already teach, what would you add?
A: Shopping.
Really? How would that be good to teach in school? How would you pitch it?
A: How to manage your money and get what you want while shopping.
And you?
B: How to bake something without catching it on fire.
(Give me strength)

You guys have both eaten lunch at school, right? How’s the food at school?
A: It’s okay sometimes. I guess. Depends on what they made.
B: Depends on the day.

Is there anything on the menu now that you’d keep if you were changing the menu?
A: They have good mac n cheese.
B: Shrugs.

If you could add anything to the school lunch menu what would you add?
A: Mozzarella sticks that aren’t greasy. Grilled cheese that’s not disgusting.
B: Pizza.

You girls can add anything to the menu. Anything. Ice cream sundaes, fettuccine alfredo, cake, anything! Are you sure you’d pick pizza and grilled cheese?
A: Blank stare
B: Shrugs.

At this point I wish it were over. I truly do. But… it’s not.

Who was your favorite teacher this year (without a name just a subject)?
A: My science teacher.
B: Math.

What made them a good teacher?
A: They didn’t make us do work.
B: Because she was really nice and she let us talk more than any of my other teachers did.

So, one more thing I want to talk about. As 13-year-old girls, what do you think is the biggest problem that you personally face every day?
A: Too much homework.
So, too much homework is your biggest problem?
A: Yes. I just worked all day for 6 hours and now I have to work at home too.
So, out of all the problems teenage girls face, family problems, peer pressure, bullying, not fitting in, boy troubles, too much homework is your biggest huh?
A: Mmm hmm.
Well, I would say that you are one very lucky 13-year-old girl and you should remember that.
How about you?
B: Ummmm I don’t know. My brother bothers me a lot. He annoys me every day after school.

Clearly, I have selected the 2 most problem free teenage girls in town.

So, what about all teens? What do you think the biggest problem is for kids your age in general?
A: Trying to fit in at school.
B: Yeah I agree.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing the world? What do you think is the greatest issue that we all face, as kids, adults, everyone? What do we most need to fix in the world?
A: Starving people. Homeless.
A lot of discussion among themselves. And silence. And sighs. Always the sighs.
B: Violence.

Do you think there is a good way to address those problems?
A: People who are hungry, like homeless people, sometimes they ask for money, sometimes they hold signs on the street. And you want to give them money because they might be starving. But sometimes people take advantage of that and they try to get you to give them money when they aren’t really homeless or they aren’t going to use the money for food. So they kind of ruin it for the others, because people don’t know if they can trust them so they won’t give them money.
(Ah, a glimmer of hope)
B: Unsure.

One last question just for fun. Do you think you’ll get married someday? And if you do, how old do you think you might be? What might be a good age to get married?
A: 13. (laughter) Just kidding. I don’t know. In your 20’s I guess. Like 24, 25, 26. Around there.
B: I guess mid 20’s.

What I learned: Teenage girls irk MY soul. Most 13-year-old girls would much rather hang out with their friends than their family. The universal age for getting married according to children between the ages of 3 and about 16 is in the 20-26 range. I missed writing for/about kids. Mostly because it’s so damn entertaining. And lastly unless you can capture the many faces, eyerolls, sideways glances, and goofy looks, it’s probably not a great idea to use 13-year-old girls as your interview subjects.

Disclaimer: *** These statement are of course not true of all 13-year-old girls. Just of the two I spoke to on this day. And my own. And all of her friends. And all of the ones who I have met. But probably not every single 13-year-old girl on earth.***

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