I Am Not a Jerk Whisperer

Really good advice on how to deal with jerks in your life.

Summer is here! I’m thrilled to be approaching the summer vacation that will allow me to spend a lot of time creating memories with my family. But let’s face it, I live with three teenagers, who are not always the kindest people in the world, and whose brains sometimes amass into a flurry of hormone-controlled impulses that can make for stressful times.

I spent most of my Memorial Day weekend on Pinterest gathering ideas for summer projects and challenges for our family to participate in, and I realized that none of our projects are going to be accomplished if we don’t have some basic ground rules. Actually, there’s one basic rule for summer survival in our family – all the others fall upon this one.

I am not a jerk whisperer.

Nor will I try to be. I can’t even remember where I first heard that sentence, but it is now my parenting and life mantra. While this is the absolute key to living with three teenagers, especially when we’re all creating wonderfully, happy memories together, I’m also employing this rule when dealing with adults as well.

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When They Act Extra, I Become Extra



A Facebook friend of mine recently posted that 13-year-old girls are, well, extra. And I felt for her, because as the parent of three kids (14, 13, 11), I definitely know what extra looks like and sounds like.

So in order to get through this season of extra, I have learned how to capitalize on my own extra. And you know what? Teens and tweens are all about their own extra, and are quite embarrassed at the possibility that their mom might become a little extra of her own.

And eventually friends, all that extra cancels itself out, and we are left with nothing, And when the choice is extra or nothing, nothing works better than anything else.

But because more often than not, extra is everywhere, I am going to share with you the top ten ways this mom becomes extra:

10. I wiggle, sing, and create hand motions to match the lyrics of songs they listen too. This part is not too hard because my daughters are in show choir at school. And they practice a lot. So I use what I’ve learned from them, or I just make up my own stuff. Especially in the car. While I’m taking them to school. And my vocal volume increases the closer we get to the school. And yes, it can be full-on extra by the time I pull in the morning car pool line.

9. I post a silly bitstrip comic of us on Facebook and tag them. I don’t know about you and if you have kids on Facebook, but my children do not like being tagged by their mother. If it’s a picture they like, they usually like me to text it to them and allow them to post it themselves. And since the rules of social engagement in this family mean we have to friend and follow each other, I can post and tag as I choose, And Bitstrips comics are a funny way to do that.

8. I pretend as if I am going to wear something from their closet. That sends all kinds of looks of horror through the hallways.

7. I text them selfies of me. Sometimes I’m doing the duck lips.

6. I take a time out. As the mom of a close-knit threesome, it is definitely noticeable when someone is missing. The hangout place is our living room, and when someone is missing, especially the mom, it gets them out of sorts. For some reason, even if they don’t want to talk to me, they want to be in the same room with me. And when they are extra, I sometimes need to remove myself temporarily.

5. I move the wifi router. A couple of years ago I saw a picture on Instagram where the parents change the wifi password each day and do not give out the new password until all chores are done. I tried that, and frankly could’t keep up with it on a daily basis, so now I just move the router so it is not so accessible by their devices. That by far, is a one of the most effective ways to eliminate extra — eliminating the connection to the internet.

4. I encourage my dog to go visit them. You see, my children shower my dog with affection all. the. time. They however only want to be bothered with her on their terms. So when they get extra, I tell the dog to go visit whoever is extra. And she does. At that is a beautiful thing, especially when they just don’t want to be bothered.

3. I will perform the sign of rue from The Hunger Games anywhere. Anywhere. Including the cafeteria at their school. Because undoubtedly, one of their classmates will want to join me. And just like in the movie, it catches on.

2. I shower them with affection. Hugs, love, and kisses. And I tell them stories of a long time ago when they were a baby, or a toddler, or even more amusing…an interesting character from a school musical performance of their younger years.

1. I twerk. Yes I do. And let me tell you, the thought of that is enough to eliminate the extra for a while. To be perfectly honest though, I have never had to twerk. I’ve gotten pretty close, though. I’ll turn on the music and brace the wall, and apparently knowing me and the thought of what could happen sends them into fits of fear where extra  is no longer welcome.

So tell me, have your kids ever been a little extra? What did you do?