Ah, the teen years! The time when so many of our former children want to go everywhere (except school) and do everything (except chores and homework), and when we become public transportation – strictly pick up and drop off – not
just for our own, but for their friends too. Consequently, it becomes the time when we learn to follow the unsolicited “I love you!” with “Okay, what do you need?”
The response is often, “Can you take me and so-and-so to the mall?” Then, after 45 minutes in cross-town traffic, during which you are blatantly ignored by two or more teens, each with a music player earbud in one ear, and a cell phone on
the other, you are instructed to just drop them off around the corner. I was fortunate in that respect; my daughters never asked me not to go places with them. In fact, I was often invited.
Here are some tips to help you survive being “malled”:
1. Dress “adult casual”. Kids don’t want to be seen with a parent in geezer-wear, but avoid trying to dress too hip or you will be accused of being a poser. Jeans and a t-shirt are generally a safe combination.
2. Don’t tune out the chatter. Listening to teens babble on about who’s hot and what’s cool can be mind-numbing, and since they often all talk at once it requires great multi-tasking ability, but they will talk to you at some point and if you miss it they will remind you daily, from then on, how you NEVER listen to them.
3. Offer teen-only time. If they express a desire to go to the arcade or the newest teen-trendy retailer, visit a nearby store you like – or treat yourself to a beverage at the food court – and instruct them to meet you there when they are done.
So, if ever you are one of the few parents privileged enough to be seen anywhere with your teens, a day at the mall with them can not only be survived, but enjoyed.