Raising Adolescents.

Or How I Got Over it, and Learned to Love the Bomb.

8 min readAug 8, 2023
Breakfast at our house with our darling daughter Sally.. We are pretty sure this is a good day. Thank you AI for coming over and getting the shot. No one else will dare enter our house before school.

Congratulations! You Have Successfully Raised Your Bundle of Joy From Out of its Infancy, into Adolescents.

You Are Now The Proud Owner Of A Bouncing Bubbly Nuclear Warhead.

I wouldnt make any sudden movements if I were you. 😐

Your first class in how to diffuse a rogue morning bomb,



Lesson 1.

Dont compliment your teen.

Like, Nuclear Warheads, Teenagers, Are Strong, Impressive, Lethal, And Unimpressed.

So DO NOT compliment them.

Teenagers, and warheads do not need compliments from their parents.

If you want to get a bomb ticking:

just say :“You look nice honey! “

If you SAY this, or something similar,

The bomb knows you are making this up, for they have already spent 2 hours looking in the mirror, and they KNOW that they are just a big gray metal blob, that is terrible, and that nothing looks good on, and that no one wants to talk to becuase it is such an awful thing.

Your telling them that they look beautiful, or handsome in that moment,

is a lie.

They know they are horrible, and its your fault. Because you made them this way.

They don’t need your compliment.

It’s going just going to mess with their head, and put more pressure on them.

and they don’t NEED any-more- pressure!

They know what they are. They have already processed how terrible they are 120 times this morning before even coming down to breakfast . They judge themselves from the moment they wake, up til the moment they go to bed 110% more times than you do.

Nuclear warheads, while yes, they are bright, huge, lethal, and impressive , are actually, simply down right, stupid .

And if you tell them -that they look “nice/ handsome beautiful “ or-whatever adjective you want to use today, — when you say that to their dumb metal brain,

they think that you ARE judging them on their appearance in THAT moment.

It only tells your giant metal Agamenon waiting to happen that you love them when they are dressed /look / act this way,

or brushed their hair this way,

or wore something this way.

It isn’t even entirely clear what they even did today that even made you say that to them. Because to them, when they look in the mirror, they are just one big , metal, blob-all the time, that no one wants near them, EVERY day.

So your random breakfast compliment, just keeps them thinking that they are clearly “unlovable” in their natural state -even their parent thinks so! But you ARE their parent and you are supposed to love them no matter what!

but you just told them that they looked nice TODAY..

which to them means -not all the time.

So now you have just put conditions on your “love” that was supposed to be unconditional, thus scrambling the molecules inside your beautiful crazy little bomb’s wiring system,

and now, something is starting to smoke.

“Why cant you just love me for me? Why cant you love me just as I am?! Its not MY fault that I am a big gray metal blob?”

tick ..tick


Diffusion Is Possible

The only way to diffuse a teenage nuclear warhead is by saying :

Hello beautiful!”

Or “Good morning light of my life!”

Or “Hi gorgeous!” or “Hi Handsome!”

That is it.

That at least confirms with them that you also know they are a big, gray, awful, terrible, metal ,blob that nothing fits on, and no one wants to talk to, but you are totally OK with that, and you still love them anyway.

They understand that, because it is part of the genetic code of all things. And there is logic in that truth, (even for a big stupid grey metal blob.)

Aside from that,

Do Not Ever Try To Have A Conversation With Your Nuclear Warhead.

or they will explode.

If you want to talk to someone, get a plant. They will respond.

A bomb, has nothing to say to you.

On Advice

In case you have been living under a rock, teenagers don’t need advice from their parents. 😐

Plus, bombs don’t have ears. -so duh.

And unless you are:

a friend of your tiny ticking arsenal,

or an elder not related to your bomb,

or their school teacher- whom they “like” (but, not in a amorous way, but in a teaching-way likes..)

Don’t waste your time handing out advice.

Any Advice For Your Children, Needs To Come Before They Are Teens.

Like between the ages of 2 and 10 years old.

Because that is when they will be truly listening to you.

If you haven’t given them any advice before they became teens, well, too bad, because you have then, now, no doubt, created a monster.

Lol. But I’m sure you have been a wonderful parent.

You will have plenty of opportunities later in life to give them advice,

like after college where they have kids, getting jobs etc.


I am going to repeat this:

teenagers do not need advice. EVER.

And that isn’t sarcastic.

They have already been on this earth for at least 13 years, as well as simultaneously, managing their virtual/avatar world for at least 5 of those years. And half of them have already lived through your disastrous divorces.

And while they may be dumb as a metal tin can, they still know everything there is to know.

Plus, they know how every piece of technology works in your house before you can even figure out how to turn it on.

So do not think for a moment

that they need advice from YOU.

( ESPECIALLY, if you are getting the advice from THEIR shrink. lol )

But don’t worry,

Look if you have ever driven on acid, you can raise a teen. The rules are basically the same:

“Don’t laugh don’t fart and don’t sneeze”*

In fact, don’t do ANYTHING, because pretty much anything will trigger , or set your new little bomb off.

But conversely,

do something, because if you literally do NOTHING, your darling nuclear bundle of atomic energy, will definitely suspect that something is up, causing pressure to mount,…..

and it might start ticking…

One good practice might be:

  • Knitting, (quietly tho, no clicking of the needles together.)

If you do choose knitting, we recommend that you stay out of sight from your bomb, for this too, might trigger an “embarassment” resulting in,

you guessed it,

an explosion.

But if they can’t see you, they will most of the time, remain calm.

(Reading might be another way to pass the time.)

What Ever You Do, Never Abandon Your Bomb

While we do recommend staying out of sight, this does NOT mean to leave, or abandon them. We know that is the natural human instinct, to flee, but We repeat: Do NOT abandon your tiny bomb.

They are a liability, and your responsibility. They are a bomb for christ sake.

Plus, if you abandon them,

they will explode.

So do not spend the day away from your bomb,

or they will explode.

And do not glue yourself to your electronic device as a way to avoid your bomb, without abandoning them.

Remember, again, they are a bomb. and a bomb cannot differentiate.

On Bomb Storage

No two teenage bombs are alike, nor should they be stored together.

If you have other bombs that you are nurturing, do not think they can cohabitate . This is a misconception.

It is not birds of a feather when it comes to bombs.

No two teenage bombs are alike, nor should they be stored together.

Nor should they be compared to other like bombs. This will cause an explosion, or worse, they may combine forces, double explode, and kill you.

Remember, your goal- is to make it through this.

There is reward on the other side.

Reprimanding Your Atomic Teenager.

Ironically, reprimanding your teenager is the only thing that your teenager might be receptive to. (Probably because the judgement is- in their mind, justified and logical. because THEY HAVE BEEN EXPECTING THIS FROM YOU ALL DAY LONG ANYWAY. They are a bomb , they are a terrible terrible thing, and they know it. And they know that no one can truly love them, so when you get mad at them, they are almost in agreement with you, and their brain is finally vindicated. One, with being right -since bombs are downright stupid as we have already establihed; but also Two, you have given then an actual REASON to be angry, [they are always angry and they ont even know why, but right now, ah! ) And for at least these few minutes of the day, they finally get to put the blame on someone else! [ie YOU] instead of themselves.

And their ego likes it becasue they also have the ultimate come back of “Well its your fault ! YOU MADE ME! “making them at the same time, acknowledge that you ARE their superior, and that you DID create them.

And yes, in their weird way, this is how they can show you they love you and need you.

I told you bombs are stupid. and you gotta love them for that .

Yes you are their Papa Oppenheimer of their little world of chaos, and they know it, and love you for it.

Your reprimands provide them that one time where they came blame someone other than their ugly powerful selves, and because of that, there is some diffusing that happens, and almost a greatfullness.

So go ahead with reprimands, it is one of the few, areas of your teens life where there may be a common thread.

But you need to be ready for the bit of back fire and sparks that fly off. In this situation, 90 percent of the time, an explosion would not happen.

Your Job.

  • Your job, your ONLY job, is to feed your ticking nuclear catastrophe with actual nutrients.

ie : FOOD.

NOT advice nutrients.

The time for the advice nutrients has past. You will have time for that later, -like in 9 years.(-that is, if you survive the next 9 years.)

Regular food at regular intervals.

If it helps, try to imagine your homegrown nuclear firecracker as your favorite sourdough starter: Feed it daily, weekly…

Look, chart your feedings if you have to, but like your sourdough, remember, it does not need talking to.

If your nuclear creature needs to express itself, it will.

And strangely, it will actually act much like your sourdough blob of potential carbolicious goodness,

-but with much higher stakes involved.

Your bomb will, if it needs to express itself, bubble up to you.


we repeat: L-E-T — I-T.

If you have the good fortune to witness a bubbling bomb of nuclear force, DO NOT try to interact with it.

Because it will explode.

Just listen and watch,

and for heaven’s sake, DO NOT LET ON that you are enamored with it.

and do not try to inch your way to the door to escape, out of fear.

Because if you do, it will explode before you can escape.

If it IS bubbling up to you,

just listen to it.

Remember it isn’t talking TO you-because bombs dont communicate. It has no interest in hearing what you have to say, nor will it even hear you. It is just bubbling.)

It just means that it is a happy bomb.

it is a content bomb.

And happy and content bombs don’t explode.

And that is how you need to keep it.

Once it stops bubbling, don’t panic! It is simply resting.

So do not disturb it. This means please do not try to fill the empty space with human words.

If your happy bombs starts to drift into the other room,

or fall onto a sofa, don’t worry, that is O-Kay!

It is in a content and dormant mode,

and simply means

you will live to see another day.

*[thank you to Loudon Wainwright III reference the Acid Song}

**the other 10percent of the time, we don’t have the research because it was destroyed in the explosions.




Nomadic procrastinator suffering from run-on sentences-caught btwn a 9 -5; an exp passport; a 30 yr mtg;+a dog who has sep. anxiety when no oxford comma is used