I just have to write this.
Our Kids were visiting us recently, and after we had finished our big cookout and were all just sitting around digesting our feast, I was listening to one of my daughters as she started complaining about how strange their daughter, (Yeah, my granddaughter) was becoming recently.
I was surprised for a moment until I did the math in my head and realized that my granddaughter was now thirteen. I immediately flashed back in time to when my daughter herself, was young and the same age as my granddaughter was now.
I broke out laughing. I just couldn’t stop myself.
My daughter looked over at me as if I was having a heart attack or something, and this drove me into another spate of laughter, now with tears running down my cheeks.
I stood up, still laughing, and looked at myself in a mirror on the far wall and I guess I did look a little scary. My mouth was open and emitting a series of guffaws, while my tear covered face had become bright red.
Realizing how I looked, I slowly gained control of myself but still smiling, I sat back down and told my daughter;
Honey, you really don’t remember when you were thirteen years old, do you?
Don’t you remember turning your bedroom into your personal fortress and refusing to talk to your mother and I except with grunts and looks of derision?
Don’t you remember the three intense years where your favorite comments to us were; That’s just STUPID!, or I am SO Embarrassed!, or You can’t MAKE Me!, or the big ones, Leave Me Alone!, and You do not Understand!
I always loved the last one because you always rolled your eyes at us with a face contorted into one of derision just before you would stomp off to your room.
She looked at me surprised, and a little mad, but just for a moment. Then she sat back with a surprised smile on her face and said;
Yeah Dad, I remember now. Are you telling me that I have to go through the same thing with my kids?
Laughing again, I took a moment and told her my theory about how a Parents IQ changes with time. I said;
You see dear, one thing that they don’t tell parents-to-be is the fact that, when our children are born, we parents have a normal IQ and are able to function perfectly well in society. We are able to work on complicated jobs, make money, invest our savings intelligently, and yes, some of can even invent things.
Then I told her that all of this goes through some serious changes as our children grow up.
Parents IQ – stage-1:
While our children are young, they look to us as being brilliant and almost God-like to them as we share our knowledge and teach them so many things about life.
We teach them about the affects of touching HOT and COLD items for example. We teach them how to hold a fork and how to tie their shoes, and many other basic but wondrous things to a child.
At this time, our IQ, as perceived by our children, is at the highest it will be. That is, until our kids age further and get into their twenties.
Parents IQ – stage-2:
Once our children reach that dreaded period of development called puberty, their body chemistry changes (or something does!) and we, the parents, suddenly become very; unknowing, socially inept, unable to hold a conversation, and just plain Stupid, in our kids eyes.
Oh, we may have multiple degrees from famous universities, we may be expert craftsmen and women who’s works are renowned around the world, we may even be authors of books on Parent/Children communications. It really doesn’t matter.
Our perceived IQ drops like a rock for them. If we offer to help our kids with their homework, or try to give them advice on social issues at school, or, God forbid, tell them we don’t like one of their weird friends, we get the look that I call the “stare of death”.
Somehow, only the arrogance of post pubescence can form that look we get from our Kids when we have crossed that personal line of theirs. Thinking back, I can only describe it as a combination of; derision, disgust and impatience mixed with a small dose of pity.
Several times, after attempting to explain something to my kids and getting this razor-sharp stare from one of them, I have actually walked over to a mirror to see if I had somehow degenerated into a Neanderthal, with the overhanging brow, long hair and all.
Luckily, what I saw in the mirror was never changed except perhaps by a few more white hairs and a look of stress.
Parents IQ – stage-3
As they get older and are moving through their teen years, our IQ raises slightly. Actually, the kids, like wolf cubs that think they are ready to go on their first Kill, are the ones who become sharper.
First, they realize that they actually depend on us for THINGS, so we are necessary to them.
You see they realize that they do need us for something. They want us to; give them money, buy them clothes, allow them to go to shows and events with friends, and, of course, eventually, the big one, drive the car.
Because of this realization, our kids begin to patronize us. You see, we are still STUPIDF to them.
They will begin with the SMILE. You remember, that ear-to-ear smile that barely covers their distaste at having to stoop to an actual conversation; with a Parent, of all people.
But, regardless of their pain, they will sit down with us and attempt to have what they consider a conversation.
Of course, when this happens we’re stunned. Here we are, after having been essentially shunned for months, even years, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, we are being smiled at and talked to by our strange progeny.
We are so happy at this change of events that we fall immediately into their trap and attempt to keep this new conversation thing going. But inevitable, our enthusiasm is too much and we cross some invisible line and you suddenly notice that old, disgusted look flashed at you.
You know, the You are SO Stupid! look.
So, confused and desperate, you finally fall further into their trap and give them whatever they want, just to keep them talking with you.
Eventually, they walk away happy, with your car keys, money, whatever it was they wanted, while you? You are left sitting there wondering what you have just done.
They soon learn that they are pretty good manipulators of their parents and continue this practice whenever they can get away with it.
Parents – IQ stage-4
The climb back to Normality.
But parents do not need to despair for long, just a decade or so.
Eventually, as our kids get older, we, the parents, begin to get smarter. It’s true. They find that all those things about us that they derided and even ignored were based on skills and knowledge that they now needed to learn themselves in order to subsist in the real world.
The types of people we told them to stay away from really were dangerous or users or just wasted souls.
Their jobs and future promotions depended on their having a solid education covering a wide range of subjects.
Their futures depended on their developing experiences that we, their parents had developed in order to get ahead and enjoy a good life.
Suddenly, we, the Stupid and Unknowing parents were a useful source of information for them to grow into what they wanted to be.
And, thankfully, we parents regain our original IQ and are now looked upon as equals.
Whew, what a trip.
by Don Bobbitt, 2013
Copyright, Don Bobbitt, 2013, All Rights Reserved