I don’t consider myself an “expert” in any way. But with 45 years combined experience (19+16+10) parenting 3 boys, I have learned a thing or two. And by today’s measurable standards I’ve done a decent job. They make good grades. They have reasonable standards of hygiene. None of them has been to juvey.
So (after I pat myself on the back) let me share with you a little of the wisdom I’ve gained.
Teenage boys only give their undivided attention to one thing: video games.
When there’s a controller in their hands, they can block out anything. Parents calling, little brothers screaming, phones ringing. I pray the house never catches on fire while Slick is playing Call of Duty. He’d be a goner. I even saw The Trailblazer’s girlfriend on a Skype screen competing for his attention while he was playing FIFA. She lost. They get hypnotized by the pixels on the screen like deer staring into headlights. (A few days ago I thought about throwing the main breaker and telling them there was a power outage just to get their attention. But it was too hot to be without the A/C, so I had to shrug off that idea.)
Once you get past video games on the Needs pyramid, everything else comes with an underlying distraction: thinking about girls. The chart is self-explanatory from that point forward.
The tiny space at the top of the pyramid is what remains of their former dependence on us. As they rely less on mom and dad for other things, the remaining contact is only for the purposes of bonding (us) and asking for money (them). They want to spend as little time with their parents as possible, preferably not in public.
So those of you with teenage boys in your life, study this chart carefully, and save yourself a lot of grief. Don’t get your feelings hurt when they bail on having dinner at home in favor of hanging out with friends. Don’t think you understand what motivates them. Don’t speak to them in public. And make sure the smoke alarms in your house are loud enough to be heard over COD.
I’m sure Dr. Maslow would agree with me.