Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teens, dialogue, and TMI

I participate in two carpools with two families involving six kids from the ages of 11-14. It's all I can do to remember whose turn it is to pick up whom at what time. You should see my's crazy.

But I wouldn't trade those moments in the car for any amount of money. My sons are growing way too fast, and I gobble up those concentrated moments between here and there.

The most tender moments are those between me and my 14-year-old son, just the two of us, discussing life, girls, classes, dreams. The craziest moments? When I've had six JV football players stuffed in my car, gear bags and all (pre-practice, so my nose was lucky).

Real conversation, I kid you not:

"Dude, are you wearing your cup?"
"Yeah, you?"
"In your strap?"
"Nah, in my girdle."
"Dude, it'll move around in there."

*invisible mommy driver blushes*

As a YA writer, this type of dialogue is the treasure Indiana Jones would wrestle snakes for. And it's interesting to hear how different the boys talk when girls are in the car--and how much Axe body spray is used in the process.

Carpooling reminds me that today's kids have many of the same concerns we did:
  • Capturing the attention of the person they're crushing on
  • Peer pressure/trying to fit in
  • Worries about homework
  • Balancing the precarious social life at school
It's also interesting to note the things modern teens worry about that we didn't:
  • Will that embarrassing text be forward to everyone?
  • How could she post that on Facebook? Doesn't she realize it's now public?
  • I'm only 14, do I really need to know what I want to do with the rest of my life?
As a writer, my ears are perked up and listening. As a mom, I'm enjoying every mile.

Can you add something that today's teens are concerned about? Or have you overheard some funny/interesting/crazy teen dialogue? Please share!


  1. I listen to my daughter's conversations. She worries about boys, of course, what to wear, where to go. She's also looking forward to the "college" experience, so that's a plus.

  2. Those times are indeed priceless! I love listening to the kids :)

    Sadly some of the kids in my school worry about their parents' jobs and money, food. And then there's always skin to worry about too!

  3. That's hilarious. Our children do grow up fast. I love spending time with mine.

  4. Jemi, that is a sad reality these days, and an excellent reminder of what these kids are going through.

  5. LOL, the Axe body spray really resonates with me. The aroma from it is so strong on the days my 18 year old sees his girlfriend that it burns my throat.

    In regard to the dialogue, my ten year old uses a few more "dudes" and "Likes" in his sentences, but otherwise, you nailed it.(:

  6. That was such a funny post, Julie. I had no idea that kids talked like that...invisible mom, that's classic.

    The whole social network worries are a reality now aren't they?
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  7. LOVE that picture! Love the topic too. Hope your boys don't read your blog. LOL. I have heard so many funny things in that car... Oh man. You couldn't make this stuff up!

  8. my son is grown now but I remember him and his friends bantering while playing mario cart. it was all I could do not to lmao. The good natured dissing back and forth between them, some of it quite naughty I might add! And yes, the overpowering smell of whatever spray...omg where was his sense of smell!

  9. OMGoodnight! I laughed so hard at this post. I can't really help you with the conversation part of things as my oldest is my only teen yet and he is the strong and silent type. (A trait I have learned to adore and despise at the same time.) But I can say I wonder at the knowledge that sometimes they MUST think adults don't have ears.

  10. My kids are toddlers, so this stuff is golden. Keep it coming, lol.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  11. Speaking as a teenage girl...

    COLLEGE ANXIETIES. Gah. Too busy with things we have to do when there are plenty of things we just WANT to do...

    And honestly? At times, frustration with adults. Because at times, like when your teachers wear more revealing skirts than the kids, or they scream at the top of their lungs over some trivial manner, we really do think that they're lacking in common sense. Every once in a while, whether it's true or not, we see solutions to problems that adults just don't seem to get. *shrug* That's one thing I noticed that you didn't seem to mention here...

  12. Yay for the teenage perspective! Thanks for adding your thoughts. A teacher wearing a shorter skirt than students? Ick! And the college pressure you guys are under is heavy-duty.

  13. Some short skirts may have been thrown in there, too, but also... Longer skirts split all the way up her thigh. And 'hooker' heels. And telling all her students that she used to be an 'exotic dancer'. o.O Granted, she is a very, VERY odd teacher, but... Still.

    I've also heard people acknowledge what teachers are sexist, or homophobic, or just plain gonna-snap-and-kill-somebody-someday.

    Or everyone will throw a fit when some dumb decision gets made - canceling school during light snowfall, or KEEPING school when every other school in the area was cancelled, for instance.

    Basically, we DO notice when adults do things that we think are dumb. And we talk about it. XD

    And yeah, college pressures suck. And everyone says, "No big deal, you can change your major later" etc. etc. etc. But that doesn't stop you from feeling like it's all permanent anyway...

    *shrug* :]

  14. Briliant! Research and giggling at the same time. Glad mine aren't that old yet though. My 5 yr old is more concerned with whether or not Clifford the big red dog is a girl or a boy and if it's a girl where is the giant puppy lol.

  15. I'm not sure which would be worse - a carload of after-practice football players or after-Axe-usuage boys! That stuff reeks.

  16. Def. the pressure to have the newest and best technology. The kids without texting are kind of left on the sidelines, even when they are all in the room together!

  17. Oh, this is great. My moments are when i am around the corner on the computer, as our good television, like me, is confined to the basement. A couple weeks ago daughter had her boyfriend and son had a friend, all watching a movie--it really was priceless (the boyfriend is 18 (daughter is 16) and so the questions from the 13 year old boys... Uh boy...)--

  18. I admit to sitting next to a table of teens more than once to soak in their banter. It's very educational. I agree they have tech pressures we didn't have to deal with. My friend's daughter was having a melt down because she was FB unfriended by a guy she was crushing on. I think Twitter is full of tweets that didn't get filtered by a teen brain before they were unleashed.

  19. Oh, I remember those days. The best. We would take our three teenage daughters on road trips with three friends... six teenage girls in the car gabbing, a sleeping husband and this invisible mom driving... they forgot I was there, and we had so much fun. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to re-visit the moments of my past. Nice memories!!

  20. LOL, Julie, I can't wait for those days. I crack up now when listening to my 10yo talking with his friends. And the 7yo with her friends is even funnier. I know I've got some good stuff coming, and believe me, I'll be listening during those car rides!

  21. Man, that's rich! I'm not quite to that point yet, since my oldest is ten, but I also enjoy times in the car with my kids. Although since all five of them are stuffed in a minivan, there's a lot more fighting between them than actual conversation most of the time. Does that change? Probably not, right?

    Great post!

  22. LOL! Omg, so so true, and I'm way jealous. I stumbled across a FB exchange btw a bunch of teenage boys, friends of my BFs little sister, ragging on each other, and it was HILARIOUS!

    good stuff. Future dialogue ideas~ :D

  23. Ahhh.. loved this post... it's so true! But it's great insight into the teenage mind, isn't it?? :D

  24. OMG I'm dying to be a fly on the ceiling in your carpool. What gems!

  25. As Art Linletter once said, "Kids say the darndest things."

  26. Ah, I miss those good old days. My boy drives his own car now, attends college at the age of 16. His concerns are too adult for a kid his age. I wish I could recall those precious moments better. Hold onto them while you can!