Posted by: Ofer Aronskind | June 18, 2009

Teenage Boys

With a teenage son at home it’s like having a 24 hour critic. Except this critic doesn’t critique movies or restaurants, shows or books. He only critiques one thing and one thing only—ME. I have become a full-time job for him. Sometimes I sit and try to remember the exact moment when my biggest fan became my loudest critic

“Dad,” he says in that teenager-half-stutter-annoyed-with-the-world voice, “you’re not really going to wear that are you?…I have friends coming over.”

“Dad, you’re not seriously thinking of buying that car right?…I’m going to be driving in a couple of years.”

“Dad, you didn’t just say that did you?”

The criticism always takes on the same shape and tone. As if the possibility of my liking or enjoying or wearing something he disapproves of is beyond his comprehension. I can see him eyeing my every move and analyzing my every gesture looking to dredge up new material. If he sees me reading the paper or watching the news he’ll solicit my opinion on something just so he can take up the opposite position. But I’m onto him. In this regard, I have begun asking him what he thinks first, then no matter what he says I’ll agree. Pretty hard to argue with someone who shares your viewpoint. But believe me, a teenage boy can still find a way.

Luckily for me, it’s a stage (or so I’m told). He’ll grow out of it….soon I hope. It’s comforting to me. But then, I look just past him at the dinner table and see his two younger brothers.


  1. You can always count on Mark Twain for an appropriate comment: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

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