WhatEVER

If you have ever had a teenager, if you have one now, or if you simply know a teenager, you have heard the word whatEVER waaay, waaay too much. It becomes the common response to EVERYTHING for a (thankfully) brief period of time…say, from age 11 to about 21. (31?) Often delivered with an eye roll, a foot stomp, and a perfectly dismissive tone of voice, whatEVER signals to the hearer that the speaker is finished with the conversation and has totally moved on. End of. Door closed. Don’t bother to knock.

Oh, the joys of raising kids!

In defense of the teens that we all raise and love, whatEVER also signals that your teen is overwhelmed, frustrated, distracted, and emotionally underwater. The dismissiveness is not always a lack of respect, as much as it feels like it. It is your kid’s way of saying, ”TOO MUCH. School is too much, social media is too much, my boy/girl friend issues are too much, the bullying at lunch is too much, my so-called-friends are too much, the pressures of hormonal life with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex are just TOO MUCH.” It’s perhaps in this moment that they need Mom and Dad the most, even with the strong-arm/push-away behavior that they are exhibiting.

And don’t be fooled…whatEVERness is not just restricted to teenagers. Look around your friend group, your workplace, and your community, and you’ll find someone choosing dismissive and off-putting behavior as a way to deal with their own TOO-MUCHNESS.

WhatIF we could turn their WhatEVERs into something lovely?

Philippians 4

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

When someone comes at you full bore and you get blindsided by their hostility, it is a good thing to pause and consider what else is happening. It’s also important to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, and pleasing about them. In other words, in the face of resistance, rebellion, and rudeness (whether from your kid or another adult) think to yourself: what is really going on? Is there ANY redeeming quality in this person (albeit not in this moment?)

If the answer is yes, take a deep breath and think about THOSE things. Then pray.

Someday, you will be glad that you did not overreact to your teenager’s hormones. Someday, you will be glad that you didn’t meet rudeness with rudeness. Someday that awful co-worker who was trying to undermine you may actually come back to apologize, and thank you for your graciousness.

And someday, that overwhelmed kid will be an overwhelmed parent of a teenager themself. And when that happens, and they come complaining to you about what their child just had the NERVE to say to them, you know what your response can be?

“WhatEVER!!!”

Whatever is Pleasing, Think on This by Michelle Robertson

2 comments

  1. lovelyredcardinal · 11 Days Ago

    Dear Betsy: Every parent should read the many reasons children respond that parents dislike and the parent becomes angry. With both parents working and situations with single parents, the entire family is overwhelmed with too much on all the plates and a gigantic explosion takes place followed by sulking, going into a funk, slamming doors and hateful actions with no problem solving in sight. They all hit a wall and fall. No wonder there are so many suicides in the USA which God has richly blessed. When we erase the ten commandments off the blackboards and remove God’s guidance from the beloved Shepherd, the sheep go astray and become hopelessly lost. Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.Thank you, Betsy, for all your thoughtful articles along with sprinkles of humor. They keep me optimistic for the day.       God Bless You,   Holly Rigg

    Like

  2. Flannelnerd · 9 Days Ago

    It’s important to recognize that Jesus treated everyone he encountered with compassion. He did not bind himself to any rigid set of rules, in fact he wished to erase that mentality. If He was having a bad day, you might have to work a little harder to prove yourself, something that speaks to His humanity, and something to apply in our own relationships.

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