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Teenagers Are Mean

Published online: May 03, 2024 Articles, Lifestyle Katie Burke
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I was watching TV with my two teenage girls and I made a comment about how brave of a choice a bikini was for a specific reality TV star to wear on national TV. 

As soon as it came out of my month, I saw my kids exchange a silent “look” between the two of them that basically suggested I had said we needed to take a potato peeler to a newborn baby as a form of infant sacrifice. 

Katie: What?

Bizzy: Nothing. 

Cami: Millennials. 

Oh. My. Goodness. Peeps. This was the exact moment I realized my kids think I’m some kind of outdated human who needs to start preparing for my push into a tarpit.  Just to be clear, I’m not a terrible person. The show we were watching stars a lady who self-proclaims her heaviness in the title of the program. It’s her whole schtick and she’s much richer than I, so good on her.   

Katie: I didn’t say she looked bad. I merely said it was brave.

Bizzy: Yeah, your whole generation is obsessed with looks. Like it’s a thing. 

Cami: Just so you know, Millennials are the reason eating disorders exist. 

I wish I could tell you we all had a good chuckle and moved on with our lives. But no, that’s not how a house full of girls works. 

Katie: Well, you know, it is called ‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life’ so this is not new information. And I never said she was fat, I merely said BRAVE.  

Bizzy: You need to stop using the “F”word. 

Katie: Fat?

Cami: It makes you sound like you value thinness as gauge for what’s pretty.

Bizzy: You know there’s more than one race, gender, sexual orientation and body type, correct? 

I wish I was making this up. I’m at the point in my life where my kids think they know more than I do. How did this possibly happen? 

Katie: Ummm, I just turned 40 and I’m not a moron. I know things and I know what the first amendment stands for so I’m going to continue to speak my mind, especially in the house that I single-handedly pay for. But thanks for sharing. 

Bizzy: We’re just trying to help you. 

Cami (complete with air quotes): When you go out into the world and “speak,” you represent all of us. Try to remember that. 

All of the years where I ran kids to dance class, paid for piano lessons, completed billions of loads of laundry and fed my kids without poisoning them flashed before my eyes. It’s true when they say you can’t buy good will. 

But I thought to myself, oh well, now is as good as time as any to double down. 

Katie: Fine. She’s fat. Now I said it so you can have something to be mad about. 

Bizzy: I thought you were better than that. 

Cami: Sigh, Mother. 

Teenagers are mean. They may think they belong to a generation of love and acceptance, but they don’t know that’s already been a thing. To them, the 1970 was a prehistoric time of people wandering around barefoot with leaves for clothing. These sweet little girls who used to tell me I was so cool now realize how problematic they think I am. While I still think a bikini is a brave choice for national television, I don’t think I will share it with my girls anymore. 

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I think my kids were right in saying I shouldn’t judge others because I don't know their lives and their struggles. But I didn’t want to let my kids know that, of course. Instead, I went with this. 

Katie: Well I still have a half vial of lip filler that I was going to share with one of you but not anymore. AND I think I’ll go to bed with the Internet router under my pillow BECAUSE I PAY FOR IT. SO TAKE THAT. 

And, that for the record, is how a girl house settles their disputes. Two of the three will gang up on the other one until pettiness is put on full display. 


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