12 Most Exasperating Responses Teens Bestow on Their Parents

12 Most Exasperating Responses Teens Bestow on Their Parents

Surviving the teenage years is something every parent must go through, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. Sometimes it softens the blow when we try to find the humor in this difficult phase and hang onto our sanity in the process.

Below are 12 of the most exasperating responses teens bestow on their parents… and a little humor to help get you through the “oh-so-fun” teenage years.

1. Drop me off here

Parents wonder: Why do I work so hard trying to stay fit, dress nicely, and drive decent cars? This phenomenon begins to occur in middle school, where parents go from being ok to basically clueless and embarrassing.

2. Everyone has one

Everyone? How about _______? Well, maybe not him, but everyone else. Note to self: Call that mother and thank her for sticking to her guns!

3. Silence *chirp*

After getting no response from asking the same question over and over, one wonders if there is a hearing impairment involved. Then it comes — the almighty “Huh?” You may now cross shopping for hearing aids off your to-do list.

4. Can we order pizza?

Pizza is the solution to every problem in every teen’s book. Sometimes I will admit to taking the easy way out and following with this request. So much for staying fit…

5. I can’t find it

Usually translates to “I haven’t really looked, will you look for me?” It happens with car keys on a regular basis in my house. My teen is amazed. but not overly thankful, when I easily find the lost item, usually found in plain sight. Maybe a trip to the eye doctor is in order? Get the to-do list back out.

6. There’s nothing to eat in this house

Did you know Americans could probably eat for months just on the food found in their pantries, fridges, and freezers? If that doesn’t work, try the starving children in Africa route…

7. Blank stare

Anyone home? The eyes point towards you but the brain is clearly not involved. This is when you cleverly announce a new baby is on the way, we won the lottery, or some other majestic event. Wait 10 seconds and then proceed to ask your question again.

8. What’s for dinner, mac and cheese?

I’ve been told mac and cheese covers several food groups. Tell that to Michelle Obama!

9. Fine!

Such a positive word and sensitive response, unless it involves eye-rolling, which it usually does. Was that fine, yes or fine, no? Fine, ok? Fine, whatever!

10. Mumble…

Better than nothing, but what was that? Shall we add speech therapist to the appointment list?

11. I’ll do it later

Later today or later this week or later next month? Who knew the word “later” could have so many meanings. I’ll worry about that one later.

12. I heard you, but I wasn’t listening

This one takes the cake, in my opinion. Often said with cell phone in hand, you get a response but no real communication has taken place. The STOP, DROP, and FOCUS method works well in this case, but might involve a crow bar and piercing stare.

Living with teenagers will most assuredly give you a few new gray hairs, but ingesting a huge dose of patience each morning, with an “I love you” chaser, does make it tolerable. Teens are hungry for our love, even though it may seem like pizza and text messages rule their lives. Mac and cheese, anyone?

Have you survived a teenager? What are your best tips?

Featured image courtesy of martinak15 licensed via Creative Commons.


Monica Matthews


Monica Matthews is the Scholarship Expert at CollegeExpertPanel.com and author of How To Win College Scholarships. When her oldest son was a senior in high school and applying to his dream school, she panicked at the thought of paying the high cost of his college tuition. Instead of relying on loans, Ms. Matthews spent her time researching what it takes to win college scholarships and developed a unique method of applying that set apart her son’s applications. As a result, he won over $100,000 in scholarship money, allowing him to go to college for free. She now devotes her time and talents helping other parents and students learn how to create winning scholarship applications.

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My youngest used to have what I called the "trifecta response" which consisted of a foot stomp, eye roll along with an exasperated sigh. For extra drama, the sigh could evolve into a teeth clenched growl. Calling her out on it went ignored. Finally out of desperation one day I echoed back with the exact same trifecta while saying...UGH, I love you so much but you make it so hard sometimes! Luckily, the first time I tried this I looked so ridiculous that I got such a huge laugh. Luckily that laugh carried over and helped defuse future arguments. 

My dad had an awesome comeback for the line..."but everyone has one". He's say.."Great - Then save your money so that we can go buy one for you". Guess that's where I got my Parenting humor/sarcasm, must be hereditary.


These common teen responses have to resonate with most parents of teenagers. Having worked with teens and families for over 30 years, I have heard these many times. But what can a parent do when confronted with them. I recommend that parents cock their heads to the side and look at their teen like the dog in that old RCA commercial with the phonograph. Then smile a knowing smile and love them for all that they are and not for what they are not. Nice article. For parents of teens who want a wonderful resource, check out my book, Ten Tips to Tame Your Teen: Strategies That Work! at Amazon.com.

Susie Moyer Watts
Susie Moyer Watts

As a private college counselor and the parent of five adult children, the one I would add to this list is, "Everyone else is going." I still get the "There's nothing to eat in here. It looks like Grandma's refrigerator."


For the record, my kids are currently 21, 18, and 11.  Calgon!!!!!!!  :)


I charged up my glass of white wine (an essential part of the teen survival kit!) before reading your article as I thought I might need it & I was right! I smiled - knowingly - at 11 of your points (our 15 year old won't eat pizza, won't even try it!) & nodded my head in agreement. So far I think we've gotten off relatively lightly but the worst may be yet to come... & then we'll have his younger brother in hot pursuit, who I suspect may give us more 'attitude'! Now, where's that wine?!!

Sharon Greenthal
Sharon Greenthal

Number six was always the most irritating thing for me to hear. I mean, are you KIDDING?


I think (and it's a while since I had teens!), that 'Whatever...' must be pretty annoying!



@Susie Moyer Watts @RayErickson 

Thanks Susie. Times have changed. I remember Grandma having great stuff in the refrigerator. Don't blame the teen, their taste, literally is undeveloped. Have a wonderful day.