Getting Past Monosyllable Answers When Talking to Your Teenage Son

Have you ever encountered this scenario?

Me/Mom: So how was school?

Arctic Boy: Fine.

Me: Did you find out about the details for your book report?

AB: Uh-huh.

Me: What?

AB: Yeah.

Me: Yeah, what?

AB: Yes, I found out about my book report.

I just stared at him for a few seconds, trying to figure out if he was doing this on purpose, but his body language was totally relaxed as he sat at my desk, just chillin’ with Mom for a minute after school. As I remembered something I had learned lately, suddenly I burst into laughter.

AB: What?

Me (still laughing): Okay. Here’s how it works. When a woman or girl asks you a question, usually it’s really a statement, and when she makes a statement, it’s really a question. So when I said, “Did you get the information you needed for your book report?” what I really meant was, “Tell me about what you have to do for your book report.”

AB, sitting back with eyebrows raised in revelation: Wow. That’s really true. Miss Sassy does it all the time.

Me: So, about the book report?

AB, laughing: The information for it is all online. I just have to go to the website the teacher gave me. – A question is a statement, that is so true.

Miss Sassy hears our laughter and comes in: I heard my name. What’s funny?

Arctic Boy tells her about the whole question is a statement, statement is a question when women speak concept.

Miss Sassy: Oh yeah. Of course. That’s absolutely right. (She says this as if it should be common knowledge.)

Now we are all laughing.

Me: I find I have a hard time giving a statement in situations where I usually ask a question. I had someone advise me to be more direct in a conversation I needed to have with your dad. I was more direct, but I could not for the life of me, do it with a statement. It just felt way too bossy and kind of snotty to me. Hard as I tried, I could not make my question/statement into a statement/statement. It was pretty revealing to me.

Miss Sassy: Yeah, it’s really hard. I can’t do it either. It just feels really rude to me.

So Moms and Wives,

Do you get frustrated by the one-word answers the male species in your lives give? Maybe you need to clarify this concept with them. It could make their lives much easier (and yours too) if everyone understood it.

Give it a try. I’d love to read your comments on how this works for you.

For a better explanation about how this works,

Check out this blog post here. This man’s book is an enlightening read and if you can convince your husband that reading it will make his life better and easier, make sure you read it too. You’ll learn a ton about yourself (and your mother, and your mother-in-law, and your daughters) and in a sideways fashion, you’ll learn about your husband and your sons. It’s worth every penny.

The Chinese Corollary To This

I got thinking later how the Chinese never say “Yes” or “No” when asked a question. Their language doesn’t even allow for it. Such directness is, to them, very rude. Their language asks “You want/not want something?” or “Is it good/not good?” or “You come/not come to visit me?”

I wonder if speaking English is to them very difficult when they have to use our blunt absolute terms, especially in negotiation.

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

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