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Responding to stupid questions with humor and grace

AngryRainFrog's picture

I often say of interacting with stepkids when you neither have nor want children, that it's like learning a foreign language. Kids are utterly perplexing to me. Their brains are working, but not in the way ours are, and not all that well.

So how do you respond to stupid questions like...

"where do I put the milk?"

"what should I do with this dirty rag?"

"is the washing machine cycle over?"

"is the dishwasher dirty or clean?"

"where is the dog?"

all this from humans over the age of 13.

when I get 30 plus questions like this a day I tend to start to short out and get really snappy and mean because WHY THE LIVING F*** DO YOU NEED ME TO ANSWER THIS FOR YOU??

But that's mean. And I don't want to be mean. What scripts do you use for this when you're about to spend the rest of the day at the local bar just to avoid the stepkids? 

FWIW, I'm considering using the blanket statement "why don't you decide for yourself" since that seems to be one of the major life skills this generation is lacking. 

sportslover's picture

Defiitely say that.  At 13 WE WERE the babysitter/authority figure making those decisions without adults round or stupid cell phones to ask anyone questions about everyday living. Jesus, why does everyone do this to their kids nowadays (not you, I am talking about these teens/ near adults who are like 5 year olds)?  

Cruel, really. No wonder they all lack any real confidence and are scared of everything, (like getting a freaking driver's license, wheres we RAN to the DMV on the 16th b-day). You only develop that by getting it from within, not from people simply telling you are are great for breathing.

Say it, or just "figure it out, you are x years away from being an adult"'ll be doing a bigger favor than if you gave them 50K. I'm with you, that kills me and the local  bar would have myself planted on a barstool:)

StepUltimate's picture

The "no drivers license/not driving" millennial thing is insane- my 1st DMV test was the soonest appointment they had the week of my 16th birthday and I was stoked to be finally driving! Yet SS18 has no license & isn't driving. Social development delay due to excessive lifetime facetime with movies, video games, and phone apps.

dysfunctionally_blended's picture

I don't respond AT ALL. I think these questions are really just blanket statements used for attention.  At least in our house. 

After a few non responses they tend to move on. I am at the point where they no longer try that with me Smile

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

To be fair I'll give them the dog one... I was looking for my furbabies the other day after I got home and I was asking DH the same thing... Apparently his brother decided to take them fishing with him? Funny since they love to swim and I doubt he got much done with them there... Other than that though... You think they'd be able to infer from what was going on around them...

Loxy's picture

Try having a SD with diagnosed ADD and aspergers type traits - it means she has no initiative or independence and doesn't absorb any information and so asks the same questions over and over again. She also asks a lot of very personal and tactless (sometimes offensive) questions too as I think that's her way of trying to understand human emotions because she's so limited emotionally herself.

I've honestly been asked some questions by her at least 50 times (no exaggeration) and it's soooooooooo annoying!

Rags's picture

I was a little more snarky in answering those types of questions when the Skid was at that stage.  My bride assures me that 'snarky" is an actual word though I give her crap that that it isn't. 


e.g. "Really? Are you actually asking me that question? Try observing, applying your brain, and figuring it out."

Lather, rinse and repeat as necessary.

Once they reach 16 I am all for not driving them anywhere. They can walk, take the bus, or get off their butts and get a drivers license and drive.  If they don't have a car at 16, depending on the dynamics involved,   they should be reminded that they could have gotten a job at 15 and saved the money to buy that car.....  if they are in a family that does not buy the kid a car at 16.  I did not own a car until I was 19 though I had a loaner during my Sr. year.  I attended boarding school for high school and couldn't have had have a car until my Sr. year when I became an Officer (it was Military School). 

I bought a motorcycle the summer of my Sophomore year and that was my transportation when I was at home.  That and the family car when my parents weren't using it.

We just spent a couple of evenings with the kid (SS-25) and we all laughed profusely when recounting stories of that time in our blended family life.

e.g. "Dad, the light is red, should I stop?"  ... I didn't say a word,he blew the light and damned near killed all three of us. He was 18 and had just received his DL.

There were several other examples of these types of antics that had us in stitches as we all recounted the stories while we were together last week. 


ESMOD's picture

I guess that these questions are probably just asked because they are lazy.  Going to FIND the dog is more work.. if you can just short cut it and tell them where to look.  The dirty vs clean dishwasher question I do understand as someone who has started to put away dishes only to realize about half way through that there were also dirty dishes in the machine... and at that point I can't remember every item I put away.. and did I put dirty stuff back iin the cupboard and not realize it...   Where do I put the milk?... unless you have two refrigerators..that is really odd.  What to do with a dirty rag.. depends on how dirty and what it was used to could be anything from rinse in the sink to throw it out..haha.



Kona_California's picture

On the other hand, however irritating the repeated questions are, it's showing they want to know how to do things correctly and feel good enough to turn to you with those questions. I think a little patience is called for in this case. You can point out the question isn't necessary without being snappy. If they ask "Where does the milk go?" you can say "oh it doesn't matter, wherever you see a spot" using a positive tone. You are serving as a teacher in a way. "Is the dishwasher dirty or clean?" I think is a really fair question which I ask my BF all the time hah. They also could be saying random things out of nervousness and are not sure how else to interact with you because they might pick up on you don't really like them. If this is the worst thing that sends you drinking, it can't be that bad :) 

Major Blunder's picture

Grand Skid 7 asks alot of questions but that's appropriate for the age, even tho sometimes she gets the "Are you friggin kidding me" look, the SDs don't even bother since the look they usually get is " Burst into Flames, Burst into Flames !!!!! " or just the "Damn you are truly useless "