Teen: You wanted to talk to me, Mom?
Mom: Sit down.
Teen: Did I do something wrong?
Mom (holding up evidence): You tell me.
Teen: Oh. That.
Mom: Yes, that. I am absolutely mortified by what you did.
Teen: I was just joking.
Mom: Why am I not laughing?
Teen: OK. Not funny. I get it. Can I go now? I’ve got stuff to do.
Mom: Sit down.
Teen: What now?
Mom holds up the evidence. Again.
Teen: We’re still talking about that?
Mom: You need to apologize. Now.
After hours of silence.
Mom: I’m still waiting.
Teen: Fine. I apologize if anyone was offended.
Mom: That’s not an apology!
Teen: Huh? Why not? I used the word apologize.
Mom (totally exasperated): An apology is a sincere expression of regret for what you’ve done. You have to show awareness of why your behavior crossed the line. You need to take responsibility for the harm you caused to others and start making amends immediately. A real apology demonstrates you’ve learned something important that you will use to help you become a more responsible person.
Teen: All that?
Mom: Yes. All that. Now, try again. And say it like you mean it.
Teen: (deadpan) I am not perfect. I have said and done things I regret. I was wrong. I apologize. I don’t want to talk about this any more. It is a distraction. Let’s talk about other things. Grieving mothers. Laid-off workers.
Mom: What are you talking about?
Teen: Don’t interrupt, Mom, I’m on a roll. (back to deadpan) Washington is broken. Change for America…
Mom: This is ridiculous!
Teen:… Bill is an abuser. Hillary is a bully.
Mom: You’re grounded.
Teen: You can’t do that, Mom. I’ve got plans for Sunday.
Mom: Go to your room.
Teen starts to storm off.
Teen: (turning, hopeful): Yeah?
Mom: Gimme your phone. No more tweeting.