So here are the 19 reasons why it's all my fault.
1. I'm a mother
2. I know nothing
3. They know everything
4. I was raised Catholic
5. I do not read thoughts
6. I walked in the room
7. I should have known there would be traffic
8. They're 'just a kid'
9. I push them too hard
10. I don't push them enough
11. I got the wrong toothpaste
12. I should have known they were in a bad mood
13. I didn't sign the permission slip at the bottom of their backpack
14. I should have checked their pockets for pens before doing the laundry
15. I didn't wake them up a fifth time
16. Because the bacon is too crispy
17. Because the bacon is too chewy
18. Because Nike Elite socks aren't the thing anymore
19. Because I have a pulse and I'm not them
It is always someone else's fault because admitting fault is admitting fallibility and fallibility is not an option when you're a teenager. Not because they think they are infallible, it is because they know how fallible they are. And that, my friends, is a fragility most of us still cannot bear. So much feels wrong to them that the relief of placing rather than accepting blame is the very definition of a coping mechanism.
So, I am happy to accept the occasional irrational blame to ease the yuck that is teenager-dom as long as I don't get caught in the Catch 22 of absolving them of accepting responsibility and reconciling with their fallibility.
Ok, now my brain hurts. This is like parental calculus. Know what they sub-textually need and also know what they actually need regardless of popularity. It's like the SAT's all over, eliminate the obvious and then guess. There's always a 50/50 chance I could be right; and there's a 100% chance it will all be my fault.