Nothing makes you feel older than listening to preteens speak. From eye rolls, grunts and slamming doors to unexpected hugs, tweens and teens are hard to predict and understand at times. They are talking slang and the meanings have changed just to keep us on our toes. From music to social media, there are many outlets constantly creating new slang terms. But what happens when we can’t translate the actual words they are saying?
Learning New Slang
“Slay”, “Rizz”, “Glizzy” and “Bop”. These are only a few terms my middle schooler uses in his daily vocabulary. Slang words are constantly evolving, and it can be difficult for parents like me to keep up. As a parent, it is important to be aware of the language your children are using to communicate with their peers.
The other day, after watching a YouTube video about slang kids are using these days, I realized that maybe not all moms and dads of preteens know what the heck their kids are saying when they are talking or texting. They speak in code you know? Not that I’m an expert but, unlike most parents who don’t actually work in social media, I do know some things. FYI, fleek is no longer on fleek so keep that phrase out of your mouth.
Slang words can have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used. As a parent, it’s important to understand the context in which these words are being used and to have an open and honest conversation with your kids about them. Using slang words can be fun and a way to connect with your kids, but it’s also important to use them appropriately. Using slang words in the wrong context or using them too frequently can come across as inauthentic and may even cause your kids to feel embarrassed or annoyed.
Keeping Communication Open
For me, it’s easy to overreact when I hear Cohen using slang words that I don’t understand or that I perceive as inappropriate. I try to remember that it’s important to remain calm and to have a conversation with him about why he is using the words and what they mean. Jumping to conclusions or punishing him for using slang language may cause him to shut down and may make it harder to communicate in the future. Cohen and I have a pretty open relationship. He still likes me on most days. Though that is not my main concern in parenting, I’d love it if one day we could be friends but for now, I’m his mom. I am still trying to understand preteen slang meaning. This will not only help me communicate with him, but it will also help me keep up with what’s going on in his life.
Communication between us is an ongoing process with a variety of styles and mixed results. And no matter how hard I try, there will be times when my kids feel understandably misunderstood.
My attempts to have ongoing communication with my children is a bumpy ride. The best I can do is offer a safe place for them to tell me their stories and share what’s important to them–even if it’s a video game or anime series that is not in my wheelhouse of solitaire and Hallmark movies.
I am embracing the fact that language is changing, and my children bring creativity and innovation to my daily life.
Babies & Toddlers