Tiptoe Through the Turnips: How You Talk to Teens

Fisheye Teenager

There are some things  a parent  really fears hearing  from a teen, like “I’m pregnant,” “I wrecked the car,” or “I got busted.”  Figuring out the mind of a teenager is as easy as trying to shove toothpaste back in the tube. From eye-rolling to back-talking, teens push parents’ buttons.   My buttons have been pushed so many times that they’re broken and I might as well have an “Out of Order” sign on my forehead.  At times, raising a teenager can seem as hopeless as owning a Porsche dealership in Detroit.

I  watched a pundit on a  show today who said the answer is to talk to your teens.   Easier said then done.  The language teens talk  keeps morphing into something else.  I heard my daughter speaking to her friend on her cell phone last night  saying, “DUDE…I just got “chirped.” What am I  doing raising  birds? Getting “chirped,”  in case you’re wondering, is being called out on something.  The “dude” part really bugs me since she was talking to another girl.  Shouldn’t it be “dudette” instead?  But that hasn’t caught on.  “Greycation”  means the  grandparents are coming on vacation.  Moody, snotty, texting teens  can be very snide.  But if you get called “a beast” you haven’t been insulted.  It now means that you’re good at something, not that you’re the Loch Ness monster.

If  you catch them saying “my bad” it means a teen was bad.   Everytime I get a phone call in the middle of the night I fear I’m going to hear something bad.   You just have to suck it up and learn to sleep with one eye open.  Unfortunately, there is no expiration date on being a mother.  When you don’t fall asleep, you sit there with insomnia wondering  why your four children can’t  share a bathroom without arguing, when six kids did on The Brady Bunch and they didn’t even have a toilet?

The age spread between my kids just makes matters worse.  I have had to raise a  baby while dealing with teens.  I’ve  had to listen to baby talk of  goo-goo, gaa-gaa where I don’t have a clue what my child is saying, and at the same time  attitude and middle school drama from a teen daughter.  “It’s not troll Mom, it’s TROLLING!” the baby who is now a tween herself sharply corrects me referring to a new phenomenon on the internet where teens now send troll faces to their friends as a prank.  When I ask for a better explanation, I get sassed.  “Get over yourself Mom, you don’t know anything,” she informs me instead of explaining.  When she doesn’t want to practice her viola for orchestra she calls it “dorkestra.”

I’ve lived through this teen stage.  There is nothing that can surprise me.  You have to figure out what their words mean or you get left behind.  Teens believe that their friends are hip and that parents are as outdated as a 1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible collecting dust in the garage.

As a parent, you barely feel you’ve conquered  thumb-sucking, cleaned out the last Barbie doll with a missing  head from the toy chest, or finished your baby albums when your kids start growing up and testing you.  It’s starts with the “Terrible Twos” with “NO!”  and you just fast forward to the “Terribly Rotten Teens” with “NO!”  “I HATE YOU!” “YOUR THE WORST MOTHER EVER!”   I even got “chirped” by one of my kids last night. At the rate I’m going, it looks like this mother hen will serve worms for dinner tonight.

Here is an article and a post that I found  helpful when I couldn’t pry any more words out of my kids.  Check them out:

20 Examples of Slang Language – Your Dictionary

23 Words Teenagers Love To Use and What They Really Mean – Sam Stryker, BuzzFeed

Is anyone else having trouble talking to teens?  Do you know of a new way a word is being used?   What about punk or chump? I’d like to hear from you!!