A PARENTAL GUIDE TO TEEN SPEAK

Language never stops evolving. And the dictionary never stops expanding. This powerful tool called ‘communication’ is one we rely on immensely in life.

But as we patiently taught our toddlers to cutely say ‘bye bye’ or ‘moo cow,’ who knew we would one day end up mourning this landmark in their development, as we today witness them attempting to string together a coherent sentence as they merely baffle or confuse us in ‘tongues’.  

So, if you are struggling to decipher ‘teen lingo’ and terminology, here’s my Top Ten guide to help you:

1. “2 Secs” (alternatives include: “just a min” or “yep coming”)

Don’t be fooled by this auto-pilot response. It does not mean 2 seconds. It does not even mean 2 minutes or even 2 hours to be fair. Invariably it means “I haven’t heard anything you have said but I guess you want me to do something but if I reply in this way, you will leave me alone to continue watching a TikTok of a guy flipping a water bottle.”

2. “I’m hungry”

Often said whilst shuffling and huffing in front of the fridge Kevin-style, siphoning snacks whilst simultaneously complaining there’s nothing to eat. In reality “I’m hungry” can often mean “I’m bored” or “I’m too lazy to make anything healthy or substantial so I will simply graze for the next few hours on whatever I can find without too much effort.”

3. “Get out of my room”

Actually, this does just mean “get out of my room.” Like seriously, how dare you even enter? Anyone would think you actually own the place?

4. “You can drop me here”

This means “DO NOT!” I repeat “DO NOT drop me anywhere near my friends. They must not know I have parents or even worse that you have given me a lift. I wish to appear independent as if I have walked the 10k from my house in a 3-day snow blizzard.”

You can however drop them right at the door if no one is around to witness the parental taxi service. Because then their little darling legs are often strangely too weak to manage the 100-metre distance to the entrance.

5. “I’m not cold” 

Similar to above. Basically means “I do not wish anyone to know I own, let alone wear, a coat.” It seems that a t-shirt and a hoody is fine for anything above and below freezing point.  And please, never, ever mention the word ‘vest’ or ‘layers.’ It will simply be met with a disdainful look.

6. “Nah”

 This means ‘no’

7. “Uh” 

This means ‘yes’

The two above can often sound remarkably similar. So, LISTEN CAREFULLY or if you misunderstand it can cause all manner of agitation. And do not, under any circumstances, ask for a clarification of response. My advice – take an educated guess and go with it. From experience 90 per cent of the time the answer is ‘nah’

8. “Meh” 

This word is so popular it does actually exist in the dictionary and is an expression of boredom or apathy. For your teen it can be used in multiple situations in response to various questions about their life. In particular it is a pretty much standard response to this one: “How was school today?”

9. “Doing it!”

Often used following the questions: “Have you done your homework?” or “Have you cleaned your room?”  We are so often fooled by this one as it is what we, as parents, WANT to hear. Unfortunately saying it and actually ‘doing it,’ are two vastly different things. Invariably 99 per cent of the time they are not ‘doing it’ and have no plans to ‘do it’ at all, unless accompanied by a) threats b) begging and/or c) bribery

10. “I know” (often accompanied with an eye roll)

Probably the most common phrase for all teens and often used to interrupt you saying practically anything and roughly translates as “please don’t lecture me, advise me, nag me, tell me something or talk to me, because I either know this stuff or don’t have a diddly squat clue but the last thing I want to hear is you telling me about anything at all.”  It’s basically the verbal equivalent of ‘talk to the hand’.

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