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Parenting Teenagers: Translating Teen Speak

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If you are a parent with teenagers, one of the first things you need is a translator.

Parenting teenagers requires you to read between the lines of what your kids tell you to find out what is really going on.

By definition, a parent is embarrassing to a teenager and most teens like their privacy. This is a given, but it is also because parental supervision tends to get in the way of fun. So parents are provided with the least amount of information possible.

Translating teen speak can be challenging, but think of it as an adventure!

Like an anthropologist studying a different culture, you can understand the complicated language of teens if you keep two rules in mind:

Rule 1: All teenagers lie to their parents. Some teens are masters of deception while others fib a little. But all teenagers embellish the truth.

Rule 2: If you don't believe rule #1, you are in denial.

Here are some examples of Teen Speak and the Translation:

When a Teenager Says:
"I cleaned my room."

What this Really Means:
I cleared a path from the bed to the door.

When a Teenager Says:
"Can I have a couple of friends over?"

What This Really Means:
My friends are already here. There are ten kids here now, with more coming.

When a Teenager Says:
"I'm going to my room to do my homework."

What This Really Means:
I'm going to Skype my friends for hours discussing events of the day.

When a Teenager Says:
"YES Susan's parents will be home!"

What this Really Means:
I have no idea if the parents are going to be home. But if I'm convincing enough, you won't call Susan's parents to double check.

When a Teenager Says:
"Hello? Of course I was nice to my sister."

What this Really Means:
I didn't cause her bodily harm. This time.

When a Teenager Says:
"She SAID it was okay to borrow her jeans/shirt/insert clothing item here."

What this Really Means:
I asked her while she was sleeping if I could wear it and she didn't say no.

When a Teenager Says:
"We're not going to do much. Probably watch TV, do a little homework."

What this Really Means:
The minute your car leaves the driveway, ten kids are coming over.

When a Teenager Says:
"Don't you remember? You said it was okay if I went to Cabo for Spring Break."

What this Really Means:
It probably won't work but I'll give it a try anyway.

When a Teenager Says:
"Really? I can't BELIEVE you think I would DO that!"

What this Really Means:
I can't BELIEVE I'm caught. I'll stall until I can think of something.

When a Teenager Says:
"I heard about that wild party at Smith's house and I chose not to go."

What this Really Means:
I knew about the party. But I didn't go because you would ground me for being there. And because deep down, I knew I shouldn't be there. But I'll never tell you that.