Children and young people have always delighted in creating their own languages and finding ways of communicating that their parents don’t understand. In the fifties, teenagers would say “razz my berries” knowing their folks wouldn’t have a clue it meant getting interested or excited about something and confusing your elders is still seen as an essential skill by many young people. In the modern world of constant communication and social media influence, these slang terms catch on and spread seemingly overnight, but they also come and go far more quickly too.
Why do kids like using slang?
As children grow up, they form their own social groups and networks, and being able to share a language no-one outside the group understands can make them feel a part of something special and different. Young people grow away from the dependent relationships they have as young children and are likely to go through a phase of seeing their elders as something of a hindrance interfering with their freedoms. If you can communicate with your peers without adults understanding what you’ve said, it makes you feel clever and reinforces the idea that your elders are stupid and don’t understand you. This pulling away from the parents is a normal stage of development and will usually pass as the child matures.
How can you get to grips with your kids’ language?
It can be very frustrating for parents when they don’t understand what their child is saying, and this can lead to conflict. Your child will probably be thrilled that this is winding you up, but try and stay calm and remind yourself it’s just a developmental stage. If you want to get to grips with the slang terms that are doing the rounds, a quick internet search should provide you with some definitions. You can also see what’s happening with trends in slang by going to a website like lolhit.com that analyzes the use of slang terms and catchphrases. It is a good idea to know what current slang terms mean, just in case your child is using offensive or unpleasant references, so you can step in and dissuade them from saying anything unsavory.
There’s a temptation to want to use the same language as your kids when you’ve found out what their slang terms mean, but it’s best to resist. If your kids know you understand them, they’ll simply find or invent new ways of communicating that baffle you anew. They will not be impressed by your new-found knowledge either, and parents who start using the same slang terms as their kids are generally seen as being very uncool indeed.
Try not to worry about the slang your child is using, as there is little you can do to stop them and any efforts to do so are likely to be met with resistance. That’s not to say you shouldn’t maintain standards of communication at appropriate times, such as social occasions and family mealtimes, just don’t get too hung up on the way they speak with their friends. In general, it’s best to stop sweating the small stuff and try and stay frosty, hang loose and chillax.
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