First of all, it is not “your teenager” and if that is how you view the teenager, you’ve totally lost. Second, remember the ultimate truth that you knew when you were a teenager and that “your” teenager knows now: Teenagers know things that adults don’t understand. Most adults think this is something you “grow out of” but really, it is something that is ruined by getting old. So just keep that in mind.
But that isn’t really what I wanted to blog about.
I was just sent this post on “how to speak teenage” (which should really be called teenagerese) and as an anthropologist (who studies rocks) I have decided that I can do better. So here are parts of the original posts with my corrections.
In each case, there is the phrase (the thing the teenager says) and its definition followed by the response recommended by the Yahoo site which I shall call “Yahoo-ese.” My correction are in italics.
1. ) “Whatever”
- An expression that implies that a teen may give in but is not really interested in what is being said
- An attempt to be dismissive in as few words as possible.
Yahoo-ese: Leave this alone. Do not let your own concern that your teen may be less than thrilled create an unnecessary controversy.
Correct response: “And, yeah …”
2.) “And, yeah…”
- A phrase often used just as a teen is getting to the main point of a story.
- This phrase serves to deflate or minimize the importance of the main point…
Yahoo-ese: This is an opportunity to respond in an interested and neutral manner. “I am interested in the rest of the story if you feel like telling me now or later.”
Correct response: “Whatever”
- I will reluctantly consent, but not with pleasure.
- An intentionally vague description used when teenager clearly has no interest in providing further detail.
Correction: This term is only used in the Upper Midwest, and it is used by everybody who lives there all the time. The defintion is otherwise correct.
Yahoo-ese: None needed. You have made your wishes known.
Correct Response: “Thanks a lot”
4.) “I hate you”
- An expression used to convey anger at the moment.
- An expression meant for ‘shock value’ in an effort to secure ‘alone time.’/ A last ditch effort to get you to give in.
Suggested Parental Response: “I’m sorry you’re upset, but that isn’t going to change my answer.”
Correct Response: “Fine”
5) “Thanks” or “Thanks a lot”
- When said sarcastically, a simple expression of anger and/or disappointment.
Yahoo-ese: “Sorry, when you’re ready to talk to me maybe we can come up with some other fun things to do bla bla bla.”
Correct Response: “I hate you.”
That is all.