What Did They Just Call Me?

Post Written: July 15, 2020

Parents, talking to our kids can be awkward and confusing, especially when trying to understand new and ever-changing lingo. While it is necessary for parents to be well informed of mainstream culture, we do not need to try and sound or look like it. Talking differently than our kids do does not mean there has to be a divide. It is an opportunity to fill that generational gap with conversation. What we believe is more important is being consistent with showing genuine interest in the lives of our kids. We will never understand our kids if we are not having open, honest conversations with them. Both quality AND quantity.

Gen Z may seem confusing and at times irreverent which makes it tempting to dismiss much of what they say. Even so, let's not assume the motives of why our kids are using certain words and phrases. Take the time to explain the heart and motives behind what you say and let's dig deeper by talking to our kids about the words they use and why.

A good place for parents to gauge how their kids are communicating with their friends is to monitor your kid's text conversations.  Help your children understand you are there to provide, protect, and prepare them for life, and one of the ways that you do that is to monitor what content is coming in and what is going out.  You should find what works best for you and your family to monitor their phones as much as you see fit.  A good standard is a bi-weekly check and with random check-ins sprinkled in. 

Here are some key terms to keep an eye out for. Some may be harmless while others are major red flags:

  • BAE: Before Anything Else or the person you are dating.
  • Ship: Short for relationship
  • Cancel: To cut someone out of life
  • 9: In text telling others that parents are watching
  • GNOC: Get Naked on Camera
  • KMS/KYS: Kill My Self/Kill Your Self
  • Smash: Have casual sex

Conversation Starter:

  • For younger kids (elementary and younger):
    • What do you think they mean when they say that in that movie/song?
    • Do you ever hear your friends say something that you do not understand?
  • For older kids:
    • How have your friends interacted with the opposite sex in positive ways? What about negative?
    • Do you think most of your peers treat each other with respect when it comes to flirting/sex/relationships?
    • How do you think that a text could be hurtful to someone?
    • What do you think they mean when they say that in that movie/song?

Encouragement: You have nothing to lose by being direct and honest with your kids about how you have conversations, especially if you keep the conversation going long-term and create a culture of openness. Your kids need the wisdom you have. If you are willing to be proactive about how you approach talking with your kids, you have a phenomenal opportunity to position yourself as the one who shapes them as they grow older into those that can make great decisions on their own. 

Your kids are listening, speak the truth, and speak it often.

Additional Resources:

Check out our Youtube Why Wait...Parent Tips Videos. 
Parent and Teen Communication

Here is another great resource from our friends at Axis.org
Axis Parent Guide to Teen Slang (2020 Edition)

Ricky Franco
Ricky Franco

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