Teens today are speaking a different language than their parents. Some might even consider it a foreign language. Just talk to them as a young adult in your own words. Don’t start using their slang language as a way to their heart. That will probably turn them away faster than Brussels sprouts.

Do you think my articles are “fetchin?” You might answer with “toats mcgoats” or “word,” and some people reading this article might not have a clue what we’re talking about.


Teens today are speaking a different language than their parents. Some might even consider it a foreign language. It’s not really that surprising or new for teens to use words their parents can’t understand. Isn’t that the point?


Remember terms like “groovy,” (cool) “Can you dig it?” (Do you understand?) and “boogie” (dance)?  They aren’t that different from today’s slang terms like “mackin the biddies” (courting young ladies) and “my bad” (sorry, that was my fault). Where do they come up with that stuff?


Pop culture experts say that much of today’s teen jargon stems from rap songs, but slang expressions have been around for a long time. There are a variety of reasons why teens develop their own language, and much of it, I believe, has to do with independence.


In all other areas of their life, teens are dependent on other people. They need to borrow the car. They need money to go to the movies. They need a ride to practice. There isn’t a whole lot they have that they can call their own, except this secret language.


Of course this makes it more difficult for parents to communicate with their children. It’s already hard enough once they become teenagers to keep the words flowing horizontally. It’s mostly vertical, with parents telling teens what to do and them replying by grunting one-word responses. Trying to carry on a conversation with your teen can be challenging, but it can be done.


I think it’s important not to spend so much time trying to figure them out or figure out what they’re saying. Rather, just talk to them as a young adult in your own words. Don’t start using their slang language as a way to their heart. That will probably turn them away faster than Brussels sprouts.


Teens will tell you that adults have already taken over Facebook. Let them have their covert lingo. Another way to communicate with them is through knowing their interests. Discover what those are so that you have common ground on which to stand.


Don’t think you have to wait until there is a one or two window of opportunity to talk. Some of the best conversations with your teen might take place within a five- to 10-minute period. On the way to practice. Waiting in the car to pick up a sibling. In the waiting room at the doctor or dentist office. Seize the moments that might not seem idyllic, but ideally may be the only chance you have that day to connect with your kids. Prepare by having some specific questions ready that relate to them.


Talking is an important element of your relationship with your teen, but it’s not the only one. Play a game with him. Go shopping with her. Ask them about the paper they’re writing. Find a way to reach your teen either by an impromptu chat or finding an activity to share.


Parents of older children will tell you to act now because time goes by quickly. One minute they’re in kindergarten, and the next minute they’re graduating high school. Don’t wait to relate.


By the way, pop culture experts say what’s more embarrassing to teens than adults using their lingo is … dancing in front of them. Boogie down!


Dan Seaborn is a non-denominational Christian Evangelist and a published author of such books as "The Necessary Nine: How to Stay Happily Married for Life!" He is the founder of Winning at Home Inc., a ministry that focuses its attention on the relationships between a husband and wife and between parents and their children. He is a staple speaker for Promise Keepers, a Christian Evangelical ministry dedicated to uniting men to become positive influences in the world.