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Monday, December 19, 2011

Communicate With Teens??

What to do with these "strange" teenagers? They may be your children, the friends of your children, or your students; in any case, YOU have to deal with them. They have their own jargon, often so obscure that the best cryptographers are still trying to decipher it (LOL). If you don't understand LOL, you clearly have problems with teens. Same thing with the word "bad" which has a totally different meaning than the one we, the adults, the old ones, use. If you can understand the following, then you are cool: whitgrl24:omg y u bi disin n mi?  If you can't, welcome to the club!

eye-o5tz.jpg (148246 Byte) human  That's me trying to figure out my grand kids' language


On a more serious note, parents often face the open rebellion when they say "No, you can't go!" The problem in communication in this case is simple: When your teen daughter asks for your permission, she doesn't expect a No. It's what we call among English teachers a rhetorical question. Movies exploit that facet constantly to heighten the suspense: The girl ends up going to her room and sneaking out the first chance she has. A simple yes or no is not good enough; a father must try to discover the hidden message, such as "This boy digs me totally and I can't wait to party with him." Or, if it's a teen boy "This older dude invited me to make a man out of  me, he's got some cool stuff that he wants me to try."

 They don't know
Adolescents are clueless regarding the dangers that modern society hides under pretended social graces and activities. They may have heard about VD (Venereal Disease) but it's just a class they took; they cannot "own" it. It's never going to happen to them, just like condoms, adults talk about it, but it's just talk, "I know how to handle chicks. Besides, it's their fault if they get pregnant. Who knows how many guys they've been with?" Girls on the other hand have that strange competition among themselves: they want to get the hot guy, the football player, of basketball star, never the nerd that aces all his classes. Teen girls focus on physical appearance, not on intelligence or honesty. They are blinded by false social mores and, as a result, they'll pay the consequences very dearly, the rest of their adult lives.

What conversation?

So when a teen "talks" to his or her parents, they don't really communicate, they simply test the waters to see how they can get what they want. A shrewd parent will be able to discover what the actual situation is by talking to siblings, to friends, to schoolmates, and to other parents. Find out the  address, phone number, and take the time to visit the other father and mother to see whether your girl or boy will be OK. Drugs and alcohol, two different substances in the mind of teens, may be distributed free of charge in a party, so as to "hook" the young ones who'll become addicted. Bullies attend parties to find an innocent girl and rape her after slipping drugs into her drink. If no adult controls admission, the risks are too great.

Scolding and Preaching

You can sermonize till hell freezes over and they'll pay lip service, but without assimilating the message. Of course, your own behavior must reflect the fundamental values of our society: if you lie and drink too much, don't expect them to act differently. If you cheat the cashier at the supermarket and don't return the excess change, your kids will think that it's O.K. Don't ever say to them "I can do it because I am your father." Hypocrisy will get you a bucket, a large one, of scorn and derision.

Handling teens is a full-time job, as many teachers will tell you; you can cross your fingers and hope everything will be O.K. Or you can grab the bull by the horns and show them how much you care; screaming and cussing will never work, only patience, good sense of humor, and a lot of research in  your social circle.


Marcia said...

Good luck trying to descipher their language; and BTW we were all there at one time. I remember telling my dad when I was about fifteen years old "You don't understand anything, I swear you were born old" LOL.
To which he responded: "Yes, I was born an adult, and became your father totally bypassing childhood".
It wasn't until years later when I had my own children, that I finally got it.

Jacques said...

Yeah, Marcia, I agree, but it seems to me that modern teens have it worse due to the modern gadgets such as smart phones and texting

Marcia said...

That is true, and it is scary to see the kind of stuff they do with those gadgets. Sexting? I advocate for phones without cameras for teens. They get in the worse predicaments because of technology.