As summer has moved on and I have spent more time with my sons I have come to better understand the communication difficulties that plague parents and their t(w)eens. Many of our miscommunications occur simply because my boys and I have different definitions of words and phrases. In an attempt to improve communication between the parents of the world and their t(w)eens, I have done my best to provide a list of parent phrases and how they are defined by children according to Webster’s Teen Dictionary (WTD). Let us begin:
WTD: At your earliest convenience. See also; When your Fortnite battle has concluded
WTD When used by teen: used to stress importance. For example, “I am literally the only person in my school without unlimited X-Box time.”
WTD When used by parent: Maybe they mean it, maybe they do no not. Example. “This is literally your job and your job alone” translates to “It would nice if you did it, but someone else will probably take care of it if you do not get to it.”
WTD: Frequently enough to avoid getting caught by random spot-checks
“Turn off the video game at 9:30:”
WTD: Make sure to start a new game at 9:28 and I will gladly listen to your complaints about not being allowed to “finish this game up.”
“Do this task to a quality you will be proud of:”
WTD: Since you literally do not care at all about this task and pride will only come by completion, you need to complete this as quickly as possible with complete disregard for quality. Oh wait, you do undestand how to use “literally” correctly. You better keep that quiet.
“This phone is to communicate with us.”
WTD: Use this phone to know instantly when any of your friends are online and available for gaming. Please disregard any texts from us.
“In the Dishwasher:”
WTD: Within 100 meters of the dishwasher
WTD: To limit what you want to do; To be held responsible; To define right vs wrong. Example, “That half-completed homework is fine. You can’t judge me for that!”
“I just need a little break”
WTD: You should increase the intensity and frequency of your demands so that I cave in quicker and can get a little peace after you get what you want.
“I need you to take this seriously:”
WTD: Focus really hard for 9-13 seconds and move one.
WTD: Push everything to the side of a room, go to your bedroom and begin the sacred ritual to invoke the Spirit of Cleaning (aka, someone else)
WTD: As long as you do not verbally complain you are fine. Feel free to roll eyes, sigh in exasperation, scowl, shrug your shoulders, and stamp your feet. As long as you do not complain with sentences, I will be happy.
“We leave in 15 minutes:”
WTD: In 14 minutes and 59.76 seconds, you should begin to consider what you need to have ready before we leave. 0.24 seconds is plenty of time to get dressed, eat breakfast and pack.
“Gimme one second:”
WTD. You should wait one literal second before repeating that exact same question. Oh crap! There’s that “literal” term again!
“We need to set some rules….”
WTD: Prepare thyself for the Shackles of Injustice
I hope that I have provided all of you with a useful tool that will help you communicate better with your loved ones this summer.
**Disclaimer: I am sure that I will hear about how I have now “Teen-Shamed” my kids, perpetuated negative stereotypes about about teens, marginalized the efforts of those heroes devoted to writing real dictionaries or have broken any number of number of known or unknown, social mores. The fact is, I have two incredible young men of whom I am extremely proud. This is meant simply as a chance to laugh at parenting and have a little fun with it. If I have I offended in any way, shape, or form, I literally (WTD) offer my most sincere and heartfelt apologies.
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