Teen Speak

Yesterday Horatio said to me, as I was on the way out, “Ily Bae!” which stumped me. So I put it up on the Facebook page. What is this new language my new highschooler now speaks?

And then I got this fabulous email from reader Louise. She is a mum to 2 girls, a wife, lives on the sunshine coast in QLD, works as a teacher aide (early intervention literacy support), is obsessed with colour and pattern and pretty ceramics.

“I am really just trying to get through this parenting gig with love, humour and creativity!”

She has given me permission to re-publish her letter here. I hope you find it as useful as I did. Happy Sunday! xxx

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Dearest Mrs Woog,

Firstly let me say I am a long time reader of your blog and social media and think you are one hilarious lady. (Editors note – your cheque is in the mail)

It was with great interest that I saw your post this morning regarding young Horatio and his ILY BAE text. I also noted the comments from other parents unsure what it means, and expressing concerns in general about parenting a teen and understanding their language. Having emerged from the other side of the Trenches of Teen (TOT) I felt I may be able to offer you, and your readers some Interesting and Creative Parenting Strategies (ICPS).

There is no avoiding a teens need to abbreviate. You will find this apparent in all aspects of their being, and they will communicate with you in this abbreviated language (ABL). Hubby and I found that by developing our own ABL, we were able to diffuse the teens use of ABL, as they become so frustrated by interpreting your ABL that they just begin to use actual words!! Words!! Below are some examples of ABL that we were able to use, but naturally you can make up any. I will advise that you and Mr Woog memorise beforehand as it can be hilarious using them, but are best delivered with a poker face.
HOW Hang Out Washing
IDT It’s Dinner Time
GTW Gone to Work (Can be Going to Work)
GTS Gone to Shops
ATC At the Computer

Mix them in with some actual Teen ABL and you can really get them confused. It’s amazing. The only time we thought we may have taken it too far was when our 7 year old girl embraced the whole “talking short” manner and announced that she “wished she had a cock” when she was asking for a cockatiel….

Most communication is likely to occur via text, followed by them emerging from their rooms to ask WTF did your text mean, especially if it contains ABL (don’t panic, they will actually say W. T. F not the full words so you need not be explaining definitions to younger siblings). This is good! This is the ICPS to get them out of their rooms!!

My most effective strategy has always been an “I love you” called from the car in bus bay. Honestly only they hear it, but they THINK everyone has heard it. Been a real turd-burger? Well you’ll get a toot of the horn too. You will probably threaten this many times, but need only implement it sparingly, so make sure you keep it in your ammunition stack for when they’re being a total doozy.

I do have many more ICPS that got us through with love and humour, especially for use when Horatio hits 16 and you enter Learning to Drive territory. I will do a tutorial on the Subtle Brace Position for you… you look like you’re chilling in the seat but you’re solid rock braced for anything.

To finish, here’s an example of how ICPS’s can work wonderfully for when you’re deep in the TOT. We still laugh about this day here.

Miss 16 (at the time), I’m driving her to work. She looks out the window and sees a man on a motorbike/ scooter thing and announces that she too would get herself one of those so she didn’t need me to drive her around. I panic. No way!! So, I wind down her window and instruct her to stick her head out. Yes darling, I am actually serious! So she does, and after about 20 seconds declares that’s awesome and she wants one, wind in her hair and all that freedom crap. So I state, that’s nice, but you’re not at your destination yet, so head back out the window please. I made her do that for the whole way (except past the police station because I’m not completely crazy). Turns out it’s not that fun. We have never, ever, ever heard about wanting to get a motorbike again.

I wish you well for these teen and high school years. From one mother to another, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride, it’s a crazy rollercoaster but can be a mountain of fun. Forgive my essay, seems I am busy reminiscing now she is moved out to university. And do not even get me started on that journey.

Big hugs, love your writing and your take on life,

Louise x

Mothers of teenagers, has this new language filtered into your joint?