Teen Blog: 6 Things Teens Do That Parents Don't Understand

Teen columnist Ryane talks to us about things teens do that parents just don't get

by SHFamily | Mon, July 10, 2017

By Ryane Liao

One of the most remarkable things about being a teenager is that we, as members of a constantly evolving global community, have learned to develop our own language. We encode meaning in the most interesting ways:

  • Having earphones in means “don’t talk to me”
  • “Lol” means I’m not actually laughing – it’s a defense mechanism against awkward tension.
  • Calling someone “a savage” is highly complimentary, despite the word’s definition.

While teens have become fluent in this sub-cultural language, parents have not. And so, another item is added to the growing list of “Things Parents Don’t Understand,” which does nothing but breed conflict. So in the interest of preventing misunderstandings, allow me to list several things parents just don’t get, from the perspective of a teenager:

1. My music isn’t “noisy,” it’s avant-garde. Sometimes it’s noisy on purpose.

2. If my mother asks me to do something (like put on another layer or use a towel to wash my face) and I don’t, it’s not because I don’t trust her – I just want to make my own decisions! Most teenagers trust their parents but have self-determination issues that prompt them to do things the way they want – even if it isn’t the most beneficial. It’s not you, it’s us. Just let us pretend that we have autonomy. Like Frank Sinatra, we want to do it our way and like Burger King, let us have it our way once in a while.

3. Filters are over. We don’t use them anymore.

4. If we’re away and not calling, it’s because we’re safe, happy and healthy. No news is equivalent to good news in the language of teenagers. The time to start worrying is if we call out-of-the-blue to tell you we’ve been kidnapped and to send Liam Neeson ASAP.

5. Beauty has changed since you guys were in high school. Today, big butts are considered the epitome of beauty and achievement. “Fat” isn’t always derogatory – if used in the right way, it will be greatly appreciated by many teens. If you look at Instagram followers and celebrity booty diameter, I’m sure you’ll see a correlation.

6. Taking an excessive number of selfies isn’t “vanity” it’s “confidence.” Angle and lighting are very important and difficult to get just right.

The list goes on, but I think you get the point. Teenagers are exposed to a culture divorced from that of adults; changing and developing at the slightest nudge from the internet. We interact in a way that we forget isn’t how the rest of the world does. I’m going to start communicating better with my parents. And hey, who knows when it’ll be me perplexed by my own teenage child listening to tires screeching and calling it music sometime in the 2050s.