Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Category: Pop Culture (page 1 of 2)

Can you understand teenage slang?

 

I’m in the kitchen getting dinner together and my 16-year-old son Garret looks at my new sneakers and says, “Mom, your sneakers are fresh.”

“They’re fresh?”

When I say this back to him, my son laughs. He finds my lack of knowledge of teenage slang to be hysterical.  A few days earlier, Garret told me he was going to a party and not to worry whether it was going to be hot at the party because he had his ice. Then, he showed me his watch. Cool watches, big gold chains…it’s all called ice in rapper talk, he explained to me. My son LOVES rapper talk.

Slowly, I am starting to figure out popular slang, however it seems as soon as I decipher the lingo,  the meanings change or new words pop up. My daughter recently told me not to use the word “relevant” because today, teens use it to mean the opposite. Who knew?

Has your teenager told you something was popular AF or awesome AF or anything AF? Teens use this expression to emphasize something , and that something could be really good, or really bad. (short for As F—K).  For example, being told you are stupid AF is not something you want said about you.

Here’s another example of how my inability to keep up with teen slang played out.  A few days ago, I overheard a bunch of Garret’s friends referring to some basketball player as the GOAT.  I made the mistake later of asking my son whether that was the player’s nickname. What do you think happened? Hysterical laughter.

GOAT,  he explained to me, means “Greatest Of All Time.” Apparently, it is accompanied by a goat emoji when texted. “Oh, so I am a GOAT,” I said to Garret. His response: “Sure mom.”

Now, let’s not forget the word Garret and his friends use often: lit. “Lit”  usually means cool — especially when it comes to parties or a new song.  But I found out lit has another meaning when it’s used a certain way. “To get lit” means to get drunk or high.  I’m all over that one and I’ve told my son not to even think about getting lit.

And, just when I figured out what the trendy phrase “on fleek” is all about, the phrase is not cool anymore. Nope, don’t even think about telling your teen her new hair style is on fleek. Instead, you will need to tell her it is snatched.  You use “snatched” in the same way, basically to describe things (especially style) as cool or on point. According to Refinery29.com it means, “damn you look good.”  Next time your daughter heads out the door,  try telling her, “your outfit is snatched.”  She will either think you are hip, or that you are old and trying too hard.

I recently read a good slange primer online  of 20 popular slang words. With text lingo and cool words surfacing in viral videos, it’s pretty darn hard to stay ahead of the vocab, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Let’s just say…I’m trying. Just yesterday, Garret asked me if I wanted him to play me the new Gucci Mane song. “It’s a banger,” he said. “Oh, it’s a banger? Sure I want to hear it,” I replied, not knowing what to expect.  I have since learned banger means it’s unbelievably awesome.

In some ways, I feel fortunate to have teenagers around to keep me on top of all the words young people say.  As Refinery29.com  pointed out: “We’re not getting any younger, and the wild world of viral words is not one to be afraid of — it’s one to embrace.”

So, please make me feel better…what word has your teenager recently said to you that you had no idea what it meant?

 

Let’s call them “Generation Strike A Pose”

I am on vacation, on top of a volcanic rock, and my daughter has given me her iPhone to take her photo. She is posing in an Instagram-worthy way, but I am realistic enough by now to know I will never be able to capture the pose to her liking.

On the occasions that I have tried to play photographer, my daughter has deleted my subpar attempts and replaced them with a more likeable shot that better captures her pose, usually a pic that another teen or sibling has snapped.

If you have ever browsed your teen’s Instagram feed or followed a teen on your own account, you will know the like-worthy poses my daughter and her peers aim to capture on their smartphone screens — the glamourous girl hand on hip shot, the lips pursed and eyes wide shot or the cool dude holding up two fingers in a  peace sign  shot.

As a mother of teens, I have learned that any location can instantly become a photo shoot. I might be driving along, transporting my  daughter and her friends somewhere when suddenly my backseat becomes a studio. The flash goes off over and over while my teen passengers mug for the camera. Watching them strike a pose, snap, delete, snap again and post, I wonder about the future for a generation that tries so hard to be viewed in a picture perfect way.

I think about the little camera with a disposable flash bulb that I had as teen. I remember how it took weeks to finish off the film, get it developed and either happily slip the glossy  3 x 5  into a photo album or tear it up and lose the paper memory forever. Unlike my teens, I didn’t walk around all the time with my pocket camera, and picture taking wasn’t an everyday  or every hour event. But then again, my friends weren’t glued to their smartphones giving likes to my newest selfie within seconds of posting.

One mother recently wrote on her blog: “I doubt there’s been a day in the past two years when I haven’t argued with my teenage daughter about the amount of time she spends taking selfies and posting them online.” The mom says she can’t understand why her selfie obsessed daughter can’t just smile and instead has to pout provocatively or make the duck face.
When Madonna belted out Strike a pose, Strike a pose.. .Vogue, vogue  it’s as if  she was speaking directly to the selfie generation. So I have to ask, is all the posing and posting harmless, or have we birthed a generation that is preoccupied with being camera ready?

By some miracle, my daughter has deemed my photo of her on the volcanic rock to be Instagrammable. While I gloat over my success, I’m hold firmly to my inclination that picture snapping has taken on way too much importance in our teens’ lives. What are your thoughts on Generation Strike a Pose? Are they engaged in harmless fun, or obsessed with their online appearance?

How Instagram Became Home to Mean Girls

Today, I asked my son how he did on his history test. No response.

I asked again. No response.

Then, I noticed the reason. Buried in his lap was his cell phone. He was glued to his Instagram feed.

If you have a teen, you probably know that Instagram rules. It takes priority over homework, conversation with mom and sometimes even over TV. It’s a world our teens live in, for better or worse.

When I saw this article from Time Magazine, I had to share it with you…

 

The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram

Close up of teenage girl texting on mobile in bedroom
Getty Images

Girls have quietly repurposed the photo-sharing app into a barometer for popularity, friendship status and self-worth. Here’s how they’re using it.

Secrecy is hardly new on Planet Girl: as many an eye-rolling boy will tell you, girls excel at eluding the prying questions of grown ups. And who can blame them? From an early age, young women learn that to be a “good girl” they must be nice, avoid conflict and make friends with everyone. It’s an impossible ask (and one I’ve studied for over a decade) – so girls respond by taking their true feelings underground.

Enter the Internet, and Instagram: a platform where emotions can run wild – and where insecurities run wilder. The photo-sharing app is social media’s current queen bee: In a survey released earlier this month, three quarters of teens said they were using Instagram as their go-to app.

But Instagram’s simplicity is also deceiving: look more closely, and you find the Rosetta Stone of girl angst: a way for tweens and teens to find out what their peers really think of them (Was that comment about my dress a joke or did she mean it?), who likes you (Why wasn’t I included in that picture?), even how many people like them (if you post and get too few likes, you might feel “Instashame,” as one young woman calls it). They can obsess over their friendships, monitoring social ups and downs in extreme detail. They can strategically post at high traffic hours when they know peers are killing time between homework assignments. “Likes,” after all, feel like a public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status.

That’s not what the app creators intended, of course, but it does make psychological sense: as they become preteens, research shows that girls’ confidence takes a nosedive. Instagram, then, is a new way for girls to chase the feeling of being liked that eludes so many of them. Instagram becomes an popularity meter and teens learn to manipulate the levers of success.

Here are a few of the ways that girls are leveraging Instagram to do much more than just share photos:

To Know What Friends Really Think Of Them

In the spot where adults tag a photo’s location, girls will barter “likes” in exchange for other things peers desperately want: a “TBH” (or “to be honest”). Translation? If you like a girl’s photo, she’ll leave you a TBH comment. For example: “TBH, ILYSM,” meaning, “To be honest I love you so much.” Or, the more ambivalent: “TBH, We don’t hang out that much.

To Measure How Much a Friend Likes You

In this case, a girl may trade a “like” — meaning, a friend will like her photo — in exchange for another tidbit of honesty: a 1-10 rating, of how much she likes you, your best physical feature, and a numerical scale that answers the question of “are we friends?” and many others. Girls hope for a “BMS,” or break my scale, the ultimate show of affection.

As a Public Barometer of Popularity

Instagram lets you tag your friends to announce that you’ve posted a new photo of them. Girls do the app one better: they take photos of scenes where no person is present – say, a sunset — but still tag people they love and add gushing comments. It’s a kind of social media mating call for BFFs. But girls also do it because the number of tags you get is a public sign of your popularity. “How many photos you’re tagged in is important,” says Charlotte, 12. “No one can see the actual number but you can sort of just tell because you keep seeing their name pop up.”

To Show BFF PDA

That broken heart necklace you gave your bestie? It’s gone the way of dial up. Now, girls use Instagram biographies – a few lines at the top of their page — to trumpet their inner circle. It’s a thrill to be featured on the banner that any visitor to the page will see — but not unusual to get deleted after a fight or bad day, in plain, humiliating sight of all your friends.

A Way to Retaliate

Angry at someone? Don’t tag the girl who is obviously in a picture, crop her out of it entirely, refuse to follow back the one who just tried to follow you, or simply post a photo a girl is not in. These are cryptic messages adults miss but which girls hear loud and clear. A girl may post an image of a party a friend wasn’t invited to, an intimate sleepover or night out at a concert. She never even has to mention the absent girl’s name. She knows the other girl saw it. That’s the beauty of Instagram: it’s the homework you know girls always do.

A Personal Branding Machine

Girls face increasing pressure not only to be smart and accomplished, but girly, sexy and social. In a 2011 survey, 74% of teen girls told the Girl Scout Research Institute that girls were living quasi-double lives online, where they intentionally downplayed their intelligence, kindness and good influence – and played up qualities like fun, funny and social. On Instagram, girls can project a persona they may not have time, or permission, to show off in the classroom: popular, social, sexy. Cultivating a certain look is so important that it’s common for girls to stage ‘photo shoots’ with each other as photographers to produce shots that stand out visually. (Plus a joint photo shoot is more evidence of friendship.)

A Place For Elaborate Birthday Collages

Remember coming to school on your big day, excited to see what you’d find plastered to your locker? Now girls can see who’s celebrating them hours before they get off the bus. Birthday collages on Instagram are elaborate public tributes, filled with inside jokes, short videos, and pictures of memories you may not have been a part of. “There is definitely a ‘I love you the most. I’ve loved you the longest edge to these birthday posts,” one parent told me. Collages that document the intensity or length of a relationship are a chance to celebrate a friend – or prove just how close you are to the birthday girl. Although most girls know to expect something from their closest friends, not getting one is seen as a direct diss, a parent told me. And it can be competitive: another parent told me her daughter’s friend stayed up until midnight just so she could be the first to post.

While girls may seem addicted to their online social lives, it’s not all bad — and they still prefer the company of an offline friend to any love they have to click for. (In a surveyt hat would surely surprise some parents, 92% of teen girls said they would give up all of their social media friends if it meant keeping their best friend.) And, of course, likes aren’t everything. As 13 year-old Leah told me, “Just because people don’t write me a paragraph on Instagram doesn’t mean they don’t like me.”

Rachel Simmons is the co-founder of Girls Leadership Institute and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls” and “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls With Courage and Confidence.” 

I survived an “ULTRA ” Weekend!

Well, after 2 years of saying “NO” to my daughter to go to a 3 Day ULTRA MUSICAL FESTIVAL in Miami, this year I finally approved and allowed her to go under certain conditions:

1. Grades had to be GOOD

2. She must come home by her curfew

3. She must check in when she arrives, during festival and on her way home.

4. NO drinking or drugs

I’m happy to say she did ALL 4 PLUS her boyfriend’s dad paid for a car service to take them to and from the festival so they wouldn’t have to drive. That was a HUGE peace of mind for me and her dad to know she was safe.

I was VERY anxious and nervous as I was trusting her to go this festival but knew how much she LOVES EDM (electronic dance music) and the DJ’s. Heck, I like them. I knew people from my work who were going and they were very good kids, so I felt good about my decision. Olivia is 17 and will be turning 18 before I know it. When she’s in college, I won’t be there every day to make sure she gets home safe. I had to trust her.

I knew how much she changed in a year and was going to the festival because she truly loved the music NOT the craziness around it. Nevertheless, I was still worried as any normal sane parent would be.

She had purchased what she was going to wear each day and decorated it with flowers and glitter. I was truly impressed by her outfits.  She wore beautiful flowered head bands and decorated flowered tops and of course comfortable tye-dyed Keds. She was set and she was excited.

One night, Saturday to be exact, I was coming from Miami visiting family and got caught in rain heading home, so I texted her to warn her rain was coming. Well, about 30 minutes later around 9 p.m., as I walk in the door, she texts me ” Mom, can you come pick us up (her and her boyfriend), it’s raining, we are cold and wet?”  Of course, I said I would.  For my selfish reasons, I was thrilled she wanted to come home early. So, off to Miami I go again but to ULTRA!  This was going to be an experience for me and her dad. We had no clue what we would be driving into, but I  was kind of excited. I would be able to see what all the hype is and see what Olivia loved about it.

We picked her and her boyfriend up and gave them blankets. As I looked around, it wasn’t bad at all. Kids were having fun listening to music and just hanging out and walking around.

The last night of ULTRA, Sunday night , I couldn’t wait for her to come home. When she texted me at 10:30pm, “in express lanes, heading home” I was like YAY!! ULTRA is over. I SURVIVED with no drama or incidents! Woo Hoo!!

When she got home, I asked, “So, how was it?” She said, “It was the best time of my life mom. It was what I expected and more.” I was so happy for Olivia because she got to hear her favorite DJ’s and be a part of a “Woodstock” like event something she will tell her kids and remember for the rest of her life.

And I will remember that “I survived 2014 ULTRA  Music Festival  weekend!” But more importantly, I will remember that I trusted my daughter and she came through with flying colors.

Does your son wear Axe? Or does it wear him?

Axe has become a teenage boy’s rite of passage. If you have a son older than 12, you probably know what I’m talking about.

In some ways, you may be thankful for the body spray that has double intentions ( to smell good for the ladies/to mask the odor that boys emit). Of course, when your Axe-drenched son gets into your car smelling like he just walked out of a fragrance factory, you might not be as thankful.

I cracked up when I read this article because it hit home. I wanted to share it with all of you who I hope will enjoy it as much as I did:

 10-24-13

What happens when a woman wears Axe fragrance for a week?

 

 
Dahlia Lithwick with one of her sons.
Dahlia Lithwick with one of her sons.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY AARON FEIN / SLATE

BY DAHLIA LITHWICK SLATE

Probably if I had watched the commercials first, I would never have undertaken this whole stupid experiment.

Axe commercials? Awful. They are the media equivalent of the fragrance itself. I mean, naked ladies covered in tiny congruent triangles assault bemused middle managers. These are commercials that could have been made backstage at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, if angels really liked feathers in their strawberry milkshakes.

Nor did I come to Axe men’s fragrance by sniffing the air at the U.S. Supreme Court, which I cover. Me, I discovered Axe the usual way, through my 13-year-old nephew, for whom the whole prospect of a lifetime of boom-chicka-wah-wah is perhaps still too much to contemplate.

My own boys, at 8 and 10, are too young for Axe, or for fragrance, or for wah-wahs of any variety — or so I shall insist to myself until they are about 40. But after a single day at the beach in August, when they shared a bathroom with their big hockey-playing, Axe-scented cousin/hero, even the 8-year-old was smearing his small hairless self with the body wash, deodorant and spray cologne.

Dinners quickly became unbearable, with three Axe-drenched young people fogging up all tastes and smells. On it went, until the final weekend at the beach, when I found myself trapped in the shower with only a bottle of three-in-one Axe (shampoo, body-wash and conditioner). So I broke down and used it.

It was the most sublimely powerful fragrance experience of my adult life. Truly. After decades of smelling like a flower or a fruit, for the first time, I smelled like teen boy spirit. I smelled the way an adolescent male smells when he feels that everything good in the universe is about to be delivered to him, possibly by girls in angel wings. I loved it. I wanted more.

When I told my husband that I was planning to wear only Axe men’s products for an entire week, his answer was a foreshadowing of things to come: “You’re planning on wearing that stuff to bed every night for a week? Man. Axe really does work. It’s only been a few minutes and look, you’re already single again …”

It was hard to choose a fragrance. The Axe scents, to the extent that they differ, seem to be named after manly activities like mining or soldering. Ultimately I opted for Cool Metal (see: mining and soldering) in the body wash, shampoo and spray formulations.

What happens when a forty-something women walks around smelling like a 13-year-old boy? Mostly nothing. As it turns out, ours is a culture in which people don’t generally feel comfortable commenting on your scent, even when it is so powerful as to be causing climate change. So even if you apply Axe before a funeral — as I did — nobody is going to grab you by the arm and ask you to please leave.

I wore a heavy coating of it to a dinner party one night. Eliciting no response, even when I started helpfully jamming my neck into the other guests’ noses, I did learn from several mothers that the Wall of Axe (in which eight or more teen boys reapply Axe after phys ed, then stand in the stairwell together) has become so bad at some schools that it’s been banned.

The truth is, my experiment in smelling like an adolescent male for a week had only two significant consequences. One, I really did grow to love the fragrance. But two, and distinctly more important, both my kids were so embarrassed that they stopped using it within days of my initiating the experiment.

It turns out that there is some Freudian window in which smelling like your mom is so beyond contemplation that they wordlessly gave it up altogether. Indeed, they have both moved backward to the Suave Baby Shampoo, which is precisely where I would like them to stay, at least for a while.

And thus, drenched in the smell of rusting metal, we all take two steps away from the Axe years, the entitled years, the boom-chicka-wah-wah years, that are bearing down upon us too quickly.

 

Star says rehab is like summer camp: lots of teens

Kristen Johnston was 28 she was cast as John Lithgow’s co-star in the runaway hit sitcom, 3rd Rock From the Sun. Suddenly famous, she says was unprepared to handle the overnight fame. She turned to alcohol and pills. After popping an endless array of pain pills, she almost died in a London hospital when an ulcer in her stomach exploded. She spent two months in the hospital.

Kristen says biggest shock to her when she went to rehab was that it looked like a summer camp: lots of teenagers. She asked about it and one of the counselors said this is what all rehabs look like.

Wow! Kristen says she discovered 1 in every 3 teens meets the medical criteria for addiction and 1 in every 70 teens will go to rehab. Coincidentally, the New York Times ran a piece on Sunday about teen use and abuse of the Adderall, an amphetamine prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Teens routinely pop these pills to study late into the night, focus during tests and get better grades. It’s happening the most among highly competitive students.

Kristen reveals some interesting stats on rehab: Eighty percent of rehabilitated teenagers who return to a regular high school will relapse within 90 days.

Johnston said her discovery led her to found the nonprofit, SLAM (Sobriety, Learning and Motivation). “We’re really devoted to making New York City’s first sober high school.” There are 25 of these schools across the country, but New York is not one of them. At a recovery school, 70 percent of rehabilitated teens will graduate clean and sober.

Did you know the rate of substance abuse and addiction was this high in teens? Would you know the warning signs if you saw them in your teen?

Kendall Jenner Posts Bikini Shots, are you ok with it?

The talk of the town today: Kendall Jenner.

The 16-year-old aspiring model posted a photo on Twitter of herself in a bikini Monday night with the caption, “Miss summer! #Tan.” Her dad, Bruce Jenner, reportedly made her take it down.

If you’ve peeked over the shoulder of your teen on Facebook lately, you might notice what I’ve seen. Girls, in particular, seemed to be always posing for the camera: hair swept back, hand on hip, up against the wall with their head tilted back.  In at least a few instances, I’ve seen middle schoolers in bikinis that left little to the imagination.

I’ve asked my teens, “What’s up with the posing?” Strangely, they think nothing of this vamping.

Randee Holder writes on the Motherlode blog  that technology, particularly the smartphone camera, is affecting how adolescent girls conduct themselves in their actual, everyday lives.  She writes: “Girls this age, who have felt pressured historically to look their best most of the time, suddenly seem to feel as if they need to look their best all of the time. In turn, always being “on” seems to lead some girls to pose for pictures that are oversexualized: pouting lips, lots of cleavage, short-shorts, crop tops that showcase a bare midriff. ”

She surmises: For Teenage Girls, Facebook (and Twitter) Means Always Being Camera-Ready.

You have a point there Randee. It seems like girls post these sexy pics of themselves on Facebook trolling for “Likes” to boost their self esteem. I guess we’re not doing a good job of teaching our girls their self worth is about more than social media feedback.

Parents, what do you think about teen girls posting bikini shots? Is there a difference if they’re just posting it for friends or making it public? Have you ever made your teen take down a photo?

 

 

Teen Belly Buttons: To pierce or not to pierce?

Recently my 14-year-old daughter asked me if she could  get her belly button pierced.  As I stood there wanting to scream “HECK NO”!, I realized she needed to see that I was respecting her time to talk with me and that I owed it to her to at least listen.

Ok, I listened as she told me that “all her friends have done it,  she would not flaunt it, what is the big deal, it’s better than a tattoo”, etc.. etc..

As contemplated my response, I asked her why it was so important to her? She said that she always wanted to get one, but, she knew we (her dad and I), would never allow it because she was too young. So  I asked her,  “Don’t you think you are too young now?” She said “no.”  She told me most kids her age are getting them, especially the soccer players in her league.

I personally think she is too young, but I am also her mother and am biased when it comes to her. I don’t see her like everyone else. It’s my job to protect her and make decisions that I feel are best for her now and in the future.

I said I would discuss it with her dad and she responded,  “Oh, dad will say no, so you have to convince him to say yes.” WHAT? I told her I was not “convincing” anyone and all I could promise her was a conversation with her dad. If she did not like that response then the answer was “no.” She said “fine”, she would wait.

I think I am just pushing off a battle with her since I don’t want her to have it and I know her dad will most definitely not want her to have it either.

So, I ask you, what do I do?  Do I fight this battle till the end with a stern “No” or should I pick my battles and just compromise and take her and make sure it is a small, nice piercing? Am I making a bigger deal than it needs to be? No one will see it anyway right?

Would love your feedback and opinion.

Why I love MTV’s Awkward

If you haven’t seen an episode yet of MTV’s Awkward, you should.

Yes, it’s ANOTHER show about the high school years –complete with love triangles and mean girls. And, like most shows based on the high school years, you’ve got your popular jocks and your lonely geeks. But what I love about this teen series is that the star of the show, Jenna Hamilton,  doesn’t fit into any single social clique. She’s, well….awkward.

The Hollywood Reporter said the comedy premiered to 1.7 viewers and its pilot sets the tone for just how awkward life will get for Jenna when her high school pals believe an epic accident was really a suicide attempt.

Ashley Rickards, who plays Jenna, says: The “theme of the show is, you can’t change what happens to you, but you can change the way you feel about it.”

Here’s MTV’s description: Narrated in the first-person voice of Jenna’s blog posts, “Awkward.” captures the humor within the struggles and experiences everyone can relate to from their formative years. From a secret relationship with a popular guy, to being undermined by a mean girl, and parents who just don’t get it – Jenna’s misfortune will eventually serve as the catalyst for amazing change, but it’s not without some missteps and mishaps along the way.

I particularly like that Jenna is a teenager who moms can relate to…she’s constantly embarrassed by her mom’s behavior, yet she still wants to please her mom.

I may get grief for this, but I also like the story line about Jenna having sex with the popular guy, Matty. I realize I shouldn’t be endorsing a teenager having sex in high school. But, I do like the lesson Jenna’s mistakes might teach young girls: when Jenna has sex with popular Matty, she assumes he will want a relationship. She comes to realize, he wants a private sexual relationship, but he doesn’t want to be seen with her in public. The series is just beginning to reveal how she will deal with this situation – so far, she’s trying desperately (and awkwardly) to show him she’s girlfriend material.

I think it’s great for girls to learn at a young age that sex and love aren’t always the same thing…it’s a great conversation starter for a parent and teen.

Now, I must disclose a drawback of Awkward is its time slot. The half-hour show airs at 11 p.m. EST on Tuesday nights I know that’s late. But there’s always the DVR.

If you’ve seen Awkward, let me know what you think. If you haven’t, you can watch prior episodes by clicking here.

Don’t touch that dial

Today, it hit me….I no longer have control over my car stereo. From the minute my teens get in the car, they are changing stations, cranking up the tunes, adjusting the fader and shoving CDs in and out of the player. Do they grow out of this stage? Will I one day reclaim my control over the dial?

Even more bothersome to me is what’s playing on my speakers. I’m no prude but have you heard some of the lyrics in today’s music? Sometimes, I don’t even realize how raunchy they are until I hear the words coming out of my kids’ mouths.  

Just the other day, a song came on radio that I’ve heard a dozen times. My kids and their friends were belting out ALL the lyrics.  They were completely different from what I was singing (a sign of old age?) Still, I wondered if any of them had a clue what the song really was about. What mother wouldn’t just adore her 14-year-old daughter singing along with Katy Perry:  “Let’s go all the way tonight.” Of course, my son sings along with Eminen, who uses the f-word at least twice in Love the Way You Lie.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, says parents should ask our children why they like a certain song or album and what they think the artist is saying.

Here’s a scary fact: Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, according to a study by Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Are these songs an instruction manual?

I like that my teens are on the cutting edge of music, exposing me to new groups and sounds. But I’ve decided to put up more of a fight for control my radio dial. Does that make me a good parent, or an old lady?

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