Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Parent Wants To Give History to Daughter’s Language

DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenager comes home almost every week trying out new slang. So far, nothing is profane. Some of the sayings hail from back in my day, a thousand years ago. She hates when I tell her that, though. She wants to think that she and her friends are original. Should I just let her think that her new words are new to the world? Part of me wants her to have a sense of history, but I don’t want to spoil the moment when she is sharing her discoveries with me. -- New Slang

DEAR NEW SLANG: Right now, what’s most important is for you and your daughter to enjoy your time together and for her to feel open to sharing her experiences with you. Bite your tongue until a moment comes when you can share a story with her about your life and the ways in which you expressed yourself. There is no need to rush. Feel comfortable letting her have her space to try out the sayings that she is bringing home. Let her define them for you, based on her generation’s understanding of the terms.

Consider that you have plenty of time to tell her what happened when you were growing up. When you do, trust that she will take in your stories, even if she doesn’t react to them in the moment.