Friday, October 01, 2010

Want to embarrass your kids? All it takes is LOL

You may call them 'reruns,' but I like to call them 'gently used.'  Whatever you want to call it, it's a re-posting of one of my pieces from the LA Moms Blog. And much like that 'gently used' mohair jumpsuit handed down to you by your cousin Louise, it may be annoying and itchy.

In case you haven’t heard, having your parents use chatspeak is the equivalent of seeing your dad dance the hula at your Sweet 16 party, or having your mom pick you up from school in her bathrobe. In other words, if you really want to embarrass the hell out of your teen or tween, try punctuating your sentence with ‘LOL’ or throwing in an 'OMG’ when you’re confronted with a long line at the grocery store. Chatspeak, the popular slang using acronyms found in chatrooms and texting, is apparently the exclusive domain of the under 20 set and any attempts at usage by parents or other old fogeys is, like, totally awful. IYKWIM (If you know what I mean.)

I found this out when a friend and I took our girls ice skating a few months ago. I was already inside, lacing up the skates of my 10 and 12 year old daughters when their two friends came in, red-faced and gesturing wildly towards their mom who was following behind and trying not to laugh. What happened was this: after overhearing a comment one of her daughters had made to the QT (cutie) working the skate rental, my friend had interjected her own comment (in itself a cardinal sin) and then punctuated it with ‘LOL.’ After giving their mom a brief, but stern lecture on the absolute wrongness of old people using chatspeak, they grabbed their skates and hurried inside. My friend was left to shrug at the QT but to her credit she resisted throwing out a TTFN (ta-ta for now.)

My girls reacted with absolute horror as their friends told them the story, and then turned to me and said, “You would NEVER do that, right mom?” To which I had to reply, “OMG. NW.” (Omigod. No way.) Sure it was a cheap shot, but it saved me a few bucks since they couldn't get away from me fast enough and skated off without asking for money for the vending machines.

Of course, my friend and I found this absolutely amusing. Who knew it would be so easy to embarrass our kids? We both had imagined having to put together elaborate slide shows of baby pictures to show to our girls’ dates, or showing up at their proms dressed in mom jeans and fanny packs. To think that we could raise their hackles by peppering our conversation with a few innocuous letters? We were elated at the possibilities.

For the next two hours while our girls did their best to ignore us while they raced around the rink, we came up with some clever acronyms of our own. We figured it would be an excellent way to get them to perform certain tasks without having to waste our breath saying it over and over again. For instance, CUYR! (Clean up your room!) and TOTTV (Turn off the TV.) See – much more efficient! Wouldn’t life be simpler without having to tell them repeatedly to PBYH (Please brush your hair), DFYH (Don’t forget your homework) and BNTYY (Be nice to your sister)? And then there was my favorite, NWAUWTTS-GBTYRACYL (No way are u wearing that to school, get back to your room and change young lady.)

I’ve gotten enough cold stares and eye rolling from my girls to know better than to use any chatspeak in front of their friends, but I still can’t resist blurting out a BRB (Be right back) when I head into the shower, or referring to my husband as my BFF. Call me sadistic, but I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing them cringe when I managed to put ROFL (Rolling on floor laughing) and JK (Just kidding) into the same sentence and then cleverly yelled out G2G (Got to go) as I ran out of the room. And when they start to protest, all I have to do is pull out some of their baby pictures, or remind them that it’s still better than having me show up at their school in my bathrobe. NTIEDT (Not that I’ve ever done that.)

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To read what others have to say about teens and texting, check out the LG TextEd BlogHer Engagement Program homepage, where this week's topic is Decoding Your Teen's Texting Lingo . You might just LOL.

(And remember – for every comment left on any of the posts in the program, 50 cents will be donated to, up to $5,000.)
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  1. It doesn't take much to tick off our kids, does it? I don't even have to say anything -- my mere existence is humiliating enough.

    Hey, it's my job, isn't it?

  2. I like to comment on their FB pages. Correct grammar, say "hi" to their friends, that sort of thing. If I really want to mollify them I'll throw in a "oh no u dihindt!" who knew social networking could be so gratifying?!


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