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How to Be A Cool Parent to Your Teenager
Most teenagers want cool parents but most of the time their Moms and Dads end up embarrassing them. Those "embarrassing parents" are the ones who are lost on the subject of being modern or sophisticated in the eyes of their teen.
Here is a guide for the clueless Moms and Dads on how to be a cool parent:
Teens know fashion and they are the authorities on "how to dress to impress." Today's parents are usually "out of the loop" when it comes to fashion since it has been awhile when they graduated from high school.
For the parents who are fashionably-challenged, the one advice most fashion experts give to Moms and Dads is to dress in age appropriate clothes. That means parents must STAY OUT OF THE YOUNG ADULTS SECTION! Standard-issue adult clothing would mean tasteful jeans and khakis and a conservative shirt for men and non-flattering pantsuits and dresses for the women.
Parents should dress appropriately at every occasion looking like trendy but normal adults. For men, avoid looking like a pimp or a hitman wearing a track-suit or a gym teacher with short-shorts. For women, don't wear midriff tops or torn jeans or any revealing clothing that may confuse you to be a "lady of the evening."
Your job, parents, is to NOT stand-out in the worst way and to stay in the background.
In simple terms, don't wear something that will embarass your teen.
No Joking and No needless Conversations
When your teens invite friends over or if you are picking them up for a ride, your job as a parent is simple--no joking and no needless conversations. There is nothing more annoying when a parent tries to act cool by telling a joke or involving the group in an awkward conversation. It gets worse if the joke or conversation is met with silence. So uncool.
Take the hint from your teen by either disappearing to your room after a short conversation or drive the car in silence while teens involve themselves with idle gossip. This is when teens believe in the philosophy, "Silence is Golden," especially for parents
Do Not be Overprotective
Even if a parent is in law enforcement or a professional bodyguard, being overprotective is considered uncool by teens.
You are going to have to appear that you trust them even though that is not the case. Give them a little space but keep the leash nearby since most teenagers' good judgement tends to be impaired at such a young age.
Simply said, do not appear overprotective towards your teenager
Communicate with them on Today's Technology
Nowadays, every teen has a smartphone and computers to communicate with one another and cool parents have to be up-to-date on today's technology. Teens are communicating by text than ever before and that why parents need to know how to text message on their cellphone. In addition, parents should know how to use computers/laptops/tablets and know how to send and receive email.
Big word of advice when messaging--do not be using the same jargon like your teens do. For instance, do not use "LOL" (laugh out loud) or "IDK" (I don't know) or "LMAO" (Laughing my ass off) like the teens do, spell it out!
If you must use their slang, use it sparingly.
Get to Know What they Know
The generation gap is never more evident when parents and their teens have a conversation on music, movies, and television. You do not need to be an expert on pop culture news but getting to know some of the celebs (Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez), movies (Twilight Saga, Harry Potter, Sucker Punch), music (Lil' Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay) and television (Jersey Shore, Awkward, Gossip Girl) would be helpful.
You do not have to like their taste in celebrities or movies or music or television shows but knowing a little about these subjects would make you cool in the eyes of your teen.
You Can be Cool by Being the Best Parent You Can Be
Having a Mom and Dad who are willing to take an active role in leadership is something that most teens can admire. Parents put in all the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice towards their teen which is usually a thankless affair but they do it anyway.
The relationship between parents and teens can be contentious at times but it can be a time of deep understanding towards one another. It's no secret that most parents would "run through a wall" or "walk on fire" in order to get to know their teens better.
So if it means a parent has to transform themselves to be cool to have a closer relationship with their teen, so be it?
Parents, one last piece of advice, when you go through this tranformation of COOL, just don't embarrass yourselves along the way.