The tween years or more specifically the “between” years are a challenge in of themselves. Suddenly, the child is no longer a cute toddler but they aren't a teenager yet either. While some may erroneously think that at the tween level, kids can be given a little more freedom, it’s still vital to monitor just what exactly they are doing and who their friends are. The challenges of parenting tweens are also exacerbated by the ever-expansion of social media and the online world.
Just like that, your tween is no longer your little girl or little boy.
Gone are the days when you could call a neighbor to ask what your kid was up to. Now, parents resort to parental control apps, monitoring apps, and a bunch of other apps that all serve the same purpose: finding out what the kids are doing and who they’re talking to.
Just don’t forget that you can’t actually choose their friends. You can try to guide them in the right direction but if you criticize their friends too much, you might just push them closer to the ones you deem unsavory.
But as any parent would tell you, the importance of still continuing to keep an eye on what they’re doing is tenfold, especially as they approach the teenage years. With that in mind, there are 21 slang words that you should keep an eye out for and they’re all guaranteed to turn your cheeks red.
20 The Number 9
“Hey, so when are we getting together for that Netflix and Chill?”
It’s just a number, right? Maybe it was just a typo? WRONG! If you see the number 9 appear out of nowhere on our tween’s screen, whether their phone, tablet or computer monitor, then be aware that there are things being said that your tween doesn’t want you to know.
Typing out the number 9 effectively warns the other person to watch what they type because “a parent is watching.” While spying on your tween is never a good idea, it’s still good to know some of the popular acronyms. For example, 99 then confirms that the “parent is gone.”
Asking others to follow you back is innocent enough, right? Wrong! For teens (and tweens now!) it’s a numbers game. While you might be hard-pressed to give into giving your tween an iPhone or iPad for Christmas and letting them actually use Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, the pressure is unavoidable, especially when they come back crying that they are the only ones out of all their friends to not be on social media.
With the hashtag #FollowforFollow though, the trouble lies in the fact that connecting with so many strangers opens the door for strangers to slide into your tween’s DMs…
18 Slide Into Your DM
"Down in the DM" or "Slide in the DM" can go in one of two ways and it’s the latter you should be worried about. As DM refers to a “direct message,” it can simply mean “send me a message.” On the other hand, asking someone to DM you can mean wanting to get together with them in real life.
The birds and the bees talk aside, this sentence might be particularly alarming:
“I never thought he would slide into my DMs but I’m happy.”
Innocent, right? WRONG! A stranger will usually slide into your DMs after a bit of public back and forth on Twitter or any other social media. We certainly don’t need to get into stranger danger here.
Speaking of sliding into DMs, there’s another tween and teen slang term you need to be on high alert for: LMIRL.
While you probably already know that IRL stands for “In Real Life,” LMIRL means “Let’s Meet In Real Life.”
No, no, no! We probably don’t need to stress the dangers or such an acronym and it’s definitely one that you need to put in your mental drawer and never forget. We all know all too well the dangers of such scenarios, especially with many adults posing as children on the web!
Just keep in mind that adults with bad intentions are everywhere from social media all the way down to the apps that are seemingly designed for kids.
Just because you think you know your tween doesn’t actually mean you do. The same goes for another important lesson that all modern-day parents invariably learn:
Just because you think you know all of your child’s account doesn’t mean you actually do.
For this reason, you need to know about Finsta or “Fake Instagrams.” While you might think you’re being sneaky following your tween with your fake account of your own, that account may not even be the one where they post the “real” stuff that you truly want to be keeping an eye on.
It’s time for a talk if you hear or read your tween saying the following:
“My parents are so boujee.”
As Urban Dictionary points out, it’s an “offshoot of ‘bourgeois’” that refers to people who are trying to act rich.
None of us wants our kids to experience being bullied or to bully anyone else for that matter but there’s also the change that your tween might be the recipient of such a word.
So if you see that someone has called your child bougee, then your cheeks might turn red from anger. Before doing anything rash, calm yourself and remind yourself that maybe your kid is the one doing the name-calling.
But if your child the target, then keep in mind that it’s probably quite distressing for him or her, so approach this one gently.
Whether your tween should even be texting or tweeting to begin with is a whole other topic in of itself, but if you see them posting things that seemingly make zero sense, then that should already be reason for concern. With that being said, you might hear or read the following:
“She’s so annoying. She won’t stop texting me. I’m going to have to ghost her until he gets the point.”
In effect, the word “ghost” in this context has nothing to do with Ghostbusters or Casper. Instead, it refers to avoid someone by ignoring someone.
So whether your tween is the one doing the ghosting or is possibly being ghosted, it’s time for a little talk either way!
There's nothing more confusing than to text your tween or teen and to receive back a slew of words or letters that you have no idea the meaning of. SMH is one of those. A conversation might go something like this:
Mom: “Hey honey, I was thinking of getting Snapchat. That way we could stay in-snap with each other!”
As confusing as that may be to receive, you need to know it means “shaking my head.” So yes, it effectively means your child is shaking their head at YOU, the parent, in a disapproving way. If you see this one, then it’s probably because they’re embarrassed about you and if you’re on the receiving end of it, then at least you can know there’s something wrong with what you said.
Don't worry if you see or hear the word "grind." It's not what you think! This slang word has fortunately changed in meaning since last we were young and now means something entirely different than what we grew up with.
“I’m on a midterm grind.”
“I’m grinding to get my grades up.”
If you see anything like that, then rest assured your tween and teen is on the right track and is prioritizing his or her education. It means they’re working hard (in this case, at school and on their grades). Alternatively, you could hear, “I’m getting my grind back on,” which is also positive in the sense that they’re trying to be better.
It’s unavoidable, every tween (and teen) is going to be examining their appearance day-in and day-out. You did it too when you were that age, remember?
However, if you see the hashtag #TT, which refers to Transformation Tuesday, then you might need to pay closer attention to what’s going on with your tween.
While there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, this is always precarious territory when teens and especially the younger demographic of tweens is concerned. Any initiative to change their appearance needs to be done in a healthy way. A little talk about body image and positivity might just be in order.
Also, this applies to both girls and boys.
10 Get Turnt
So far, we have covered a few slang words that are evocative of feelings we wouldn’t actually want our teens to be having yet…
But given that tweens are nearly teenagers, there is another warning sign of a slang word that is worth mentioning: turnt. Or more specifically, you might read something like this on your tween’s phone:
“That party got turnt!”
Wait, isn’t it too early to be partying at that age? But that's exactly the point, especially since the word turnt usually assumes there may have been drinks involved. So be alarmed, be very alarmed, if you see or hear this word.
While some words are OK within the right context, your cheeks will definitely turn red if you see or hear hunty, especially if you know what it means. Let’s just say, it’s one of those, “We need to have a talk,” moments if you come across it coming from your tween.
It’s a combination of the words “honey” and another not-so-nice term.
While it originated on RuPaul’s Drag Race as a term of endearment, the problem lies within the fact that it’s usually used as anything but nice!
A group of girls might bully another by calling her a hunty, so depending which side of the conversation your tween is on, it might be time to take some appropriate action.
8 Straight Fire
Straight fire isn’t too bad but just as a party getting turnt, even this one might be worth monitoring.
“Drake’s new song is straight fire!”
Ok, this meaning is ok, especially since it’s the equivalent of saying, “Drake’s new song is lit.”
However, if you see, “She’s straight fire and I can’t wait for tomorrow when we Netflix and Chill,” then your mommy Spidey senses should start tingling right away.
And this, especially if you thought your tween was supposed to be studying for a super important test tomorrow. It would be even concerning if they made plans for 2am and you didn’t realize yet they sneak out frequently.
7 Netflix and Chill
Speaking of Netflix and Chill, this one has been in circulation for a while already but it’s still an important one to cover. While parents might jokingly use Netflix and Chill to refer to binge watching The Walking Dead or Riverdale, tweens (and teens!) may use it with completely different intentions in mind.
“Want to Netflix and Chill?”
Cue the alarm bells!! The second part doesn’t have the same meaning as it used to when we, moms, were younger. The chill part now refers to certain kinds of activities, so you should be very alarmed if your tween is planning on Netflix and Chilling.
The biggest trends when it comes to slang words right now involve either shortening words or merging two words to create a new and cooler sounding one.
The latter is the case for huggle, which is a combination of the words hug and snuggle. Awh cute, right?
Not so fast! Do you really want to see or hear huggle in this context:
“Babe, all those huggles last night felt so good.”
Wait what, wasn’t your tween supposed to be soundly sleeping in her bed last night, instead of out and about with a boy? But don’t freak out too fast and make sure to give your tween a chance to explain first.
5 Wife Her
“I’m going to make her my wife.”
Aww, right? It’s certainly cute but again, the tween period isn’t one that we usually associate with such feelings. As adults (yes, remember you’re an adult and a parent now), it’s easy to think that 8-year-olds or even 12-year-olds shouldn’t be having those kinds of goals and feelings. I couldn’t agree more but the fact of the matter is that it starts young, sometimes as early as daycare!
#Goals is rampant right now. We’ve got #RelationshipGoals and any kinds of goals you can think of but just like the whole “wife” thing, it’s once again not anything parents actually want to think of their kids doing. The tween age is for studying and doing good in school, right? Not for daydreaming about relationship goals!
On the bright side, goals can also refer to more appropriate tween-speak, such as: “Your outfit is goals.”
Or you might even see: “Squad goals,” which refers to the ultimate best friends group. That’s right, BFF is out, and squad is now in.
“Archie is my ship.”
If you’re confused, it’s okay! The slang word “ship” comes from “relationship” and has long been used to refer to a romantic relationship between two fictional characters who weren’t actually romantically linked. For example, “I ship Harry and Hermione.”
But in the current tween slang lingo, saying “Archie is my ship” may simply be referring to a crush. Again, it’s not nearly as bad as some of the others but it could be enough to make some parents blush at the thought of their tweens having a crush.
After all, we want them to stay little and innocent forever, don’t we?
Last but not least, if you see the hashtag #FOE, then your cheeks may turn red for a completely different reason. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with enemies and no, your precious tween likely isn’t being bullied.
#FOE is an acronym for Family Over Everything.
Awh, cue the waterworks! If you see this one (and we’re totally envious if you do), then you can rest assured you’re doing everything right. With this one, you’ll at least know that you’re instilling the right values and that your tween is actually listening to you… for now at least.
Be concerned, be very concerned if you see OC. Once you know what it means, never forget it or you might just come back home to a disaster.
OC means 'open crib' or more specifically, that the parents aren’t home.
While you’re probably not leaving your tween alone at this age just yet, it can most certainly apply if let’s say you asked your 17-year-old teen to watch your 10-year-old tween while you went on a date with your husband. Anything can happen in such a scenario and it’s best to always be on top of your tween and teen slang.