How to Understand What Your Teen Really Means

How to Understand What Your Teen Really Means

My role as a Teen translator…

Something I’ve learnt in the last six months or so is that my 12-year-old pre-teen son has started to mumble his words when talking to me, or says things that actually don’t mean what they sound like they should mean. Drives me crazy, especially when they quieten off at the end and I can’t quite work out if that was intentional to just wind me up, or to stop me from hearing what he really said.  Or when he answers ‘fine’ for every question or statement I say.

I’ve worked out now that some things, actually quite a lot of things that come out of his mouth need their own dictionary or translator.

He’s also started to use a few slang words (legit, peng, bae, sick etc.) and although he usually speaks quite well – even with my Northern ramblings confusing his Southern words – this is totally new! It makes me feel old as I sometimes most of the time have no clue what a word means and I previously thought I was cool in this regard – point proven that I’m not, and quite frankly I have no idea what he means over half of the time. Although, I’m not going to give up trying, I really think understanding at least some of it is a benefit as I want to stay involved as much as I possibly can. Although, rather embarrassingly I actually thought “Netflix and Chill” actually meant watch Netflix and Chill…. it doesn’t!

Coby a.k.a Kevin Patterson…

Coby has also started occasionally coming out with ‘The Kevin’ groan.  If you don’t know what I’m referring to then you need to Google Kevin Patterson, a.k.a. Harry Enfield playing this character – literally drives me insane when I hear this noise.

So, I’m getting my revenge and have decided to poke a little fun at it – mwahahaha!

Here are my translations for what I think my son really means.  I hope you can relate as this probably applies to many people who have the ability to wind you up…  husbands, partners… people at work, you get my drift! 😉

And, I probably should mention that this post is a little exaggerated as he is a darl too, very polite and caring – he just has, you know… those ‘off’ moments.

So, listed below are the most current phrases, words, answers and sayings and my assumed conclusion of them.

How to Understand What Your Teen Really Means


In answer to many questions like “Have you had any homework set today” his answer will always, and I mean always be a resounding “No”.  Even if he’s been set 3 pieces of work he’ll just tell me no.  At first, in my inexperience of how much homework he should have, I was a sucker and I believed him.  Now, I know far better.  I’ll often ask three times and then eventually he’ll roll his eyes and start some homework – seriously though? Why not just skip the no’s and get on with it?

Conclusion – No often means yes! Solved.

When trying to locate something, be it a shoe, a sock, his toothbrush his answer will always be “Someone must have taken it” or “You had it” – erm no! It eventually turns up and it’s pretty much 95% his fault and he’s lost it / left it somewhere / or it’s right in front of him.

Conclusion: He’s always the one that loses things.

When talking to him and I say “Coby” he’ll often say back “Yeah, I’m listening” whilst staring at his phone/XBox/self in the mirror.

Conclusion: He’s no idea whatsoever what I just said and I’ll have to repeat myself.

“It’s not my fault” Means he thinks it’s MY fault because I haven’t yet polished up my physic abilities to know that today he decided to do an extra rugby session and I didn’t wash his socks in time.

Conclusion: Buy a crystal ball.

Everything will be answered in a loud dramatic tone with a ‘Kevin’ sigh at the end.

Conclusion: Repeat in head three times “Choose my battles, choose my battles, choose my battles” and leave him to it.

When he looks at me with those big beautiful eyes and says “Please may you help me with homework, I’m really struggling. Your colouring in is so much neater than mine.” Again, inexperience lead me to believe he genuinely needs some help, bless his cotton socks… NO Natalie you absolute sucker…

Conclusion: He can’t be arsed and wants you to do it for him!

When eating out I like him to order his own food, and ask nicely for it at the same time. Usually the waitresses love him and there’s a little bit of banter going on.  Last weekend I noticed he said this “Please may I have mumblemumble” “Pardon” said the waitress.  Coby repeats himself this time saying exactly the same thing, but also holding his hand in front of his mouth to distort the words even more.  I mean, did he fancy her or something? What was that all about?

Conclusion: Remind him beforehand to be clear and not mumble or just watch him suffer and laugh quietly… (joke) 

When loading the dishwasher, and asking if he has any dishes/cups/mouldy encrusted bowls in his bedroom, he will most definitely, as in point 1 above, always say no. He bleeding does have dishes in his room, he actually has about 3 pint glasses, 2 plates and 3 cereal bowls – TRAMP!

Conclusion: Ban food from going upstairs and make him always eat his food in the kitchen.  That’ll teach him


And last but certainly not least, just to finish off.

  • Fine = totally annoyed with you right now, you’re the worst Mum ever.
  • Five minutes = 30 minutes
  • In a minute = never going to happen
  • I’m just really really tired = Hug me, but don’t let anyone else see
  • Thanks = Genuine, nice, legitimately meant
  • Thanks a lot = Totally not nice, in fact it’s meant with total sarcasm and he is not thankful at all
  • Whatever = Go away, leave me alone (can’t you see I’m busy hating you right now)

How to Understand What Your Teen Really Means

And remember… we love our children unconditionally… even on days when you just want to throw them out of the window!! 😉

Please feel free to let me know of any more “translations” I need to know now. He is only 12 and I just know this is going to continue and most likely worsen for the next 6 years or so!

Originally featured on MeetotherMums.
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13 Comments

  1. alittleheavenly
    10th April 2017 / 7:45 pm

    Teens these days definitely have a whole new language! You have to really listen to understand, haha.

  2. raisingyourpetsnaturally
    10th April 2017 / 8:10 pm

    These are some really great tips. I know when I was a teen I was !@#$ for my parents. I’m not sure how they survived me! I’m a pet Mom so I don’t have the back talk. 😉

    • hellocuppies
      10th April 2017 / 8:12 pm

      I know!!! Me too… the thing is, I remind hum that I know every trick in the book he just thinks I’m way too old to ever have been his age once

  3. 10th April 2017 / 8:46 pm

    This is so true!! I remember when I was this age and said the EXACT same things hahaha. I’m definitely waiting a while before having children… 😉

    overcomeordinary.com

    • hellocuppies
      10th April 2017 / 8:48 pm

      Isn’t it funny!!! And do you know I hear myself saying the EXACT same things my mum said to me!!! It’s awful… I feel old! Haha

  4. 10th April 2017 / 11:35 pm

    Love this post. Have 3 teens at home still. Had a good laugh thanks

  5. Lucy
    18th April 2017 / 11:27 am

    Loving this! Not there yet, but I think it’s coming, will have to bookmark this to refer back to when I’m feeling frustrated. x

    • hellocuppies
      18th April 2017 / 11:35 am

      Ha! I couldn’t ever imagine G giving your grief! x

  6. 15th May 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Love this! I still don’t know how parents survive the teenage years!

  7. 15th May 2017 / 3:17 pm

    I’m concerned because my 9 year old seems to be going through the same thing. Well, im going to on the look out for more changes.

  8. 15th May 2017 / 3:25 pm

    I am not a parent but this reminds me a little of myself when I was a teenager. *Feels bad and rushes off to bake mom a cake*

  9. 15th May 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Oh no! My daughter is only 8 and so many of these I agree with! Sigh, I don’t look forward to the attitude of the teen years!

  10. Jamed
    16th May 2017 / 2:05 am

    Teens will always be an enigma. Will be one of the hardest things once I have one.

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