You can convince your children that you’re cool, even if your idea of an “in” dance is the Bunny Hop and you think that Eminem is a candy!
“Being considered a ‘cool’ parent is no longer a luxury — in this day and age, it’s essential,” observes child-rearing expert Dr. Judy Gringeld.
“If your teen is going to open up to you about things like premarital sex or drug use, he or she has to believe you’re on the same wavelength.”
Here, from Dr. Gringeld, are seven ways to prove to your kids you’re hip:
- USE YOUTH SLANG SPARINGLY. Dropping an occa- sional “dude” or “sweet” into the conversation can help establish you as with-it. But don’t go overboard. If you try to sound like a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it will just confirm to your kids that you’re “way uncool.”
- KEEP A CD OF A HOT POP STAR IN YOUR CAR. You don’t have to actually listen to the warblings of a teenybopper idol like Justin Timberlake, but your child will be surprised and impressed to “discover” you’re a fan.
- MAKE OUT WITH YOUR MATE. Teens don’t think their parents have sexual feelings. Show them how wrong they are by substituting a French kiss for your usual morning good-bye peck. Your kids may groan, “That’s so gross,” but they’ll realize you’ve got the same raging hormones that they do.
- KEEP ABREAST OF NEW TECHNOLOGY. Nothing will mark you as an old fuddy-duddy faster than using out- of-date terminology — for example, referring to a DVD- player as a VCR or a CD as a “record.”
- LIGHTEN UP ABOUT DIRTY DANCING. If your teen indulges in “booty-dancing” at a house party, don’t scold the raunchy behavior — just look away. “Remember, it’s not sex — it just looks like it,” notes the expert. “But unless you’re really light on your feet, don’t attempt trendy dances yourself. It will only make your teen queasy. In fact, never dance in front of your kids at all — old-fashioned dance moves will make you look quaint.”
- DRESS YOUR AGE. Don’t try to “look young” by mimicking youth fads like low-riding jeans. Instead, wow your kids with designer wear, if you can afford it. If not, buy some offbeat items from the thrift shop and come up with a unique look of your own. Nothing is cooler than bold individualism.
- MAKE ‘EM LAUGH. Show you have a sense of humor. But remember, kids aren’t into wry, Noel Coward-like wit — try more for physical gags like the gunk-in-the-hair routine from There’s Something About Mary.