How to Stay Cool to Your Kids

Category: Families & Generations, Weekly Columns

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You want your kids to relate to you, right? You want to be cool, don’t you? Maybe you should try to relate to them? Novel idea. Do you remember all the DUMB things your parents liked and did? Do you really think you’re any different?

Every kid swears he or she will be a better parent than his or her own parents. And, as a kid, we know exactly what we’ll do better plus: we’ll be cool! We’ll like the same music as our kids. We’ll not get crazy about a tattoo or little ol’ piercing like our parents did!

BUT, most of us turn into our own parents, whether we like it or not. These are some tips that might bring back that cool kid you used to be. Warning: Follow these tips at your own peril!


I have a good friend who has two boys. He said he didn’t need to bother with texting. He said his kids were young and he’d figure it out later. Well, those kids are now pre-teens and he’s lost. If you have a smart phone, maybe be smart and learn how to use it? My primary form of communication with my two teen boys is via text. My younger son’s only method of communicating with anyone is via text.


By the time you read this, the next big thing may replace Facebook, but my guess is that it will still be around. I don’t know if it will be Google +, which apparently is hot and cold, depending on the day of the week. I don’t know if it will be Pineterest, another new social media network. But, there’s no question that Facebook is here – whether “to stay” is the long-term question but it is here now, without a doubt.

Like texting, the Steve’s of the world say they don’t need Facebook. Your kids live there. You should also. However there is an essential rule for parents: Be your kid’s “friend,” but don’t post or respond to anything on their wall! The moment you do, even if it’s nice, you’re toast. Watch and learn. Nothing else.

Learn the Lingo

Omg, idk, wtf, brb, and so many other acronyms are the language of many kids, probably yours also. Learn the lingo. Especially, PAW: Parents are watching and POS: Parents over shoulder.

Tweet Like the Birds

My favorite, ubiquitous, excuse for not being on Twitter is, “I don’t want to know where my friends are eating lunch,” or something similar. Mom, Dad, I don’t care what you think Twitter is or isn’t, that foolishness is going to distance you even further from your kids. If they tweet – you tweet.

Don’t EVER Say, “When I Was Your Age.”

The heading says it all. Did you like hearing that? ‘Nuff said.

Change Your Wardrobe More Than Once a Decade

I know those old flip-flops are really comfortable and those jeans you wore in high school still fit and you’re so very proud, but get with it. Polyester went out when disco went out. Pay attention to your clothes. Don’t look like the old foggy your kids know that you really are.

If Your Kids Like Lady Gaga, You Will Try to Like Lady Gaga

Whether you have girls that adore Justin Bieber or boys that like Lil’ Wayne, try to like their music. Most importantly, don’t tell them how Kiss and The Eagles, or whomever you liked when you grew up, are “real music.”

Stay Up Past 9:00 p.m.

The first sign to your teens that you are old, tired, and irrelevant is when you’re snoring at 9:00 p.m., whether in your favorite chair or in bed. Get up, get out, and show them that YOU know how to Par-Tay!

Trade in the Mini-Van for a Mini-Cooper…Convertible!

Unless you have The Brady Bunch, why do you need that BORING mini-van? Get a convertible! Have the car that your kid’s friends want to ride in. The more you’re with them, the more they’ll loosen up and talk. Then you learn. When they’re in your cool car, let them control the radio dial or MP3 hook-up. Be quiet. Be part of the upholstery. You will be amazed how quickly they’ll forget you’re driving and pretty soon say the most surprising thing. In the meantime, you’re the cool parent with the hot wheels.

Kiss in Front of the Kids

Show ‘em that mom and dad have the hots for each other and aren’t afraid to show it. Yes, every generation thinks they’ve discovered sex but show ‘em that dad and mom know a move or two! When you’re making love, don’t worry about making noise! That is what love is. Let ‘em know it!

As I always say with tips, lists, and stereotypes, there are exceptions to every rule and any one of the above ideas may not suit you, your family, or your kids. Pick and choose. But, don’t be afraid to show who you are, your vulnerabilities, your flaws, your nature. Relevance is honesty, humor, and hubris. Okay, hubris doesn’t fit, but it’s a great word.