It was a dark night and we were driving home. It’s at such moments that I find my children can be at their most chatty and Helen was in a talkative mood, testing me, to see if I was a cool parent or not.
The aim was to find out how well versed I was in text speak. The conversation went something like this:
“Do you know what LOL means?” she asked
“Laugh out loud,” I responded.
“I don’t know.”
“Be right back.”
The question and answer session went on for some time. Yeah, sure, I got a few wrong, but I also threw a few acronym’s in Helen’s direction that she didn’t get right.
It’s one of the benefits of being a blogger. I spend a lot of time on social media so pick these things up.
I wasn’t sure, however, if I should have purposefully got a few of these acronyms wrong. I’m the kid’s dad. In her eyes I don’t think I’m supposed to know this stuff. It’s a secretive world for young people and I’m meant to be old and stuffy.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an old housemate. He’d been to a conference where he’d seen a presentation from a motivational speaker.
This guy was from the music industry and his kids listened to a lot of thrash metal. He said he often told them to turn their music down. Secretly, however, he loved the music and wanted them to turn it up louder!
He felt he had to tell them to turn it down simply because he was a dad. It was his job to be a bit of a spoil sport.
As Helen nears her tenth birthday, she has on a few occasions referred to me as “embarrassing”. Conversely, she does occasionally refer to me as “fun”
At the end of the day, I don’t want to be a cool parent. There are few things more embarrassing than watching someone in their late thirties of forties trying to pretend they’re 20 years younger.
That said, I have every intention of moving with the times. When growing up I often felt my family were stuck in the past and that I couldn’t always be open with them.
I want to be relevant to my children. That doesn’t mean being cool as such, but it does mean understanding the world they live in.
That can be as simple as demonstrating you know your text speak or enjoying their music. I’d personally draw the line at dancing to their music, but knowing your Anne-Marie from your Jess Glynne and Little Mix is very important.
Where do you sit on the cool parent scale? Do you insist on being down with the kids or are you quite happy being aloof? Feel free to leave a comment below or track me down on social media where I can be found as @dadbloguk