Teenagers are infamous for being on the cutting edge of current fads and trends. The reason why teens are on the lookout for something new and different is almost a given: they are working on their identity. Your teen wants to identify with something that makes him/her feel good about themselves. Something new comes out, all the teens and their peers check it out. If it sticks for a little while, it’s a fad. If it sticks around a longer time, it becomes a trend.
Many fads are harmless. Back in my day people cut the sleeves and collars of sweatshirts off and wore them inside-out. No big deal. This fad did not become a trend and is no longer seen. Today, everyone owns an IPod and will text friends on their cell phones. These fads will either fade with new technology or become a trend and stay around awhile. We’ll have to wait and see.
Some teen fads are dangerous. Huffing is one dangerous fad that comes to mind. Some kids can get pulled into a dangerous behavior, such as drug use, because something like huffing is the current fad. It is a another good reason for parents to be conscientious of the warning signs of drug use.
While keeping up with teen fads can sometimes be exhausting for parents – especially for parents of preteens who are just getting started – it is a worthwhile endeavor. Just because you can’t pick and choose which fads or trends your teen will pick up, doesn’t mean you don’t get to add your opinion and use the fad as a teachable moment. Here’s a few tips on how to keep up with your teen’s fads:
- Talk to your teen about the current things he/she is doing.
- Pay attention to the media your teen is using. Read his/her magazines, check-out his/her social networking page and watch his/her television shows. You don’t have to know everything, but knowing what your teen is talking about when talking to you about the current 'in' things will help your communication with him/her.
- If a fad doesn’t go against your morals or family values, allow it. You don’t have to be a permissive parent to pick and choose your battles and not to sabotage your teen’s social life.
- Get your teen involved in something he/she enjoys – art, dance, sports, karate, etc. – can influence some fads he/she may pick up.
- Sit back and enjoy it. Take pictures and save the memories. The best part will be sharing those with your grandchildren.