A Mom’s Guide to Street Cred

When you live with teenagers, you often hear things that you wish you didn’t. Sometimes as a mom, I hear things that I think are bad, but honestly, they really aren’t. They are simply using a different way of communicating. The rule regarding some of these words in our house is simple: As long as it isn’t disrespectful I’ll typically allow it – but I have to understand it. The biggest catch in deciphering teen speak is understanding that  it changes all the time. A phrase may be popular this week and outdated next week. That is enough to drive anyone a little crazy. 

Communicating with my teens is doable as long as the words they use are respectful and can be easily translated.

So, what exactly is street cred? It’s a shortened term for the phrase street credibility. Having street credibility or cred gives anyone the ability to be accepted in an urban environment. Obtaining street cred usually involves using slang words that are designed for life on the streets but have now become an important part of communication among youth. Even for those who are not familiar with street life.

Thank you Urban Dictionary.

And parents, if you don’t know already, you need to understand street cred because even the sweetest, smartest, and most articulate children have earned street cred –  ask me how I know?

Have I told you about the time we all decided to display our street cred on our family Christmas card? I didn’t think so.

Here are the words and phrases that are popular now (and have been verified for accuracy buy C.J., Tyra, and Jada.)

Blue Dot – unread text message (only for iPhone users)

I don’t even like him anymore, so I’m going to leave him on blue dot.

Cuffed/ Cuffing Season – coupled up

I need to be cuffed the week before Valentine’s Day.

FOMO – fear of missing out

But mom, I don’t care if I have a fever of 102. The FOMO is real when I think about missing this party!

G.O.A.T. – greatest of all time

Without a doubt and as a native Chicagoan, I can say that Michael Jordan is the GOAT of basketball.

Gucci – cool, good

We talked after our argument but now it’s all Gucci.

High Key  – with high intensity

I high-key don’t want to go to school tomorrow.

Keep it 100 – keep it real

I’m going to keep it 100 with you right now,  I never liked that teacher.

Low Key – with low intensity

Mom, low-key, I was hoping we were having spaghetti for dinner.

Relationship Goals – the relationship everyone wants to have

Drake and Nicki Minaj are relationship goals.

Slide into the DMs – to send a private message

She needs to slide into his DMs to find out what really happened after P.E. class.

Squad Goals – the group of friends everyone wants to have

Tyra often tell me that my friends and I are “squad goals.” I’ve known this group of people for more than 20 years and we still get together once every 2-3 months. No matter the cause, there is always a lot of laughter wherever we go.

TBTH – to be totally honest

TBH mom, I don’t really like your hair like that.

Lit – great, popular, eventful

That party was lit because the whole basketball team was there.

Throw Shade – sarcasm, offend.

I’m not trying to throw shade, but he looked a little ratchet at the party.

NOTE: I realize you got two for one in the previous sentence. “Ratchet” means not up to standards.

Leave on Read – text message that hasn’t been replied to

In this text message exhange between Tyra and me, you can see that she read my message (the picture of a lizard) at 11:38 am. For teenagers, to know someone has read your message but has not replied is tragic.

Finessing – working a situation to your favor

I’m going to finesse the system and get an extra free doughnut on National Doughnut Day. NOTE: That would be TODAY, June 2.

Gassed – to support someone and create a whilwird of energy surrounding an issue; hyping someone up

My friends gassed me up about my school presentation and I got an A!

Glow Up – makeover

I like to think that I had a glow up the summer between 9th grade and 10th grade. This would be the post-glow up look I acheived. We don’t really need to see what I looked like before the glow-up, let’s just say very large eyeglasses were an important staple of “my look.”

Kick Back -party; gathering of friends

Tyra is planning a chill kick-back to celebrate her birthday.

EMO – emotional

When I’m having a bad day I only listen to emo music by Drake where he whines about life. 

Sauce – style

I have a lot of sauce when I wear those jeans.

Have you heard any interesting words and phrases from the teens you love lately? Please share them because we can defintely use all the street cred we can get. 


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