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Casual vs. Proper Grammar & Tweens

by Michele | February 11th, 2016 | Communication, Tweens

editingI am a self-declared grammar fanatic. I believe in the proper conjugation of verbs, the correct use of punctuation, and everything else that makes for good writing. However, I also understand that there are exceptions to these rules. As a parent, I believe is my job to help teach my children when grammar rules need to be followed and when they can be relaxed.

The most important part of this lesson is helping your tween understand that using proper grammar allows others to see how bright she is. Yes, it may take a few minutes more to write correctly, but the benefits are worth it. While your tween most likely isn’t applying for a job at this age, taking the time to educate them now will pay off later.

When to use proper grammar:

  • Almost all school assignments- I assume this is a no-brainer but have added it here just in case. Even if your child tells you that spelling/punctuation/etc. don’t count toward the grade, explain the value in handing in good work. A teacher will remember that your child put in his best effort when a well-edited paper is submitted.
  • Cards and letters- When sending a thank you note to grandma or a birthday card to a friend, the use of correct grammar shows that your tween took an extra second or two to put their best work forward. (The exception to this rule can be found below.)
  • Applications- Your tween may not be applying for a job or college yet, but there are other opportunities that require an application. Does your child want to be on student council or attend a special camp? There may be paperwork for it, and your tween should edit it before submitting.

When casual grammar/slang can be used:

  • Texting with friends- Sure, you may check your tween’s phone occasionally to be sure that all of her conversations are appropriate, but whether every letter is lower case doesn’t matter.
  • Rough drafts- Some people work better getting all ideas on paper (or computer) quickly. As long as your tween understands that he will have to edit before finishing the paper, let him type or write away.
  • Social media posts- I have to confess that I am torn on this one. As your tween moves into teen and adult years, her social media feeds may be viewed by potential employers, colleges, and more. Does she want them to think that she can’t edit her own writing? The flip side is that many, many people use slang in postings, and the world generally accepts that social media writing is not reflective of your actually abilities.

Start to teach your kids about the importance of using good grammar now. They may not appreciate now but certainly will when the assignments of high school and college begin.

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