As a mom, I’ve had to accept the fact that my teenagers would rather text than talk. And if I want to stay in touch with my teens, I’ve got to meet them where they live – on their phones. Most of our texts are functional messages, such as when they’ll be home, or where to pick them up, and this kind of information is helpful and makes life a little easier. I also like when my teens text me that they’ve arrived safely, or they’re running late. Now that my kids are in high school and college, our lives are busy, and our schedules are different. We can rarely find time to be together. Texting at least lets us stay in contact with each other.
15 texts I wish they’d send to me
It often feels like my teens only text when they want something- a ride, permission to go to a friend’s, supplies they want me to pick up from the store – or they want information – What’s for dinner? Where are the clean towels? Once in a while, it would be nice to get a text that makes me smile or makes me feel appreciated.
Here are 15 texts I wish my teenager would send to me:
- Hi mom. Have a great day! See ya tonight
- This house is sooo boring! So, I did the dishes!
- Hate to admit it, but you were right
- Got a minute? I need to ask your advice
- I found my wallet. I did leave it in the car like you said
- Practice cancelled. You can take it easy tonight
- Just checking. The dog needed to go for a walk, right?
- Good news on the math test! I got an A!
- Got gas and washed the car. Just to say thanks for letting me drive to the game last night
- Just thinking, when I move out, can I still come home for the holidays every year?
- Sorry I’ve been a pain. Thanks for dealing with it
- Got accepted to the university! And offered a scholarship!
- How about popcorn and a movie at home tonight?
- Don’t die of shock but I cleaned my room!
- Just so you know, I love you.
Actually, just #15 would make me happy.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
Communicating with teens is important, but sometimes extremely difficult. I’ve found that parents and teens think differently about things, but with open communication, we can learn to understand each other and find common ground for agreement.
Teenagers sometimes find it hard to talk to parents face to face, because they aren’t comfortable talking about their emotions, or they worry about how we will react. I realize that when my teens send a text about an issue at school or a problem with a friend, it means they have reached out to me and want my help or support. It’s their way of opening the lines of communication and their preferred method of communicating. I need to keep that communication going in a way that feels comfortable to them, even if that’s through texting. Often we start a discussion of the problem with text messages, and later we can talk about it together in person.
When I do have an actual conversation with my teens, I try to remember to model good communication skills. While teens are prone to emotional outbursts, it’s vital for parents to stay calm and not be drawn into confrontations or drama. Practice aspects of positive parenting, including active listening and understanding. Be sure that you don’t communicate with your teen only when you have a grievance. Give them your approval and praise their accomplishments. Validate their feelings and give your support. Listen openly, without jumping in to give your advice or opinions. All of these communication skills can be practiced in text messages, as well as in person. You can send your teens supportive and positive texts. Maybe just a short message occasionally that says, “I’m proud of how you handled that situation yesterday” or “I admire how hard you’re working on your project for school” or “I really enjoyed hiking with you last weekend”. Don’t get all sappy and long-winded, but let your teens know you’re thinking of them, and you noticed that they did something well.
When you take the time to talk with your teens, and listen to them, they know that you care, and that they’re a priority for you. Parents need to be aware of what’s happening in the lives of their teen and to watch for signs that their teen is having serious problems. Find some time in your busy schedules to do things together with your teens, and take advantage of the time together to chat about their lives. If your schedules just don’t allow for time together, or your teen has gone off to college, then checking in with a text now and then lets them know you are still thinking of them and they’re important to you.
Texting with Teens
As I’ve tried to get more out of my own teenagers via text, there are a few things I have learned about texting with teens. It’s best to keep text messages short and simple. Teens don’t want to take the time to read long messages from their moms. They also don’t like a lot of questions. Teens are okay with exclamation points, but mostly avoid other punctuation marks. It seemed a bit odd to me, but teens find that too much punctuation changes the tone of a text. For example, using periods make a text seem too serious. Question marks with exclamation points after a question feels like you’re demanding an answer. Teens also don’t like when their parents use a lot of emojis. A thumbs up or smiley face once in a while is ok, but don’t go crazy with them. I try to respond to texts from my teens as soon as possible. I’ve learned not to expect them to answer my texts right away. They may be driving or in class, and it is better for them to reply later.
Like most moms, I am proud to see my teens grow in maturity and independence, but I miss talking with them and feeling that I’m a part of their lives. I’ve also learned that teens mostly communicate with each other through texts. So when they text me, they are not excluding me from their conversations, they are including me in their lives, and communicating with me in the way they like to communicate. When they text and ask for help, it’s because they trust me to be there for them. When they text about a problem, it’s because they know I will support them. They still want me to be involved in their lives. And every once in a while, they do text something nice, like “I love you.”
About the Author
Cindy Price is proud wife and mom to three teenagers. She would like to say she’s a parenting expert but she knows better than to do that. As a parent educator and writer for over 15 years, she’s well-aware how quickly parenting practices evolve. Family is her greatest joy and she hopes her writing can help make families stronger.
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