Texting: An unexpected bridge to talking to our teens

Teenage Family Using Gadgets Whilst Eating Breakfast Together InAn interesting phenomenon has occurred in our home lately. Everyone is getting along. It’s not that there was all out war but with two teenage daughters under one room with college in the mix, things do get interesting at times. We didn’t have any huge family meeting or the need to broker a peace treaty. We actually stumbled upon a new path to better communication by accident: texting.

We started to notice that when we had some friction between anyone at home, big or small, once they started to text about it, even if under the same roof, the situation blew over amazingly quickly and everyone went back to their happy place. So, we started to try out texting on purpose when we felt something required “talking” but a bit of space first. This has worked out great. It’s allowed whoever is butting heads to simmer down, “talk” remotely via text then come back together face to face if needed later on.

I know other folks who use this strategy, too. In fact, a social media expert I know once told me she and her significant other always fight via text. She explained it helps them “talk” more effectively and avoid huge blow outs.

Have you ever tried this strategy? If you have, how has it worked for you? If not, give it a try. After all, the teenage and young adult years can be a challenge, as you know! There’s no stranger a time than those years and I’m convinced when we talk to our kids during those few years they year Klingon. If we text them, though, now we’re talking their language and peace and harmony are restored once again.

We’ve found texting useful for a multitude of purposes and the surprise twist is this: the more we use it, the better we have become at true face time.

Here are some of the ways we use texting the most in our family that may work for you in yours:

1. Texting helps with quick updates and changes of plans that don’t require a full conversation. This works both ways. We text them changes in dinner plans, after school plans, weekend plans. They text us changes in concert times, after school plans, rehearsal plans, to name a few.

2. Texting is a great way to touch base during trips. When one of us is away on business, we use texting to keep in touch with everyone at home. The kids use texting when away on school trips and summer camps to stay in touch and keep us informed about their lives away from home. It’s a great way to stay connected across time zones. Add some pictures and videos and it can be really fun.

3. Texting can help with school issues from sorting out concerns that may arise during the day to sending a jpeg of an assignment that may have been left behind.

4. Texting has helped us stay in touch with our daughter at college. With her schedule not mirroring ours, texting has been fantastic in helping everyone feel connected during this new transition. We also use Skype and the phone when we can but texting is a great way for her to use as a security line back home when needed.

5. Texting is a great way to “talk” initially about tough topics that may be challenging to discuss in person. This is especially helpful after a disagreement. We’ve used this a few times after parent/teen moments of angst and it truly helps clear the air.

6. Texting helps with fun announcements about grades, goings on during the day and news that people just want to keep each other informed about. We use this for everything from grades to announcements of births, engagements, silly news we hear about just to make people smile.

7. Texting is a great way to send pictures of trips, concerts, events or fun moments. This is one of our family’s favorite uses of texting.

Texting isn’t a replacement for true FaceTime but is a great way to build a bridge to deeper relationships during those years of family transitions. So, give it a try. You’ll know you’re on the right path when you’re teen starts to tell you you’re using texting wrong. Then do what all good parents of teens do – keep going with it!

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