Teens are notoriously hard to talk to, because they're upright hormones fuelled by $7 iced coffee drinks and hair spray. Okay, that's not entirely true, because sometimes they're not upright. I know that when I attempt to have a discussion with my almost-16-year-old daughter, it can quickly spiral into a vortex of door slamming, eye-rolling, and what I must say are some pretty creative curse words. Sometimes she gets upset, as well.
In order to side-step these unsavory moments in communication, I tried a new technique and I'd like to share it with you, because it seems to be pretty effective so far. Instead of using coherent, linguistically recognizable sounds with my noise-making face-hole, I went straight to something more a teen's speed—the cellular telephone. Oh wait, they don't call it that? It's just a "phone" now? Okey-doke, noted.
Text messages appeal to the younger set, because they are visually appealing and along with creating a generation of people who don't know what a rotary phone dial is, we have also formed a civilization of folks who like to see things. Words are, "like, ugh," and "really just a waste of time, MOTHER." Excuse me while I pull the dagger from my writer's heart and then we'll continue.
Here are some real life examples of positive communications I've had with my daughter, and why they're worthwhile. (I have her full permission to share these, because she's generous like that and also I promised to buy her an Ice Cap when I drive her to the mall for more hair spray when she wakes up.)
Text communication is great for when you need to get a teen's attention, because thanks to high-speed internet, in the last ten years their bodies have evolved to a point where they literally cannot wait for anything, not even a second. I'm not making this shit up—read some Darwin.
I give my teenager freedom, but sometimes I like to do random check-ins. Gotta keep 'em on their toes.
. . . texting can also help when your teenager needs to reach you . . .
Teenagers often find emotionally charged situations difficult to handle, so text communication allows them a safe and non-judgmental place to say the important things.
Teenagers need to be told that it's okay to express their needs. Every human being has the right to be afforded safe living conditions, and teens are no exception. Sometimes they need to be reminded it's okay to demand respect, courtesy, and . . . Nutella.
Life brings joy and wonder and amazement. It also brings rainy days, kids who don't flush, and other assorted bullshit situations. The teen brain can find it difficult to grasp all the intricacies of these less-than-stellar moments, so we as parents sometimes need to spell it out. Texting works wonders here, because your child can go back to the conversation many times if need be. It's like a guidance manual at their fingertips, really.
Your kids are part of a family and therefore part of a team. Simply put, they should be pulling their weight and doing stuff—no matter how trivial it may be. We're all links in the same chain, folks—everyone is as important as the next and no job is too small.
And, finally, teenagers can be a great source of information. Because no matter how we laugh at their perceived stupidity ("How can you pull an A+ in Advanced Psychics and seriously not understand how to stack dishes in the dishwasher?"), they are still great for crowd-sourcing, especially when you have writer's block:
So rather than force your kids to eschew all tech inside the home, use it your advantage. It's an effective tool for communication and also a great source for gathering incriminating evidence.