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Talk Early, Talk Often: Checking-In

Texting offers a degree of connection with friends; teens ask about homework, make plans and generally keep in constant contact. At the same time, however, text messaging can also be a great way for parents to keep in touch and monitor what their children are doing without being obtrusive. Teens are more likely to respond to texts that facilitate short, quick responses rather than answering a phone call.

Text messaging is a great option for parents and kids to stay in touch because:

  • Parents get a quick answer to their questions. This is good for today's busy kids, who are often in between school and extracurricular activities or hanging out with friends and probably won't, or in some cases can't, take the time for a normal conversation.

  • Kids are more apt to respond to text messages when they are with their friends. It is more discreet, and their answers don't have to be as detailed as in a conversation.

  • You, or they, don't have to worry about tone of voice. Some kids automatically get defensive when they hear their parent's tone of voice, which often results in delayed return phone calls or avoidance. Text messaging takes tone of voice out of the mix and can improve response times.

  • Text messaging allows you to enter your child's world. By using text messaging, parents can communicate in the style their children are used to and become more hip in their children's eyes.

  • Text messaging allows parents to compose and edit a message before pressing send. If there is a great deal of emotion around an issue, parents can write things out before actually saying them to their kids to help edit their thoughts. By making parents think about it more, text messaging removes explosive emotions from potentially charged communications and situations.

  • Text messaging vs. calling gives kids more space but allows parents to keep in touch as often as necessary. For instance, it is a good way to double-check their child's whereabouts without nagging.

  • Text messaging can also be used to strengthen parent-child bonds, and it can let kids know that their parents are thinking of them. Send kids a text message wishing them good luck before the school play audition, or let them know you are thinking of them if there is something they were concerned about, such as a difficult test or a grade.

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