Your turn:  Are you a believer in texting teens and young adults? Why
or why not?  Leave your comment at the end of this post.

Usually Wednesday’s posts are devoted to stepparenting discussions,
but since I covered National Stepfamily Day yesterday I thought I’d
pick a topic that could apply to parents and stepparents alike.

If you’re not getting the return phone calls you’d like from the teens in
your life, try texting (sending a text message from your cell phone to

I’m a believer in texting.  My “conversion” occurred after an
experiment. What’s the best way to find out if a 16-year-old babysitter
is free to hang out with our 8-year-old?

Traditional voice message for babysitter – 2-day response.
Text message to same babysitter – 2-hour response.

No kidding.

Since I also exchange text messages with our young adult children, I
can assure you that the same hastened response time applies for early

In my opinion, here’s why texting yields a quicker response:

  • Many teens are in a habit of texting.  It’s a common way they
    interact with their friends.  They feel more compelled to respond to a
    text message than a voice message. 
  • Texting feels good.  Fingers fly; words and symbols appear on the
    screen.  Texting is current and cool. 
  • Texting is young people’s technology; voicing and headsets are adult
    technology.  You don’t see teens walking around with blinking blue
    lights hooked over their ears, do you?  (Even though I am in my 40s,
    the first time I saw someone wearing a Bluetooth earpiece, I thought
    the aliens had landed).
  • Text communication is slightly less real time and certainly less
    interactive than voice communication.  Our teens and young adults
    may actually like that they don’t have to fully interact with us at that
    moment. Sometimes it’s okay to allow them that extra distance. But
    you wouldn’t want to try to text through a serious issue that requires
    face-to-face communication.

If you try my experiment, I offer a caveat:  Don’t insert all the cute
abbreviations and symbols kids use in their texts.  That’s their world,
and your attempt to fit in will probably be scorned. 

If you’re like me, you won’t have to worry about that one.  I don’t
even know the proper way to write the icon for “laughing out loud.” 
LoL?  lol?  lOl?  (Go ahead, laugh out loud.)

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to

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2 Comments on Texting with Teens — it Works!

  1. brianfromme says:

    Yes, I completely agree. I’ve been learning more about the text messaging mindset this year. It is as you describe, like rapid-fire email. Those of us in the computer industry have been using instant messaging tools for a long time, but not quite the way that young people have “found” it on a phone.

    It is their world alright. And by fitting into their world just a bit, it makes us more accepted. There are a slew of new web tools that young people dig, like “Twitter”, that parents pretty much don’t understand. Still, accepting that this is their stuff helps keep a connection with your child.

    PS. Just scheduled my haircut for tomorrow, via text message 😉

  2. Mama J says:

    I received an e-mail from Sara, who couldn’t find her log in for comments but wanted to share this:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and ideas. What I would have written as a comment to your post on texting is this: Elliot left for college, as you know, and we decided not to call him. We send emails which he has never responded to although he says he reads them and we love his calls to us which happen at a point of need on his end and yet go past that to telling us what’s been happening. So far, it’s been good communication between us and we feel good about what we have heard from him. However, there have been a few times that I have either needed to tell him something rather urgent or when I need a reply and I have texted him. You are right that I don’t know the lingo – I stick to standard language and spelling. I have at least learned how to use my phone properly and it works. Not often but the few times I have texted I have gotten responses.

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