Does your teen seem to have his fingers glued to his phone? Does he spend more time texting than he does talking? If you have noticed this trend, rest assured that you are not alone. Most parents have the same issue with their teens. So how much texting is too much, and how can you set reasonable boundaries with your teen? These are questions that all parents of teens need to be asking.
Texting Is Communication
First, you need to remember that texting is the way today’s teens communicate. Yes, you could take it away, but this would be basically taking away your child’s social connections. If there is a problem that prompts you to do so, then do so, but understand what it is that you are doing. This is the way that today’s teens communicate in exactly the same way that you used to pass notes in class or stay on the landline into all hours of the night.
Set Some Boundaries
So, if you are not going to take away the phone, what can you do to make sure it does not drive you crazy? The key is to set boundaries, and then model those boundaries yourself.
For instance, it is highly inappropriate to check your messages in the middle of a conversation. You want your teen to talk to you, so value conversation in your home. When that conversation is interrupted by a text, the rule needs to be that you ignore the phone until the conversation is over. The text can wait for five to 10 minutes.
Next, consider a time limit on texting. Have your teen turn over the phone at a set time at night. There is probably not any good reason for them to be texting after they go to bed. As an added bonus, if you collect the phone at night, you can check the messages and ensure that your teens are not texting inappropriately (or sexting) or texting people you do not approve of. Your teen may not appreciate this rule, but if you are paying the phone bill, it needs to be turned over when you say.
Of course, you will need to determine what your rules will be, but make some rules and stick to them. You will be teaching your teen good texting etiquette while ensuring that their desire to stay connected with their friends does not rule their lives.
The Plus Side of Texting
Believe it or not, if you embrace texting, and you might as well do so since your teens are already doing it, you might find it to be an effective way to stay connected with your child. Teens are going to look at your texts and will likely answer them, because they are socially trained to do so. You may find that texting back and forth with your teens opens better lines of communication and helps you keep better tabs on where your young person is when they are not at home.