Kid Connection Tip: The Good Side of Texting

Posted May 18, 2015 by jimhigley

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“I refuse to text with my kids.”

If I had a nickel every time I’ve heard that comment.

And I get it. At least I get it up a point. There are plenty of negatives associated with kids and texting:

  • It’s distracting. They get lost in it. And it’s way too easy for them to tune us parents out;
  • It’s dangerous – for kids who have driver’s licenses. And “dangerous” is probably an understatement. It’s deadly. And it’s an epidemic;
  • It’s screwing up how kids communicate and talk to one another. (Don’t even get me started about high school boys pulling up to our driveway texting my daughter that they were waiting for her!);
  • It’s distorting – for our children – what “real” relationships are all about. Or could become;
  • It’s making “talking” a secondary activity;
  • It’s pulling our kids – and us – away from the real world. And into a very addictive world waiting within our cell phones.

There’s not one item above that I disagree with. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the presence of my own children – only to have them buried in social media. With texting at the top of the list.

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“I refuse to text with my kids.”

I actually used to say that. That was about a year or so after I said, “I’m not getting my kid a cell phone until they are 16.” The truth is I’ve said a lot of things about parenting that I’ve ultimately come to change my mind over. And texting is one of those things.

The Good Part about Texting 

Here you go folks, I hate to burst your parenting bubble but I have something to share. You know the old saying that, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes?” I think the “parent” version of that well-known quote is: “Nothing is certain but death, taxes, and kids who grow up way too fast.”

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So here’s my confession: Texting is – today – an important tool I use to stay in touch with my children. Every day. Now before you persecute me, please remember that all of my children are in or out of college. I don’t see them every day. I can go weeks without seeing them.

I’m also not saying that texting is the only way I communicate with them.

But it’s become an important way to communicate. Why? Because I can use it to insert myself into their days without being a helicopter parent. It’s a simple, acceptable-way-for-them to say, “your dad is thinking about you.” And I use it to my advantage.

  • I use it for random messages to remind them that they are people of value;
  • I use it to remind them to think about me – “About to go on a run. What are you doing?”
  • I use it to send a photo of an old family photo that I stumbled upon (and the truth is I never really “stumbled” upon it. I went and found it with intent!)
  • I use it to facilitate communication between my children. (“Roll call. What’s everyone doing?”). It’s a way to make sure we stay in touch

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So. Texting isn’t as good as the real thing. But if we waited for the real thing we’d use a lot of opportunities to connect.

Texting.

It can be bad.

But it actually can be very, very good.

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This memory is part of a series of stories I’m sharing during the months of May and June – highlighting the importance of connecting with our children. These memories are brought to you by the wonderful folks at Kimberly-Clark who have compensated me for my writing. All opinions are my own. 

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