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Saturday
Sep082012

'Mom, Dad, Stop Texting Me!'

They sit across from each other in my office. Their silence is deafening. The daughter starts first. 
"She took away my cell phone."
"We had a deal and you broke it. You are supposed to respond when we try to contact you."
"Mom," she answered in an exasperated tone, "between you and Dad I get at least a hundred texts an hour. I don't even text my friends that often!"
A young man in college had similar complaints. He reported that since he went away to college his parents text him constantly. He reported that they get upset when he doesn't respond immediately. " Don't they realize I'm in class?"
Okay, be honest, does this sound familiar? Ask yourself the following:
1.) Do you text your kids just to say "hi" more than once a day?
2.) Do you find yourself using  "texting talk" in regular conversation?
3.) In the course of a day do you spend more time texting than talking?
4.) Do you get annoyed when someone interrupts your Texting to talk to you?
If you answered YES to any of the questions below you should probably read on.
You may be a "textaholic," and if you are, your addiction may be impacting your teens more than you realize. It is one thing to use Texting as a way to stay connected to your teen's, it is quite another to text so often that your teen's begin to feel like they are chained to you.
The mother above did not realize just how out of hand both her and her husbands Texting had gotten. It was only when her daughter stopped responding completely that she began to take notice.
So how do you know when you cross the line from interest to intrusive?
Here are some thoughts:
1.) Work with your teen to establish rules. Be sure to differentiate between texts which require immediate responses (for example, texts acknowledging they have arrived to their destination safely).
2.) If you like to randomly have a "check-in chat" with your teen, be sure to respect their schedule. This is especially true if your teen is away at college.
3.) Be mindful of how often you text your teen. Too much Texting can make your teen feel as if Big Brother is always watching.
4.) Create a code word you and your teen can use to quickly indicate that while all is well, you or your teen are not available to chat.
5.) If you notice that your teen suddenly increases the number of texts she is sending to you, sit down and check in with her face to face (the old fashioned way), she may be telling you she needs your support and/or guidance.

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