When my older son (now 20) started high school, we got him a bare-bones cell phone.  After all, there aren’t any more pay phones outside the school gym for kids to call their parents for a ride after sports practice.  It didn’t take long before he was using up all his prepaid “minutes” on text messages.

We griped about it but ultimately switched him to a regular phone plan that included texting.  It’s how his generation communicates.  And the next family member on the text-message plan was not his younger sister—it was me.

I’m a slow texter, to be sure, but I do text my kids regularly.  When I show up at school to pick them up, I’ll just message them:  “Here,” and they run out the door.  When my son first got his driver’s license, I’d ask him to text me when he got to his destination.  No one had to know he was texting his mom; there was no loss of dignity on his part, and I didn’t have to worry.  It was a win-win.

That led me to realize yet another advantage of texting with teens and young adults:  if they’re in an uncomfortable situation, such as a party that spirals out of control, they can text us for a rescue.  We’re willing to be the Bad Guy and make them come home.  Again, no one has to know that they’re texting their parents.  Teens use their phones so much that texting in the middle of just about any other activity is pretty much expected.

My 16-year-old daughter texts me during her lunch break at school.  For that matter, she’ll text me from another part of the house if she just needs to vent about something.  And sometimes, when my son’s away at school and I haven’t heard from him in a bit, I’ll just text “goodnight” at the end of my day.  I get an answer right back—every time.

With my Big Kids, texting is just another way we keep the lines of communication open.  And this is why I’ve been keeping my cell phone on my person rather than in my purse.

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Copyright 2012 Barb Szyszkiewicz