For the Love of Texting

In the grand scheme of life, I'd rather my child text than go around pantsless.

In the grand scheme of life, I’d rather my child text than go around pantsless.

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Do you text?

I love it.  What started out as a little foray into babysitter communication has turned into a way to communicate that surpasses practically every other way I communicate.

I love the immediate response.  I love that there doesn’t have to be an immediate response (on either end) if it’s a bad time.  I love that, for an introvert like me, I don’t have to get myself psyched up for a “real” conversation.

A few of my friendships are built almost entirely around texting.

Group texting is, like, the best thing since sliced bread.  A group of friends who went away together last month started a group text while we were at our location that had most of us rolling in tears of laughter throughout the weekend.

I know, it seems strange that people who are together would need to group text while together.  But we did and it was uproariously funny.

I love being in a meeting from Hell and texting a friend, either there or not, about the Hell-like aspect of the meeting.

And I’ve just started letting my 11 year old text.

According to her, I’m way behind and making her way behind her friends because I won’t let her do Instagram yet, but I think I’m making amazing strides with allowing her to text.

And interestingly, my love of texting doesn’t extend to her.  I don’t love that she’s texting.  I want her to learn to communicate the old-fashioned way.  I want her to practice her interpersonal skills IN PERSON and not on a screen with emoticons.  (GAWD do I love emoticons).

Why the double standard?

Probably the same reason I don’t want her (either one of them) to drink.  Or eat dessert for dinner (as I’ve been known to do on occasion).

What I choose to do as an adult has come from years of practice and “putting my time in” in other ways.  Allowing kids to just jump in to the things we adults do just because 1) we do them or 2) everyone else is doing them is rife with pitfalls the size of canyons.

I thought parenting was hard when my kids were little and I NEVER.  GOT.  A.  BREAK.  I didn’t sleep enough.  Tantrums were a daily occurrence.

Now?  I don’t sleep because I worry about the decisions I make with my tween.  Am I too lenient?  Too harsh?  Do I say yes to things that other parents have said yes to because “it can’t be that bad?”  Or do I say no and risk alienation from two of the greatest loves of my life because I’m too strict?

I often say to people that sleep deprivation is one thing to talk about in an academic sense.  But to live it in the first year of a child’s life is a whole different experience.  Something that no amount of expectation setting can prepare you for.

It’s funny, because that’s how I feel about kids growing up now.  It’s one thing to talk about “letting kids grow up and away from you” in an academic sense.  It’s a whole different story to see it happen and allow it to happen.  And pray that you’re giving them the tools to handle life without you.

When my kids were babies I didn’t think I’d ever get a break from the monotony.  Now the breaks come, but I don’t get a break from the emotions of parenting.

And I guess I’ll take my chances on not letting her join Instagram yet.  She may continue to be mad at me for “not getting it.”  No parent does, even though we’ve all lived “it” (growing up) ourselves.    I imagine that’s going to be the norm for the next several years.

Gotta buckle up and be ready, I suppose.

What decision have you made with your children that they don’t like?

At what age do you think Instagram’s fine to join?





  1. my standing statement at home is…’our family does it this way’. i pick my battles…and always try to think about the fact that if the struggle is with the oldest child..what kind of precedence am i setting for those that follow. i think when it comes to social media and technology we must be terribly guarded….much more so than ever before. unless you demand passwords and are a daily stalker (as i am) we miss opportunity to talk about appropriate and inappropriate comments/pictures. my girls had to wait to get phones…and even then had plain old flip phones…and then had to wait to high school to get texting. they have survived.

  2. I think the most important factor when making a parenting decision is not what the “right” age is or what their friends are allowed to do; it’s about knowing your own kid.

    My two teenagers are socially unsophisticated (hooray!) and surprisingly not interested in pushing boundaries. I am simply not worried that their curiosity will get them into trouble. Yet.

    When I was a kid, however, I was desperate to be popular and “in” and I know that if Facebook or Instagram had been around, I’d have gotten in over my head. (Hopefully not pantsless, but you never know! Ha!)

    I’m not sure how I lucked into children who aren’t driven to misbehave, but I give them more leeway than I would have given myself if I were my parent. Weird, huh?

    Still, that’s probably not typical – which is why I say KNOW YOUR KID. Don’t assume they will try to get away with the stuff you would have, but also don’t bury your head in the sand. When in doubt, remember that they have the rest of their lives to grow up and make their own decisions, so taking things slow is probably smart.

    You’re a conscientious (can’t-sleep-at-night) parent who will make the right choice from her gut. Your girls are already ahead of the game having you as their mother.

    Whether or not they believe that now 🙂

  3. I LOVE to text too and both my older kids have private Instagram accounts. They have to let me follow them and I have to approve who they follow and let them follow. My boy is almost 13 and my daughter 10.

  4. I totally get the feeling that thinking something through academically is so different from living it. Dealing with Tweens and making good/ appropriate decisions is so complex. You’re doing a great job! And you’re they’re mum not just their friend so it is a positive thing that many decisions are unfavorable! Your writing always makes me realise parenting just becomes more complex and dynamic not easier. Although that first year was so hard. Sleep Deprivation is in a league of its own.

  5. When you allow your daughter on Instagram can you let me know? My child is only 9 – but I plan to dodge that bullet as long as possible! I have no problem with allowing her “in real life” freedom, ie, bike riding with friends for hours at a time, but I’m really shy about her being on Social media. She also texts. I let her but I’m not crazy about it. But like you, I love it. For me.

  6. On the topic of pantsless children, there’s always Sam. Over the weekend, the kids were in the ballet’s production of Phantom of the Opera. They were allowed to go sit up in the balcony and watch after their part as long as they were quiet. Sam trooped up with the others most nights, and returned to me backstage only a couple of times. One night, I was picking up costumes after the kids had gone up, and I got to his stuff. I picked up his costume pants. I picked up the pants he had come in. And it slowly dawned on me that he was sitting in the balcony in tights and star wars underwear, and that when the lights came up at intermission, he would be sitting there completely exposed to the audience. Fifteen minutes later, he came dashing in, clutching the hand of a big girl, calling, “I’m SO embarrassed!” (His “r’s” stil lturn into “w’s” when he’s distressed.) I. Laughed. So. Hard. But only after I gave him pants and sent him back upstairs.

  7. I love texting! And yes do it all the time… especially since my company started running a kind intercompany messenger system on their computers. Of course I mainly use it for quick ‘are you free then/do you want to meet with this person/etc’ texts with my boss the occasional gossip session does creep in…
    The biggest step we have been taking here is letting them chose their own clothes, which means a lot of ‘no you CAN’T wear a t-shirt today, it is too cold’.

  8. Like so much of parenting, I think tech is a case-by-case basis. I have a 10 year old who is on FB, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and has two blogs. She texts, skypes and snapchats. Her 9 year old sister only occasionally goes on FB – mainly to play games with her friends. Both of them know that we monitor all of it. We have all their passwords and we invade their privacy. Because when you are that young (I believe) you’re online life must be monitored.

    I am a social media guru – it’s my life. It’s how I make a living, how I communicate with everyone and something I love. So I can’t very well expect my kids to not love it also.

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