February 14, 2011 —
As a former D.A.R.E and school resource officer, I have spent a lot of time working with teens in my community. As such, I have gained tremendous insight into teen culture and behavior. One aspect of teen life that is certainly different from when I was growing up is how much time teens spend on their phones. Nowadays, it is rare to see teens walking down the street or out to dinner without a cell phone in hand or within arm’s reach. Text messaging has become their primary form of communication, and while nothing replaces face-to-face communication, texting does present a convenient and effective way for parents to talk with their teens.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s Time to Text guide discusses tips for using texting as a channel to talk to teens. The site lists frequently used lingo and provides a how-to manual for those who have not texted before. The guide also provides examples of messages that parents can use and suggests topics that could be discussed via text.
By texting your teen, you open the lines of communication for future conversations. Texting your teen about his or her day, school, or friends lets him or her know that you care and that you are always there to talk. It may also allow your teen to bring up topics that he or she would not be as comfortable addressing face-to-face.
Although texting is a great way to reinforce conversations you have with your teen, it should never replace them entirely. For more information, guidance, and tips about talking with your teen, visit the Partnership at Drugfree.org’s Time to Talk page.