I share their excitement. I’m sending my oldest to university in September, just about an hour, but only a text message away. Am I worried I’ll miss her? A little. Am I worried she’ll miss us? A little more. Am I worried I won’t know what she’s doing every single minute of every single day? Not really. The fact is that most of our conversations already exist mostly in cyberspace, via texting and email – and she sends them to me from her bedroom – and I’m totally okay with that.
Let me explain. If you don’t have teenagers, you may not be aware that many of them have attitude. Okay, all of them. No, it wasn’t just you with your own Mom. The grand traditions of snarling, door slamming, the words “fine” and “whatever” have safely been passed down to the next generation, who are secure in the knowledge that they know everything and that their parents are ranking about 11 on a Useless Scale of 1-10.
But there is one big advantage which parents today have in dealing with these beacons of personality, brought to us by the marvels of technology: Text messaging and emailing. No, I’m not advocating the constant use of texting in class, during a family dinner or while in mid-conversation with Great Aunt Emma, I’m talking about the text messages which come from the child’s own bedroom, their best friend’s house down the street, or just hanging out with their friends, in reply to a request from me, the reasonable adult. Because, while technology can do many things, the appearance of a flat word or abbreviation on a screen luckily is not able to carry the same hormone induced superior tone that any card carrying teenager would have in a verbal response. Likewise, the originating query and resulting texted answer from a Mom cannot in return carry the same nagging, whining, “nobody appreciates” me undercurrent we all love to infuse in our conversations with our teenagers (a skill honed from their toddler days).
I’ve had some of the best conversations with my teenagers this way. I have also picked up a whole new language in abbreviated words such as ur and OMG. I was going to share a list with future parents of teenagers...but let’s face it. If I know them now, they’re already outdated, and if you’re not facing the teen years for a little while, there will be an entirely new batch to learn.
So, while I’m excited about the fact that the lack of tone will continue to be a selling feature on her notes from me, what I’m mostly worried about is trying to keep up with the volume (if I get 10 an hour from upstairs, how many am I getting from 100km away?), and the ever increasingly acronym filled content.
AYS? Yes I am.
BTW, LMK how it turns out for u. NP, I’ve GTG so I’ll TTYL.
Read Funny Mummy every month. Visit www.kathybuckworth.com or www.blackberrydiaries.net for more information on books and tours. Follow Kathy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kathybuckworth