Has the Texting Generation Forgotten How to Talk?

June 29, 2015

How to Make Sure Your Texting Teen Can Still Have Real Conversations

Teens no longer have phone conversations or real face-to-face conversations with anyone. Texting has replaced those conversations entirely.  They no longer spend hours on the phone like they used to or just hang out with their friends and family and talk. Today they text each other and barely have live conversations at all.

How can you as parents change that? First of all, put your own phone down when you are around your kids. Lead by example. Teenagers learn through experience and from their role models. Teach the healthy habits – and show them what the unhealthy habits are – early on so they know what is allowed and what is expected of them.

In order to develop a healthy, open communication with your teen, you need to set boundaries and rules.

Don’t let them use their phone whenever they want to.  When you call them on their phone, make sure they know you expect to pick up and talk to you and not answer you via text. When you are talking to them in real time, they should be looking at you in the eyes, engaging in the conversation and listening to what you have to say, not looking down at their phone and barely paying any attention to you.  Those are all bad habits that need to stop now.

Some things that you can do in order to encourage more face-to-face conversations include:

  • No phones at the dinner table – use this time to actually talk to each other.
  • When your kids friends come over collect everyone’s phones so they are “forced” to talk face-to-face with each other. If they’re all together anyhow, why do they need their phones?
  • No phones after a certain time each night until morning. This will allow you to have quiet time before bed to talk about your days.
  • Perhaps devote one day a week (or one day a month if that’s too much) as an “electronic free day”.  Play games; go on a walk; go for a bike ride; play sports; or do a craft – whatever you all like to do together, Just spend the day enjoying each other’s company rather than your phones.

Parents need to start teaching their kids how to have a decent face-to-face conversation and unplug from their phones.  If they don’t, those kids will be in a bad place when it comes time to interview for jobs and live like an adult. You’ll be doing them a huge favor which will stay with them for years to come. They may not like it now, but they’ll thank you down the road!

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