In the category of “It’s a Feature, Not a Bug”, the Boston Globe reveals today that homes with children aren’t filled with shouting between children and parents in different parts of the home anymore.
“Mothers and fathers eager to avoid in-person blowback are texting chore and homework reminders to teens who are a mere staircase away,” the Globe says. “Husbands and wives fearful of broaching sensitive issues are texting each other from the same kitchen.”
No more slamming the door screaming, “I hate you and I wish I’d never been born.”
Texting can make a home run more smoothly.
In Cambridge, therapist Kyle Carney said this type of family texting plan can remove the emotion from otherwise charged interactions, over, say, college-admissions prep, or wardrobe choices.
“In a face-to-face conversation things might break down,” she said.
Carney likened texting to another comfortable platform for parent-child communication: the front seat of the car, at night, with both staring ahead into darkness.
But with Uber and other services driving teens around, and kids holed up in their rooms on their devices, the opportunities for relaxed conversation are dwindling, she said.
Deborah Offner, a Newton psychologist who specializes in adolescents, said texting can be helpful for parents: “You can edit.”
But as Offner knows from texting with her own adolescent, there’s also risk. “A couple of times I thought my daughter was being sarcastic, but she wasn’t,” Offner said. “And when I didn’t use an emoticon, she took my message to be harsher than I meant it.”
Where is the line between acceptable and absurd? The societal norms are moving goal posts.
Many people consider texting so seamless that it doesn’t feel like an interruption — not even during a Patriots game, as Braintree hostess Sharyn Fireman has learned.
When she verbally offers a guest a beer while the Pats are running a play, she said, “The hand goes up — no talking!
But when she texts the offer, from her seat on her big couch — to a guest on the very same couch — she gets a text response right back.
“They trade freedom and independence for the comfort of their phones and bedrooms,” one naysayer said.
“Nonsense,” countered another who’s obviously raised kids before. “One can argue that we give our kids more independence, because we know we can always get in touch with them [and] they can get in touch with us.”
(h/t: Paul Tosto)