I have just sent my first ever text message. Not really: I don't know how to send one. But here it is anyway, to my three kids: Get Your Butt Home.
Apparently, some parents feel the need to communicate with their children, instead of yelling like parents have forever. Some parents are sending text messages to their children by cell phone, according to a front-page story Saturday. Improves the dialogue, said the story. One guy said it "behooves" parents to find out what kids are doing and how they are doing it.
Dialogue means talking and listening, right? Since when do parents listen to kids?
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I have a cell phone that has a camera and shoots video and probably features a homing beacon and stun gun. But I barely know how to answer the phone. I asked Jonathan Marx, Winthrop sociology professor and father of two, if this parenting by text is a fad or just parents who let kids run roughshod over them.
"Don't ask me, I never text messaged anybody," Marx said. "All communication between parents and children is good, I guess, but parents are fooling themselves if they think text messaging helps them know what their kid is up to when the kid is somewhere else."
Whatever happened to yelling into a phone or, even better, showing up somewhere and screaming at a teenager: "In the car, now!"
My two older daughters, ages 12 and 10, yell all the time that I am a dork and loser. A few reasons: I drive a 21-year-old car, try to start the wave at volleyball games, sing Kool & The Gang songs in crowded stores, raise my hand and say "I like math" at meet-the-teacher night and refuse to get them cell phones. They say they need phones so they can call home in an emergency.
Translation: They want to talk to their friends.
"You see your friends all day," I protest.
"But everyone has them," screams the oldest.
"You are such a geezer," says the middle one.
"Yeah, geezer," echoes the 5-year-old, who apparently has gone down the slippery slope to the dark side since kindergarten started.
I asked a texting parent what some common text message acronyms were so I could familiarize myself with what I will never do. A few are:
IIRC ... If I recall correctly. IMO ... In my opinion. IMHO ... In my humble opinion. AFK ... Away from keyboard. POS ... Parent over shoulder. LOL ... Laughing out loud. IDK ... I don't know. BFF ... Best friend forever.
Here is the new vocabulary. Feel free to use it with your kid.
NC ... No chance. Especially good when kids ask for money.
AYM ... Ask your mother. Use often, especially when it involves money.
BSB ... Boys smell bad. Perfect for teenage girls. True, too.
WOS ... Wife over shoulder. Good when caught placing bets with bookie.
DLH ... Doesn't live here. Good for bill collectors.
BROKE ... Broke. There is no shorter way of saying you don't have coffee money. Ask any husband on direct deposit.