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Does Your Child Meet Your “Text-pectations”?

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
Question: My son goes to college 1,000 miles from home. I try not to bother him excessively but it still annoys me and even hurts me that he doesn’t answer at least half my texts ...

WHAT DID "THE DEAN" SAY?

See http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/child-meet-text-pectations/
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Replies to: Does Your Child Meet Your “Text-pectations”?

  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 30,140 Super Moderator
    My son in Lebanon does a much better job of returning texts than our daughter in Pennsylvania does! The only time I am guaranteed she will respond is if I text something like, "Go get a pizza, on us." Otherwise, I usually won't hear from her, even if it's something important. :(
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
    @MaineLonghorn -Interesting because I bit my tongue (well, my fingers ) before speculating that this might be a gender thing ... i.e., that girls are much better at text communication than boys are. While our sample size isn't very large here ;-), now I'm thinking that maybe the gender thesis is wrong!
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 30,140 Super Moderator
    Well, our son may be an outlier since he's so far from home. He left last August and won't come home until this Christmas - 16 months! He tells me he has discovered that I do more for him than he realized! My rebellious, angry kid now writes frequently to say he loves us and sends lots of photos from Beirut. :)
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
    @MaineLonghorn -Maybe you can make your first (or next ) million by creating a program that sends crummy collegian communicators to war-torn countries so that they better appreciate their parents. I bet a lot of CC Moms and Dads would sign up! ;-)
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 1,963 Senior Member
    If I was paying for my student's phone and they didn't respond in a timely fashion (all things considered) we'd be having a talk. If they still didn't show enough respect to get back to me after the talk, I'd shut off their phone.
  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 Registered User Posts: 162 Junior Member
    Our son texts regularly during the week (pics included). We try not to text him, but if we do responds as soon as he can without interrupting his classes, studies, etc
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 30,140 Super Moderator
    @NEPatsGirl, that's a good suggestion. Don't know why I didn't think of it already!
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
    @NEPatsGirl -I imagine that a lot of folks agree with you, but the "timely" aspect and "all things considered" do leave some gray area. I've known parents who think "timely" is a couple hours while others might allow a couple days. Likewise, most parents accord slack when major tests are pending, while there must be a few out there who figure, "Well, we gave him that new XBox game so I guess we won't hear from him until he breaks it!" :-(
  • LizardlyLizardly Registered User Posts: 2,129 Senior Member
    Maybe distance is a factor. I have two sons and the one who is further away and I see less is better about responding to texts.

    This is a struggle for us. H is learning that text is the best way to communicate with the kids. He would rather call. H also expects an immediate response, including in situations that don't really require such a fast response (i.e. not an emergency or during a time kids shouldn't be on phones like at work or during class). But the boys aren't without blame. Sometimes they are slow to acknowledge a text when they ought to at least answer "will call in the evening."

    I think it is good to establish expectations ahead of time. I've told them I want to hear back within 24 hours unless otherwise noted---like if we need to make travel reservations asap.

    I do send provocative texts and pictures to get a rise out of them. Cat pictures get a response.
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
    Cat pictures get a response.
    For me, that worked only freshman year. Now I think I'd have to resort to putting the poor cats in cute costumes or posing them in amusing positions (like riding the neighbor's dog?) in order to elicit any response. ;-)
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,430 Senior Member
    Like many parents, I go from being merely annoyed that my kid didn't respond 6 hours ago, to "I texted 12 hours ago and now it's 11 pm, so I am sure she is lying in a ditch somewhere." I told her that if I text her and hours go by, I eventually start worrying and would she please just respond so I know she isn't in a ditch. She seems to think that is fair. But if it's nothing important at all, I rarely get an answer. Weirdly, she will usually pick up her phone, even if she is with people. But she raely calls and pretty much only texts me stuff that I need to know. Anything to do with money gets a quick response.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 10,783 Senior Member
    Since I paid for my kids' phone plan I required timely answers to texts and phone calls. When they didn't come, I threatened to block their phones. A couple of times I followed through. It worked.
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
    A couple of times I followed through. It worked.

    It's refreshing to read about parental follow-through, and it usually does work, if the parents have practiced it all along. It's hard to turn into The Enforcer when kids are teenagers if you've not done it for the years in the past.

    I bet that the lion's share of parents of college students ... or at least the College Confidential parents ... pay the cell phone bills (except for overages) so it makes sense to me to set text-reply guidelines and block the phones if they're not reasonably met.

  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 31,642 Senior Member
    Weirdly, she will usually pick up her phone, even if she is with people.

    I'm on the upper edge of the generation that was born with a phone in hand. This has a very logical explanation- we don't call friends unless there's something major. So when you call, it's programmed that something is important whereas a text is less so.

    My dad hasn't worked since I was in middle school (disabled) so I basically became his life and he had attachment issues when I left for college. My mom worked until my 1st year of college. When my mom contacted me, it was because of something important and I would always answer. When it was my dad, it would often just be whichever passing thought was going through his head at that particular moment. I wouldn't respond to most of what he sent.

    Around my junior year, he got upset that I always answered mom but not him. I presented him with screenshots of contact my mom has with me vs his. Eventually he got it and we're much better communicators now.
  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom Registered User Posts: 3,372 Senior Member
    We aren't a texting family. The few times I've given text a try with our son, I've gotten no response. Doesn't bother me. We e-mail with updates or call if something is urgent, but our son can't always answer the phone. We've learned to live by his availability as he's learned to live by ours. When he has time and wants to talk, he calls, and those times are precious, but none of us likes the interruptive nature of texts. If I want to tell him I love him and I'm thinking of him, I send him a care package and a nice long letter. Texts and emoticons don't cut it for me.

    Our son went far away to boarding school at 14, and we still didn't use the phone much. Twice we needed to reach him rather urgently (deaths), but called his advisor to find him and arrange a place where he could talk uninterrupted. Except for those two times, I can't think of any reason to interrupt him in realtime. We do exchange pictures occasionally as he does like to see his cat, but the pictures prompt eventual phone calls rather than texts.

    <rant>I'm a party of one here, but I wish the cell phone had never been invented. When my phone is no longer covered by H's corporate plan, it's gone. I don't even care about having one in the car for emergencies. I hate that feeling of incessant electronic connection. I apologize to all who have left so many messages on my phone because I refuse to turn the sound on.<rant over>
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