Parenting Teenagers Rule #1: Let Your Fingers Do The Talking

At dinnertime, when we all are home, which is not as often as I’d like it to be, I actually get to have straight on conversations with my children. If they are in the mood. They are teenagers and I get where I rate on the list of who is most important here and now. But I know they love me. Like me too. And for some reason, most of the time, it’s easier for them to make that clear in the form of pixels on a tiny, tiny screen.

If you haven’t realized it yet, I am a little bit of a control freak and have never asked anybody to guest post on my blog in this first year of blogging, but I am trying to work on that terribly obnoxious and possibly damaging quality of mine, so today, I am thrilled to introduce you to my first guest poster ever, the always entertaining, story teller extraordinaire: Liv Rancourt. She has a few things to say about how she uses texting as a parenting tool. Read to the end, please, because then you’ll get to enjoy an excerpt from her happy ending Christmas short story called THE SANTA DRAG. Also, the whole story is only 99 cents from Amazon Kindle and other places. Might as well buy it; heck, buy three copies instead of your morning Starbucks. 🙂

Hope you enjoy! Take it away Liv.

Thanks so much for letting me share your blog space, Sara. I know you were hoping for something funny, and, well, since my head has been solidly in an alternative universe of my own creation (read: revising a novel for submission) I thought I’d let my kids do a little of the heavy lifting.

Since last spring they’ve both had those slidey-phones with tiny keyboards, and I’ll tell you what, the text messages I get from them are totally worth the price we paid for those phones. Check these out…The kid’s texts are in bold & my responses are in italics.

 

Now, that little exchange was with my son, who’s getting straight As in an accelerated program. I’m not boasting, just pointing out the toxic effect text messaging can have on spelling.

My daughter and I tend to have text conversations (text-ations?) rather than just zinging one-liners at each other. Well, except for the time I texted her to make sure the friend that was supposed to pick her up actually had, and she responded with something like “No Mom, I’m in the road bleeding and near death.” I messaged back that if she was typing on that tiny keyboard,  things couldn’t be that bad.

Here’s a sample of an accidental conversation the daughter and I had while I was out of town at a conference… 

 Well actually, kid, you were talking to your mother, which as any parent of a 14 year old girl knows, can be a very precious thing. This is just a snippet of a conversation that we carried on over the course of the evening, and yeah, it might not be all that earthshaking, but some days it feels like these little text messages are the most meaningful conversations we have.  We’re staying connected, you know?

The son, however, hasn’t yet taken that header into adolescent angst, which is a good thing. I’m not sure I could live with two drama queens. His texts mostly just make me laugh, like the time I forgot to fill out the back of a permission slip and FROM SCHOOL he texted me a photo of the blank document with the subject: This is a disgrace.

I guess not. And actually, son, it would be 180 degrees. But who’s counting?

So there you have it, a little sneak peek into the life of a parent with teenagers. I love being able to text them any time, just to check in, and for the most part they respond. The husband gets into the act, too, although he has an old-fashioned flip phone, so his responses tend to be limited to Yes or No.

What about the rest of you? Are your kids handy with the text messages? It can be a source of unending amusement…

And since you’ve hung in with me this far, I’m going to put in a plug for my newest release, The Santa Drag. It’s a clever little holiday story with a  warm and fuzzy ending.

Things aren’t always what they seem, and this shopping mall Santa has secrets that only her true love can reveal.

Peace,

Liv

Thanks Liv! It’s Sara again. I’m inserting the excerpt from THE SANTA DRAG right here. Read, read, read and buy, buy, buy. But really. No pressure. I just found the story really fun and more than worth the buck I spent on it.

EXCERPT FROM THE SANTA DRAG:

On a particularly busy Saturday, I was tired and thinking more about a double shot of espresso than I was about the pile of kids who wanted to sit in my lap. The weak winter sun was making its circle over the atrium where the Christmas Village was set up, and my roommate Shauna was buzzing by every so often to giggle at me from the sidelines. She was trying to get all of her Christmas shopping done in one day, which was a good trick for someone with as many fertile brothers and sisters as she had.

“Come sit on Santa’s lap.” Maya, the photographer and kid-wrangler, invited the next kid in line approach my golden throne. Well, it was fake gold, but the kids didn’t know that.

“No,” said a little girl with a stubborn crease between her brows. She was dressed in Seattle’s version of Christmas formal, a stiff, red velvet dress, likely made from organic fabric dyed with beets and rose hips. On her feet were two-toned leather MaryJanes that probably cost sixty-five dollars. At least the green corkscrew ribbons tied around her blond pigtails looked like they belonged on a child. I made myself as approachable as possible, getting down to her level and producing a big smile.

“Come on, Thula,” her mother said, tapping one French manicured nail on her cell phone. “Go sit up there with Santa so we can take your picture.” She sounded as if this was just one more thing to knock off the list.

“It’s okay, sweetie.” Maya put on her encouraging smile. Maya was a tiny thing, barely bigger than most of the kids we saw, with long dark hair, a tiny gold hoop pierced through one nostril, and bugged-out eyes that looked like they’d been molded out of chocolate. She was non-threatening as an adult could possibly be. The kid stared at her and bit down on her bottom lip. At least she wasn’t crying. Yet.

“You want to come tell Santa what to bring you for Christmas?” I kept my voice pitched down somewhere under my sternum. It helped that I had one of those raspy lady voices that earned me a permanent spot in the tenor section whenever I sang in choir.

“No.”

Sometimes less is more when you’re dealing with preschoolers. We went back and forth for several minutes until  the kid went from biting her bottom lip to letting it pooch out and tremble. Never a good sign. Finally, after a ton of coaxing, she was more-or-less close to me,  squatting down on the other side of one of the big pretend presents that ringed my throne. That was good enough for her mom, and Maya snapped a picture.

When she was done, the little girl glared at me from behind the big, glossy red ribbon that topped the present. “Bring me a baby brother,” she bellowed and took off running..

Mom’s glare was meaner than the kid’s had been. Hey, it’s not like I made any promises.

The kid ran full tilt past the pseudo-Tyrolean houses that made the Village, and out through the crowds of shoppers. She stopped in the middle of an open space and cut loose, her sobs echoing around the smoky glass dome that covered us. We could hear her carrying on until she and her mom got swallowed up by the Ross store at the end of the north hallway. The whole place fell into a bit of a hush when she was gone, as  everyone exhaled in relief. This close to Christmas, none of us needed a crying child to ratchet up the stress level.

A young mother was next in line. She came into the Christmas Village and positioned a slightly damp baby on my lap, moving as if something hurt. The baby was so young that Mom still looked a little pregnant under her loose denim-blue shirt. Or maybe she was already pregnant with number two. I’m not so good with the principles of baby production. Well, I understand the basic concepts, but haven’t had that many opportunities to put them into practice.

The brief quiet was interrupted by a yodeling squeal that I recognized. I stared into the crowd until I caught Maya looking at me funny. I stuck on a smile as close to my normal, jolly-Santa shtick as I could get, and she settled back down behind her camera. The reason for my roommate Shauna’s squeal had me completely rattled. In the two or three beats I’d looked out from behind my wire-rimmed glasses as Mack-the-girl, I’d seen Shauna giving someone a big hug. A really handsome someone. Joe McBride. Joseph Timothy McBride. The actor. The real-life, got a soap opera gig and several commercials and you saw him in Scream 2 actor. The only guy I ever really loved.

 

Ooh, now she’s got a problem! Will Mack turn all Creepy-Kringle? Will Joe recognize her? What’s a Santa to do?  😉

The Santa Drag is available from Still Moments Publishing, Smashwords, and Amazon.

Liv Rancourt writes paranormal and romance, often at the same time. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and one wayward puppy. She likes to create stories that have happy endings, and finds it is a good way to balance her other job in the neonatal intensive care unit. Liv can be found on-line at her website & blog (www.livrancourt.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt), or on Twitter (www.twitter.com/LivRancourt). 

Sara

Sara

I write about daily life, arts & culture, food, books, nature, animals, parenting, relationships, self-discovery, & more.

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21 thoughts on “Parenting Teenagers Rule #1: Let Your Fingers Do The Talking

  1. A most perfect post, ladies! And congratulations, Sara. I love that when the time came to lend out the keys to your kingdom you made such a wise choice.

    So let me tell you how much I’m loving this post. For all the complains I hear (and otherwise harbor) about kids and cellphone obsession, you’ve hit on the fact that rings truest and makes it all worthwhile. Of my four children (one teenager, three adults) only one will promptly pick-up a call from mom, but ALL will answer a text message. And yeah, getting these timely responses is something of a miracle on it’s own, but the humor is priceless. While my kids have always had their comical sides, the snippets passed via phone messaging have been a true eyeopener on the scale of hilarious. Dare I say that texting just might hold the secret to “cracking the code” of reaching our children of all ages?

    As with every excerpt I’ve come across from any of Liv’s stories, I’m captivated by her fun and snappy writing voice. This tidbit from The Santa Drag is no exception, and I’m clicking off to Amazon right now. Tis the season …

    1. Cracking the code and Letting them Be Who They Are. Sure, it isn’t the same as having a face to face conversation or even hearing the tone of somebody’s voice, BUT I certainly have found my kids taking risks in terms of voice and humor when they use text. In ways, it is safer than speaking the words out loud. Not to be the only form of communication, in my mind, but not one to be disparaged either.

      Glad you enjoyed and know you’ll love the Santa Drag.

  2. Your kids are hilarious, Liv. The teenager and I text all the time. I hate to say it, but she’s a lot friendlier in her texts than in person. Also, I don’t have to see the eye rolling or hear the snark first hand. I can stew about something she said (or did) for a few minutes and then formulate a response that is usually much better than if I had to say something right away. I am all for texting with teens. 🙂

  3. When my kids were high school I refused to pay for texting because it would cost a fortune (no unlimited plans then). However, I would call their cell phones to get them to dinner because they had closed doors, music, friends, etc. and yelling up the stairs never worked. However, now that unlimited texting exists and the kids are out of the house, it’s the thing that keeps us communicating. My husband never knows what’s going on with them because he doesn’t text. He says they never answer when he calls them. I remind him that young people NEVER use the phone to actually talk anymore.

    1. It is such a strange thing that they don’t use the phone to talk out loud. But they are communicating and that is more important than the method, IMHO. One of my children does like to make phone calls under certain circumstances; says it’s easier than trying to get her point (i.e. sarcasm) across without inflection. Oh my.

      1. I swear my son has friends who exist almost solely because they text each other. One kid he texted almost daily all through the summer and I never met him till like two weeks ago. It’s not what we grew up with, but it works. Thanks Julie!

  4. Well, would you look at us? You are all my friends, but you only exist on my monitor! What if you are all really just random bytes in some alternate reality?
    Liv – loved your post. I also text to my sons, big independent guys now. I love getting those little bits of random info.
    EVERYBODY – you will love the Santa Drag. clever and sweet. it will make you look closely the next time you pass “Santa” at the mall…

    1. Kind of an amazing thought, Suzanne. Glad to have found so many interesting random bytes. Anybody else feeling hungry?

      It’s a mall Santa like no other. 🙂

  5. You make a good point, Suzanne. If I can have e-friends, who’s to say my kids can’t have text-friends?
    And thanks for the positive feedback on Santa Drag. I’m starting to get a little verklempt over here.
    😉

  6. I chuckled all the way through this post, Liv. I have two 14 yr old granddaughters who got phones on their 13th birthday and when I told them to pretend they were talking on them so I could take a pic, they looked at me like I was from Mars. Ended up with a pic of them texting. I love texting, but sometimes we go back and forth so much I end up calling them and telling them they should put the phone next to their ear if they want to have a CONVERSATION. Lol

So what do you think?