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February 23, 2020

The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Texting your Teen.

When trying to stalk your teenage son, to find out his whereabouts, you’ve got to be clever.

You’ve got to think like a teenage boy, so he is not embarrassed by you.

Here are some tactics I have found to work like a charm when my son is out and about with friends, and I am at home pacing the floors, wondering if they have made any stupid decisions.

It is important to know when relaying information to the teenager, one must use Snapchat. Never text him. He won’t answer texts. We have yet to understand why, but studies are being done.

Undercover stalking ideas to ensure your teenager responds via Snapchat:

  1. Hey, honey—if you guys are heading back here to eat, I’ve got brats on the grill, jsyk. (That’s short for just so you know, but remember—we are playing it cool.)
  2. Hey, bud—do you have enough money? (Highly recommended, but you must have a back-up plan if he says “no.”)
  3. I am about to throw some laundry in…do you need your favorite jeans washed for tomorrow?
  4. Hey, babe—if you are at the mall, looks like Hollister is having a great sale! Just thought you might like to know.
  5. Sweetie, did you say you need a hair appointment this week? I’ll need to call them if you do.
  6. Are you going to need the car tomorrow?
  7. Mind if I organize your room? (Not that you want to—because eww—but he will want to stop you asap and therefore respond.)

You get the idea. To get your teenager to respond to you when out with friends, you’ve got to make it about their needs—specifically money, food, transportation, and looking cool. If you happen to have a teenage son who is not self-absorbed, then good for you. But you might want to double check that he’s truly of age.

You will often be tempted to just call that sweet child and say, Where the hell are you? But I promise you will catch more flies with honey, rather than vinegar. (I don’t recommend that phrase for your teenager. It really confuses them, and it’s just not cool.)

Snapchat will intimidate you at first. I actually have no idea what I’m doing. I can send a message and that’s it. When my son asked, “Hey mom did you see my streak?” I replied, “You are grounded! And no thanks…I don’t want to see that!”

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade that cologne-covered, Hollister-clothed young man for anything (or his impressive shoe collection). I have three teenagers right now, and I have been through two before. They are all different.

Personally, in my experience, the girls have been better communicators, so currently the 16-year-old male gives me a lot of writing material. For example, the other day he said his back hurt because he fell off the hood of his friend’s car while it was moving. I’m sorry—what?? Yes—if you have a teenage boy in your future, begin meditation now so you are prepared to lower your blood pressure when necessary.

I, of course, joke. Teenagers make me laugh more than anything. I am thankful to have pretty darn nice ones.

For every loud drumming session, there is a hug and an “I love you.” Those start to mean an awful lot as kids get older, and you wonder if they still want to say it.

For every, “Hey mom can I have some money?” there is a text message (well, a snap, actually), saying, “You are the best.” And I think he really means it.

For every crazy antic he does to make friends laugh—and scare me to death—there are the constant daily moments he makes me laugh, because he knows he can, and it makes him smile.

And for every night I pace the floor, praying his friends drive him around safely, there is a relief in my gut that he will never understand when he walks in the door—and there is a sparkle in his eye that reminds me of when he was a little boy, and how my time with him is oh so quickly fleeting.

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Melissa Nicholson  |  Contribution: 3,625

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