Nagging evolves: Are you nagging by text now?

The Washington Post reports that there’s a new trend in how parents are communicating with their kids – it’s called nagging via text messaging!

Parents are texting their kids the things they usually would say to them as they walked out the door in the morning or called them to say by phone such as: Don’t forget your homework!, Where are you? Who are you with?

From the Washington Post story:

“Some digitally inspired nagging is an evolution of necessity, parents say, because many teens do not answer phone calls from Mom or Dad, especially in the company of friends. Text allows nagging remotely — and discreetly.”

“Take Marcia Malloy. The 58-year-old Leesburg mom of five frequently sends her high school-age daughter texts of just one word:

Update. …”

“At Gaithersburg High School, Principal Christine Handy-Collins says so many parents text students during school hours that she made a point of discouraging the practice at a recent freshman orientation.”

“When students are caught receiving text messages in violation of school policies, an increasing number, she says, have offered the same defense: ‘Look, I swear to God — it was my mom.’ “

Are you nagging by text? What do your topics to nag about usually include? Does your teen take it better by text than on the phone or in person? Do you find it is more discreet? Do they catch your tone via text? Do you text during school hours? Has it been an effective way to communicate?

53 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

September 8th, 2009
7:22 am

RECORD POST HERE…I do not text, so I can only nag in person …hahaha!

Any news on newmom?

Before a recent presentation in Wyoming, the person who introduced me ( as the speaker) asked those with cell phones NOT to text, as this is as rude as talking on the phone during the presentation. There were over 800 there and I know I would not be able to even tell if anyone was texting, as I was on the stage.

JJ

September 8th, 2009
7:46 am

I don’t text my daughter during school hours. DUH!!!

Now that she is in college, I wait for her to contact me. I don’t bug her, or call her 1,000 times a day. I know she is busy studying, or meeting new friends, and I don’t want to bother her. She usually texts me throughout the day, and always calls before she goes to bed at night.

But it takes away from what they are SUPPOSED to be doing in school, and that’s learning.

Andrea

September 8th, 2009
8:06 am

No, I don’t text my son to nag him. He, however, starts texting me as soon as he is out of school and doesn’t stop until I get home. I don’t say anything to him about it. He is rapidly approaching the age where hanging out with mom, or even talking to mom, will be so uncool, so for now, I just enjoy it!

new mom

September 8th, 2009
8:08 am

Hi guys, no baby yet :) Technically 10 days till the due date, but I doubt she’ll wait that long. I’m about to text her to see when she’s planning on arriving…
I will try (emphasis on ‘try’) to remember to get my hubby to update y’all when baby comes. Just please don’t hold me to it!

Patrick

September 8th, 2009
8:08 am

I agree with JJ, that if you text-nag your child in school, you’re taking away from precious study or learning time. Parents should know what their child’s school schedule is, in order to know when an appropriate time to text would be, like during lunch or recess/break. This is just another example of the heliparents breed that seems to have appeared overnight.

JJ, it’s also good that you wait for your daughter in college to call or text you, instead of you calling or texting her first. She’s an adult now (almost), and she doesn’t need her parents to hover over her night and day. I’m sure she tells you what happened in school, what she learned, if she met any new friends, or what she and her friends did that day. I’m sure if she doesn’t call or e-mail one night, you don’t panic, you just presume that she’s very busy or else out having a great time and she’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow or a later day. Or not. Or she may edit out some details.

There’s no need for any parent to call or text their child 20 times a day, “just to check up on them”. You have to loosen or even cut the apron strings at some point.

new mom

September 8th, 2009
8:21 am

Oh, and Patrick, JJ, etc., I agree with you…Really, the more you nag and pester them, the more they will resent you and start trying to hide stuff from you. Interrupting the school day is innappropriate, and nagging them once they are in college is just nuts. They don’t need to be attached to their mommies forever, they need to learn to think for themselves.
Now, we aren’t going to talk about nagging via text with our husbands, are we? ;)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 8th, 2009
8:22 am

hehhe — texting the baby — heheheh

Also, JJ...

September 8th, 2009
8:23 am

…you need to delicately discourage the daughter from calling you before she goes to bed at night – and you need to discourage her from texting you several times a day, or even daily. She needs to get on with her life without mama, even though I know it is tough on you and her. But think back to when you went back to CO to college (I think) from Atlanta – did you call (texting and cell phones were not available back then) your mama every day?

Becky

September 8th, 2009
8:59 am

@Also JJ, please..I have a coworker that her college daughter calls her about 7-8 times per day just while we are at work..This doesn’t include when she calls the daughter…The daughter calls her Mom to tell her what she ate for breakfast, what shes wearing to class, what the teacher said in class that morning..You name it they talk..Then they go down to see the daughter once a month..So JJ’s doing good..LOL..

I agree that most parents should need to be more like JJ and Patrick..Don’t stress out over one day of not talking to your grown child..

newmom, keeping you in our thoughts..I’m sure that you and the baby will be great..I have twin sisters that have a b’day on the 16th..Maybe your beautiful daughter will be born that day..

motherjanegoose

September 8th, 2009
9:04 am

@ Becky, since newmom’s first child was born on my birthday September 15th, she is welcome to have her second one on the 16th…haha! BUT she may not want 2 days in a row of birthdays. My kids are one week apart and it can get hectic around here with parties, cake and such!
Got to work today!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 8th, 2009
9:16 am

don’t jinx her like that — rose and walsh are like 18 days apart and back to back birthdays are very hard to do!!!

new mom

September 8th, 2009
9:26 am

Yeah, the ONLY day we don’t want is the 15th. Anything else is do-able, and since both are girls so close in age, we’re going to do combined birthday parties as long as we can get away with it! :) They will soon realize they can have individual small parties or pool their resources and have a big blowout to share. I know it won’t be something they want once they are older, but we’ll at least try.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 8th, 2009
9:30 am

I combined parties just one year and felt so guilty about it I never did it again. It was sad not having their own special day!

New Stepmom

September 8th, 2009
9:32 am

My brother and I have birthdays 10 days apart and it is hard to do, but my parents always made each of our birthdays special. My mom had my third b-day party when my brother was 7 days old. She deserves a medal for that. Good luck New Mom…

My stepdaughter does not have a cell phone yet, so we cannot text her. I agree that the more you nag and pester the more likely they are to rebel. We already see some of that at 10yo.

New Stepmom

September 8th, 2009
9:35 am

@JJ, I respectfully disagree with the poster that says your daughter should not call you every night before bed. I think that shows that you have raised your daughter well and she wants to share a bit of her day with you. I still talk to my mom once a day and it not me hanging on to the past, it is just that we are close and enjoy sharing a minute of our days with each other. I think it is great that you guys stay in contact.

new mom

September 8th, 2009
9:41 am

One other thing we plan to do is, if their birthdays are within days of each other, take them on a ‘birthday vacation’ which would encompass both of their days, and let them each plan their own special day while on vacation, most likely Disney world. That way they have their own ‘day’ but their party at home will be one giant celebration. But if/when we do a combined party, they will EACH have their own cake, get their own happy birthday song sung, etc. We just have family that travels from different directions, as much as a 2 hr drive for the party, that it would be really hard to have two separate parties for each of them so close on the calendar.

Oh–get this–some on my husband’s side actually said, out loud, that they had hoped our baby would come early so they could see the baby at our daughter’s party (which we had early this past Saturday) instead of having to drive back here in a couple of weeks when she’s due. Yeah, the 2 hr drive is much harder then having a baby 2.5-3 weeks early and still throwing a birthday party….like the party would have happened!

new mom

September 8th, 2009
9:42 am

Sorry I ran the discussion off the road…

TechMom

September 8th, 2009
9:51 am

My son, now a 9th grader, forgets his necessary books & notes on purpose (IMHO) just so he doesn’t have to do his homework or study. It drives me insane and every time I try to back off and let him be responsible for himself, we go a week with several zeros for homework and then I’m back to nagging and reminding him. I hate it that I have to be that parent but it’s either be the ‘helicopter’ parent or let him fail. Which sounds all fine and dandy until the teachers start calling and wonder what kind of parent I am that I would let my child fail. Seriously a catch 22 when you have a kid who just doesn’t care.

So anyway, every day at 3pm (after the school day is over but before he’s left the building), I send him a text message and ask him if he’s got all of his book and notebooks necessary for homework that night. Do I like having to do that? Heck no but it sure beats having to talk to teachers and the principal on a regular basis because my kid isn’t fulfilling ‘his’ responsibilities. If I do forget to text, I’ll usually ask if he has everything when he gets in the car. This is great if I pick him up right after school but if he has practice, by the time I pick him up, the school doors are locked and he can’t get to his ‘forgotten’ books. I’ve come to appreciate the textbooks that have online companion sites so he doesn’t even have to bring his books home. (I haven’t quite figured out why all textbooks aren’t online- seems like a way to save on the wear-and-tear of books not to mention the backs of these kids who don’t have to carry home multiple text books every night. Yes, I know not everyone has internet but the growing marjority of kids do).

Becky

September 8th, 2009
9:55 am

Thanks MJG..I agree that unless they are twins, them having the same birth date isn’t something that I would want..As it is, in my family (10 kids) and more nieces and nephews than you can keep track of, we only have two people that have the same birth date..

newmom, no big deal about going off topic..I know where you are coming from on that one..I have family that live in KY, and I went to visit my sister in May amd her daughter wouldn’t drive over to see me, she said that if I wanted to see her, I would drive to her house..NOT..

JJ

September 8th, 2009
10:07 am

Techmom – Put the responsibility on HIM to do the work. he is in 9th grade, which I am assuming is High School. Once you put the responsbility of succeeding or failing on him, you will see a change. He could be stalling because of your constant “nagging” at him. Just tell him, it’s up to YOU if YOU want to succeed or fail. Right now, you are on the path to failure………

And if my daughter wants to call me every night before she goes to bed, then so be it. I talk to my mom several times a week and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting to communicate with your family!!!!!! Especially when you are away from your family for the first time. My phone is always on and my daughter can call me anytime she wants!!!!

TechMom

September 8th, 2009
10:18 am

We’ve tried. I went 3 weeks last year without mentioning homework or school projects but by the end of the 2nd week, I had more emails and phone calls from teachers than I could handle. There is a bit of a disconnect in our society between teaching your kids responsiblity and you being held responsible for your child. I don’t care how much we want to sit around and say, “let your kid fail, they’ll learn a lesson”, it’s simply not acceptable in our society until they’ve graduated from HS to do this.

JJ

September 8th, 2009
10:31 am

Techmom, I also assume he is just about ready for a learner’s license? If so, I would tell him, definately NOT until I see some responsibility on YOUR part.

And NO drivers’ license until he starts to show responsbility for himself……

I also told my child, if she didn’t want to succeed in school, that she had better find a job real quick. I WILL NOT support anyone who isn’t in school. As long as my daughter is in school, I will financially support her. but the minute she drops out, she is on her own…..

Becky

September 8th, 2009
10:32 am

JJ, I’m with you about talking to family..I have a sister in KY and a sister in VA..I talk to both of them at least 6 days out of the week..When my Mother was alive, I spoke with her every day of the week and saw her at least 4 days per week..

pd

September 8th, 2009
11:05 am

My son is young, but I wouldn’t purchase him a phone with texting abilities. I don’t even think I would purchase him a phone at all, but if I did, it would be a very simple phone and he would have very limited minutes.

I spend a lot of time with teens and I find their texting and calling to be annoying at best, and sinister at worst.

Patrick

September 8th, 2009
11:27 am

I wasn’t saying that JJ’s daughter should stop calling her altogether. I was saying that it doesn’t have to be as frequent as daily, especially if she’s worn slap out from the day’s events (had an exam in Chem101 or some other tough class, has a sore throat from cheering like a maniac at a pep rally). And if she doesn’t call, that shouldn’t send you into “Panic Mom Alert Level 5 DEFCON 4 Code Red” mode. My parents weren’t ever like that when I was living on my own. They’d call me maybe once a month at most, and I’d call them once a month, at most. Otherwise I called them on special occasions (Mother’s/Father’s Day, their birthdays), they called me on my birthday, and I’d go over there for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Or we’d shoot e-mails at each other on those occasions.

This “nagging by texting” reminded me of a commercial I saw recently of a teenage girl walking around with her boyfriend following her, dressed as her cellphone. No matter where she was, he’d “text” her, letting her know he was thinking about her, asking her where she is, if she got his last 20 million texts, why hasn’t she responded, and the more he did it, the angrier he got. The commercial was something about how there was a difference between caring about someone, and controlling them. When parents do the same thing, they don’t allow their child any freedom, which can impact on how socially developed they will become in later years.

Stookie

September 8th, 2009
11:43 am

Patrick, that’s kind of sad that you don’t have the type of relationship with your parents that you don’t talk on a more frequent basis. I understand where you are coming from in regards to setting off alarms if you don’t talk on a certain day. But i cherish the fact that i can call my dad every day and BS about daily things so that the fact I live 1000 miles from him doesn’t define our involvement in each other’s lives. I also will never tell my kids to curb the amount of times or frequency they call me.

JJ

September 8th, 2009
12:20 pm

Patrick, no worries, that’s why I wait for her to call me. I know she’s busy and getting acclimated to her new surroundings and making new friends, and getting used to being on her own.

Times were different when I left home to go to college. We didn’t have emails, text or cell phones. Calls to home, were made on the weekends, collect. No way would my parents have allowed me to call collect more than once a week.

My sister in law calls or texts her oldest daughter at least 15 times a day. The poor child can’t breath unless her mom knows her every move…..

lakerat

September 8th, 2009
12:25 pm

I hate technology. I’m soo much better than all of you.

JJ

September 8th, 2009
12:43 pm

TROLL ALERT……

Becky

September 8th, 2009
12:52 pm

Patrick, I didn’t take your comment that way, so if I sounded that way, sorry..I agree that some parents freak out if they don’t hear from their child 15-20 times per day..As someone else said, I’m also sorry that you don’t have a closer relationship with your parents..I was very close to my Mom, not so much my Dad..In my opinion, he was only a sperm donor, even though they were married untilmy Mother passed away..

DB

September 8th, 2009
1:08 pm

Nagging? Somewhat guilty, but not awful. The only thing I nag about is writing thank-you notes, or sending birthday emails or cards to their grandparents. When they were in high school, I might have sent them a textl if plans at the end of the day changed, but nothing that ever required a response –and they knew I’d blast them if they DID text me during the day, because that meant that they were looking at their cell phone!!. I told them early on — “If your cell phone gets confiscated at school — I’m NOT getting it back. You’re going to have to do without.” My kids always turned off their phone before they left the house, because they knew that when they got to school and got involved talking with friends, they’d forget. (I have no illusions that my daughter, the text addict, didn’t sometimes have text conversations with her BF at a different school during lunch!)

I don’t text much with my son — he’s a junior in college, and he’s all over the place. I never call him, unless it’s absolutely necessary (i.e., his grandfather died), or to confirm travel arrangements. We communicate mostly by email, or occasionally IM if we are on the computer at the same time in the evening. I sent him a picture by cell phone of a funny sign yesterday, and it was 12 hours later when he was finally ready to respond! He and I tend to send each other links to news items we find amusing/provocative/outrageous. We talked and chatted more his freshman year — but he doesn’t need the support any longer, which is a good thing.

My college freshman daughter texts me quips all day long, and often calls me at night. I don’t initiate texts or calls, because there’s no way I could be catching her at a convenient time — she has a very full schedule, and is having a wonderful time. Most of her messages are what a great time she is having — or listing items at home that she’s forgotten and would like included in the next care package :-) I would imagine that, like her brother, the calls and texts will gradually decrease as she becomes more and more confident in her new life. I send her email links to fun stuff, too, just so that she knows we’re thinking of her.

DB

September 8th, 2009
1:11 pm

@newmom — we once knew a couple who went skiing the same weekend every January — and all three of their children were born during the same week in September, two of them on the same day. You can imagine the kidding they would get every time they’d plan a ski trip, after that!

Good luck with the new little one — and if they text back, we ALL want to know what they said!!!

pd

September 8th, 2009
3:55 pm

I was always turned off by women who were really close to their mothers. I can’t explain why exactly. I guess that I was not interested in dating their mother and didn’t want someone that involved in my life.

I did call my father today after reading this blog and realizing we hadn’t spoken in months. I talk to my mother about once a week. Well, actually my wife talks to my mother about once a week and I do about once a month.

motherjanegoose

September 8th, 2009
4:00 pm

@ new mom…I feel your pain. When my daughter was due, my mom told me exactly when and when she would not be available to be here in Gwinnett. She lived in Florida and proceeded to list all the social venues/appts. she had on her calendar. She was not with me when my son was born, so I told her we would call her when the time got closer and if she could come fine.

We are not particularly close to our family and it is not by our choice. My sister, daughter, son and husband planned a 50th surprise party for me this past weekend. We had no other family members present but lots of friends. I had so much fun. I have learned that you make time for what is important to you and our ( out of state) family members do not feel we are important enough to them to make a trip here…oh well. We are generally the ones who travel to see them, that is just the way it is.
One of my friends drove from Indiana…that was a BIG surprise!

nurse&mother

September 8th, 2009
4:08 pm

We don’t text in our family….Yet… I’m sure that time will come soon enough. The 12 yo is nagging us to get a plan. I still don’t see why a teen needs to text. I can kinda see why she would want it when she goes out with friends (in about 4-5 years) and she doesn’t want to be embarrassed if she needs to talk to dear old mom (or vice versa). but until then, she can pick up the cell phone and talk.

From what I hear about the ungodly amount of texts that a typical teen sends/receives (wow!)!

I suppose I have a fundamental problem with getting charged to receive a text. It’s like sending a package in the mail and expecting the recepient to pay for the shipping? That is screwed up. JMHO.

nurse&mother

September 8th, 2009
4:09 pm

Hey Motherjanegoose-my birthday is one day ahead of yours (14th).

I call BS!!

September 8th, 2009
4:17 pm

JJ and lakerat are the same person posting to stir traffic on the blog….payed for by the blog writer.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 8th, 2009
4:38 pm

definitely not paid for by me — but i’ll look into it! we had had a problem with lakerat before — sometimes he plays nice and other times not so much.

Becky

September 8th, 2009
4:40 pm

nurese&mother, in case I don’t remember next week, hope your birthday is a great one..I have a great niece that her birthday is the 14th..motherjanegoose, glad to hear that you h ad a great party..I know a lot of friends that I would rather be around than some of my family..

nurse&mother

September 8th, 2009
4:57 pm

Thanks so much, Becky! Happy early Birthday to MJG and all those other mid September birthday babies!

JenD

September 8th, 2009
4:58 pm

Oh, I hate texting. haha My husband will text with our daughter to check in with her, but I call her (she’s 14, in high school) because I can hear what’s going on around her, by her voice I can tell how she is doing, and you can get a much better feel for what’s going on when you talk to the person as opposed to texting. We’re very blessed in the sense that she’s highly responsible about making sure we know where she is, if she and her friends are going somewhere else (store to park, etc.) or on her way home.
I really hope I don’t end up being one of those moms who calls her every day after she goes to college, lol… but I know, it’ll be hard not to.

motherjanegoose

September 8th, 2009
5:04 pm

Thanks for the birthday wishes! FYI…I thought lakerat was a mother but I may really be losing my mind now. In any event, the mean lakerat is not the original lakerat.

JJ is posting troll alert as she smells a troll with the lakerat poster today.

@ n and m….my daughter know 12 people that have birthdays within 10 days this week and next.

HB

September 8th, 2009
6:07 pm

“my daughter know 12 people that have birthdays within 10 days this week and next”

I know at least that many…people have to do something to keep warm in January… ;)

fk

September 8th, 2009
6:18 pm

I text my son only when I need to reach him. If I take the time to text, he knows he needs to respond. My reply to his response is always, “Call.” It takes too long for me to text and I’d rather hear his voice. Otherwise, we agreed to speak at least once a week since he’s left for college. I do check to see if he’s updated is fb status, then I at least know he’s still alive.

DB

September 8th, 2009
7:17 pm

N&M, you’re gonna pass out when I tell you how many text messages my daughter had last month: 4,536. My son had 2,979. I had 1,775 and my husband had a total of 198. The kids use text messaging INSTEAD of talking — that way, they can communicate with more than one person at a time, or communicate on THEIR time. As my daughter observed, “I can answer a text message when I want to — when I’m on the phone with someone, I have to give them my entire attention.” I had to chuckle a little at your comment, “Until then, she can pick up the cell phone and talk . . .” Do you realize that 10 years ago, you would have probably declared that she didn’t need a cell phone, such a thing was ridiculous, and that if she wanted to call, she could use the phone at her friend’s house, or use a pay phone? Now, it’s practically accepted, for all sorts of reasons (security, convenience, etc.). Plus, there aren’t that many pay phones, anymore!

On our cell phone plan, we have unlimited texting for $30 a month. We didn’t always have it. When we first got text messaging, my daughter ran over $80.00 the first month, (at 10 cents a message). She paid. The second month, she ran over $138.00. She paid that, too, and then came to us and said, “This is crazy. I will pay you $20 a month towards an unlimited text plan. I will end up saving money!” We agreed, and she did that for a year. The rest of us caught up with her on texting (although she is still the Texting Queen), and a year later, we eventually gave her a bye on the $20.

Anyway — I think it’s fair to say that communication, as we know it, is evolving. Social media marketing is completely transforming how companies do business, as they move from informing, persuading and reminding to demonstrating, involving and empowering consumers as they take an active part in marketing decision making. You can howl at the moon all you want — but in a couple of years, you will be the equivalent of a crank-up phone on a party line. :-) Heck, my grandmother didn’t even HAVE a telephone until the late 1960’s!

motherjanegoose

September 8th, 2009
7:51 pm

@ HB I have never been known for my math skills BUT if you are keeping warm in January by having sex, methinks September is 8 months later and the last I remember 9 months is a typical gestation period for humans ….at least that was the case when I was pregnant. If I am way off the mark here…someone please clue me in. Maybe things have changed!

DB

September 8th, 2009
8:10 pm

MJG – some pregnancies just don’t go the full 40 weeks, y’know? My friend always went skiing that last week in December/first week in January. Two kids have their birthdays on September 23rd, the other has their birthday on September 25th. My SIL was always a week or 10 days early — much to my disgust, I was always a week or two late. They come when they come . . . !

I'm a Troll Get Off My Bridge

September 8th, 2009
9:15 pm

Way to be a snotty bitch motherjanegoose.

deidre_NC

September 8th, 2009
9:45 pm

my kids and i text many times a day on some days and only once on somedays..just depends…none of us consider it nagging..at least they never say :) i do want to know they are ok…thats it..they can tell me where they are if they want to..i will ask sometimes and they always tell me..we are very close and its not checking up./.its just wanting to know…heck they ask me where i am and if im not where im supposed to be they wanna know why..they worry about me more than i do them i think…i more worry about car wrecks..im not sure what they worry about…its just how my family is tho..we all know what everyone is doing..no texting duri8ng school…that doesnthappen…altho my kids text me at work and i cant answer til i go on break..this is the first job ive ever had where i had rules like that and i guess they will never get used to that…

good luck NEW MOM!!!!

HB

September 8th, 2009
11:44 pm

True, but as DB said, some come early, and hey, December gets cold too…