Tag Archives: texting

Parenting teenagers: any advice is welcome

First I have to brag on my kids a tiny bit. Despite being teenagers, they are good kids who make me proud. They both made straight As this last quarter, and they are involved in wholesome activities, like marching band, soccer, yearbook and dance. They’ve never done anything to break my trust, but some things make me wonder … so I ask a lot of questions. As a result, my son, 15, and my daughter, 13, recently told me I was too nosy. Is there such a thing as being too nosy when you’re a parent and your children are the object of your nosiness?

A few things that make me pause:

My son recently told me that a friend, a girl (but not girlfriend) has a nice sound system in her bedroom. Should I be suspicious?

My daughter informs me of her boyfriends though facebook. Should I be insisting that she tell me in person?

They are both voracious texters. How do other parents of teenagers feel about looking at their kids’ cell phone texts? I sneak a peek once in a while, but don’t do it openly. If I did, I imagine the nosy complaints would get much louder. AND, they’d be erasing the good stuff. So far, I haven’t found anything too shocking.

A few things that drive me nuts:

Housework. How much housework do other parents make their teenagers do on a daily basis? I find it interesting that they can remember anything related to their social life, but whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher is impossible to remember. I’m about to assign odd/even days for things, so that I can easily keep up. Anyone have any other good ideas on how to make teenagers remember household chores?

TV. Is anyone in favor of getting rid of the TV? Has anyone tried it? My husband is the biggest hindrance to this plan in our house, so it will never happen. But I remember when I was growing up, we didn’t have a TV for a while and it made me read. I might never be the reader I am, if it hadn’t been for that period of TV-lessness.

Clothes: Suddenly the consignment store clothes aren’t good enough.

Attitude. I officially know much less than they do. And I don’t dress well enough. And I’m weird about what foods they should be eating. And if I stray outside the rigid norm, I am an embarrassment.

A few things that hurt:

Volunteering at their schools is not encouraged anymore.

I’m a chauffeur now, rather than someone to do fun things with.

The dancing-around-the-house-for-fun is not something they do with me anymore.

The goodnight hugs aren’t as intense as they used to be.

But I understand … they’re growing up!

I SO appreciate the time I have left, especially when I think that:

Some 15-year-old boys signed up to fight in the Civil War.

Some 13-year-old girls were considered marriageable in eras past (perhaps in some cultures today, too).

As much as they annoy at times, I already know I’ll hate the empty nest.

But, from what I hear, there’s a good chance they’ll move back home eventually. Then I’ll be asking for advice on how to deal with adult children. LOL.

Lucy Balch

Love Trumps Logic

Available at Amazon and through Second Wind Publishing


Filed under writing

Texting your love life away

You don’t think so? Come with me to the ballpark.

The pitcher finishes warming up and the crowd settles down to watch the game. I’ve got a good sight line to home plate because the couple  seated just in front of me aren’t too tall. I feel happy because I won’t have to crane my neck or contort my body for nine innings, but my mood sinks when I get a whiff of the perfume the woman’s wearing.  I hope I brought enough kleenex. The woman is sporting a silky, low cut, sleeveless top which is inappropriate for the 58 degree weather. She’s young and has smooth skin to flaunt; at her age she doesn’t have those flappy tricep wings to worry over. She cradles a cell phone in one hand and uses the other to stroke back her shoulder length hair, flashing rings on four fingers–the kind of ring you see in the bargain section of a jewelry store. I have no idea where she bought her perfume, but someone should shut that place down.

One thing is a constant these days at baseball games. A good percentage of fans only watch the game part-time because they’re enraptured with their  BlackBerry/camera/DVD/gameboy/GPS/iPod devices. Why go to a game if you’re not going to watch it? Of course, these types don’t jump up and spill beer on me after an exciting play, so that’s a plus.

The couple in front of me sure won’t be jumping up or cheering at anything. The man has done nothing but stare with unbridled lust at his female companion, but alas, she’s wholly fixated on her phone, and doesn’t seem to notice. Now he makes his first move, edging one shoulder as close to her as he can. Doesn’t the perfume choke him? Guess not. A slight breeze informs me that he smells like ten packs of cigarettes so maybe he’s immune.

Inning over. Now he’s got his arm resting on the back of her seat, fingers creeping toward her bare neck. I can’t ignore this because his elbow is now jutting back into my legroom. The poor guy’s efforts are futile. If his date feels his exploring fingers, she gives no sign. She divides her attention between five-second glances at home plate and a longer interval where she checks the screen of her phone. Waiting for a return message, I bet! From another admirer?

Several innings pass. The guy’s bought his date a slice of pizza, three beers, ice cream, and a bobblehead of the team’s most famous player. In spite of the fact I’ve been watching the game, I know all this because the man has to stand up to take out his wallet to pay the roving vendors, which blocks my view of the playing field. On his latest trip to the bathroom, he came back with a sweatshirt for the woman because she was shivering. Now he’s back on his real quest with one arm wrapped around the woman and his nose almost in her ear. I’m glad I haven’t eaten or I might lose it. As it is, I’m trying to keep my husband from going into hysterics over this latest development.

8th inning now, the score is tied and two players are in scoring position! The woman stands up. Oh no, not now, I can’t see! She flips her phone closed and looks at the aisle. Even in profile I can tell she’s got a smug look on her face. Her new sweatshirt slides off her shoulders and falls to the seat, unheeded. Her date looks up in surprise as she picks up her purse and motions to the people sitting next to them that she wants to leave. The guy can do nothing but follow her. As he passes her seat, he grabs up the sweatshirt, deliberately drops it on to the concrete and treads right over it. The whole aisle stands up to let them pass. Somehow, I think that this date is their last.

Mickey Hoffman is the author of School of Lies, a mystery novel published by Second Wind Publishing.

These two aren’t in my novel but stay tuned and soon you’ll find out more about the chosen…


Filed under writing


Claire Collins is the author of  ‘Fate and Destiny’ and ‘Images of Betrayal’

Do people really talk to each other anymore? If I want my fourteen year old son’s attention, I text him. His fingers fly over the tiny keys faster than my own whiz across a keyboard. He doesn’t talk to his friends on the phone, instead choosing to communicate in silent spurts of abbreviations and acronyms.


With all of these substandard forms of writing floating around, the rules of grammar, punctuation, and even the meanings of words have blurred.  In emails, forums, groups, and text messages, miscommunication is common. The reader cannot see or hear the writer. They cannot hear tone or inflection. They cannot see facial expressions or body language. All the reader can see are the letters arranged to create a semblance of understandable communication through words, acronyms, or abbreviations. If the reader isn’t familiar with the writer’s code, then the letters are merely that. Letters arranged without any meaning.


For authors, our goal is to paint the entire picture for the reader. We lay out the scene so the reader can see the characters and the locations and hear what is happening at the time. Our letters must be arranged carefully into comprehensive words, structured sentences, and complete thoughts.


Can you imagine the books of the future? I will translate for you in parenthesis.


“AY?” BG (“Hi, how are you?” Sally asked with a big grin.)


“0 U?” J  (“Nothing, what’s up with you?” Mary replied, smiling)


“0 WAYD?”(“Nothing,” Sally replied, “What are you doing?)


“Broke up w/bf” L (“I broke up with my boyfriend.” Mary’s voice was sad.)


“Sry” (“I’m sorry”)


“NBD” (Mary shrugged. “No big deal.”)


“RU OK?” (“Are you okay?”)


J  but WTF?” (“I’m fine,” Mary said. “I just didn’t understand what went wrong. It started out so well and then he just changed. We had so much in common and we talked all the time, but lately, he’s been so distant. I think there may be someone else. I just don’t know. You know how guys can be. They are all lovey dovey when you’re alone, but the minute his friends show up, he becomes a stranger, and then the other day, we were in a chat room and he was talking to some blonde avatar. And I was right there.”)


“SOB STBY” (“What a jerk,” Sally said, “I wish I could say something to help.”)


“NP BRB” J (“It’s okay, really,” she said cheerfully, trying to keep her spirits up despite the devastating breakup. “Hang on a second okay, Sally?” Mary had another text coming in on her phone.)


“HB GGP” (“Sure,” Sally said, “Go ahead and answer it. I have to step away for a moment anyway.”)


“OMG GTG TTYL” (“Sally, he’s texting me right now telling me he’s sorry and he still loves me.” Mary couldn’t contain her excitement. “He doesn’t want to break up. There was no other girl. He knows he behaved badly. He promises not to do it again. I’m so happy!” Mary practically raced around the room with joy, her voice rising as she talked to her friend. “He’s going to give me his personal email address and he’s going to send me a real picture! Anyway, I have to go for now because he’s still texting me and his picture is coming through. I’ll talk to you later and let you know what he looks like!”)



Just imagine, in the future, a book like War and Peace would end up being a mere thirty pages.








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