I remember being a teenager and wondering why my parents simply couldn’t understand why I would spend hours on the phone with a friend who lived just a block away? They wondered why we didn’t just talk in person. I remember thinking they just didn’t get it.
When I became a parent the idea that kind of generation gap between myself and my kids could be so wide seemed incomprehensible. I live in a modern world… so would my kids. What’s not to understand?
Boy, was I wrong!
The Husband and I now stare at each other dumbly when The Girl communicates with her friends. She never picks up the phone… something that was, and in many cases is, foreign to us.
All communication for her is done via text message… even serious relationship discussions. When trying to reach her boyfriend the other day on short notice she looked at The Husband and I like we were crazy because we told her to just call him. It turns out she doesn’t even have his phone number!
Today that relationship ended… over MSN… with them never having actually met (in person) outside of school activities. I just had to shake my head (and promise The Girl that I was definitely blogging about this one!).
I know I’m not the most technologically up-to-date person but I like to think I hold my own. I have a blog, a facebook account, I’m even on twitter (though I still don’t really understand that one). I don’t use much text messaging – mostly because the spelling and grammar in texts drives me insane – but I do have a cell phone (admittedly it usually gets forgotten at the bottom of my purse until the dying battery beeps, driving The Husband insane!).
I follow the studies that show teenagers today prefer texting to talking. We limit ‘screen’ time and supervise time spent online but finally did, after a lot of foot dragging, allow her to get a cell phone. I’ve even been doing some research into her generation of millennials and how they are integrating into the workplace (it turns out these over-technologied products of helicopter parent are more collaborative and less competitive than older generations).
It still leaves me shaking my head as I confront it in my parenting world.
The Girl is only 19 years younger than me… I can’t even imagine the impact of a more than 30 year generation gap when the Dudes hit their teens. I already feel like my father; staring dumbly after my teenager because I have said something apparently so uncool, or outdated, that she had to leave the room.
It makes me feel old… and uncool. Not a great way to approach my 35th birthday… on the upside, I guess I’ll look back on these as my salad days when whatever The Dudes have to throw at me approaches in 10 years.