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Be a Tech Savvy Daddy – Speak Your Child’s Language by Texting!
Be a Tech Savvy Daddy – Speak Your Child’s Language by Texting!

For the month of March, NFI’s Dad Email is featuring tips and advice on how dads can use technology to help them build their relationships with their kids.

National Fatherhood Inititative’s mission is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.  They strive to ensure a brighter future for America’s youth.  By equipping and educating fathers, they’re working on an issue that is at the core of our nation’s well-being.

Check out the resources from NFI’s “Tech Savvy Daddy” campaign here, which will be updated with more information/tips every week this month.

Last week, their focus was on “Mobile Connections,” or using text messaging to connect with teens. A recent Pew Research Study found that 75% of teens have a cell phone. Most of them have text messaging capability, and boy do they use it! 54% of teens texted their friends daily in 2010 (skyrocketing from only 38% who texted daily in 2008!). One out of three send more than 100 text messages daily!

For those of you who are fathers of teenagers, you probably feel like their thumbs are glued to their phone. But, as NFI’s Dad Email last week pointed out, if texting is teenagers’ primary means of communicating, why not speak their language? We put together a list of text messages that dads can send their teens to encourage them and build their relationship.

Try sending one or two of the following text messages to your teen this week:

  • Hey, just wanted to let you know I love you
  • What are you up to this weekend?  I’d love to hang out with you – maybe we can shoot some hoops at the school on Saturday.
  • Let’s grab some ice cream after dinner tonight – you game for that?
  • I’m so proud that you’re my son/daughter.
  • Good luck on your test today.  You’re doing a great job in school this year – I’m really proud of you.
  • How’s your day going?  I love you!
  • Hang in there, I know it’s been a busy week.  You’re doing great!
  • You looked really nice this morning.  I’m a really lucky dad to have a beautiful daughter like you.
  • Great job at your soccer game yesterday.  I had fun watching you on the field!

The point we got out of this is, dads: it’s simple. Your kids don’t need something incredibly profound from you. They just want to know that you’re thinking about them, that you love them, and that you want to spend time with them. (As busy as your teenagers are, they actually do want to spend time with you, too.)

One text I got back from a teen whose dad is not very involved hit on a much deeper issue. What would be meaningful for this teenager would be “for him to realize what he has put me through and to want to change that.” Clearly, there are years of hurt that need to be undone in this relationship and a couple text messages aren’t going to do much, but I think a little effort on the part of this dad to move closer to his child would do a lot.

Jeffrey Feulner and the Men’s Divorce Law Firm wholeheartedly believe in devoting your time to your children and making a daily effort to show them how much you love, support and appreciate them.  As NFI would say, “A little investment in your teen’s life will go a long way. Even if it’s as simple as a text message to say ‘I love you.’”