As social interaction changes from verbal conversations to texted acronyms or 140-character bites, parents and adolescents find themselves in a generational gap, widening a chasm of non-communication within families, says Dr. Jimmy Myers, owner and director of the Timothy Center in Austin, Texas, and author of “Toe to Toe with Your Teens.”
The Nielsen Company reports teens send an average of 80 texts per day, or 2,272 a month.
Inside Facebook reported 5.4 million users between the ages of 13 and 17 were using Facebook in February. According to Myers, parenting and adolescent issues associated with the emergence of technology is the most recent trend of concerns facing the family dynamic.
“Unrestrained access and usage of social networking technology not only opens our kids up to cyber-bullying, and unhealthy levels of social involvement, it also gives sexual predators and pornographers a fertile field of young minds to exploit,” said Myers. “Setting down a set of rules, which both the parent and teen can agree to and live by, is essential to guiding families through these potential mine fields.”
Myers has spent more than 25 years counseling teens and parents, including the last seven years through The Timothy Center, a unique counseling practice focused on helping families find solutions to life’s challenges.
“Parents may not understand or be welcomed into kid’s ‘world beneath,’ but it is incumbent upon them to make every effort to learn as much as they can about it, because this is where teens spend so much of their time,” Myers writes. “Parents of teenagers should proactively keep abreast of teen culture because this knowledge offers a window into their child’s heart, mind and driving interests.”
Myers offers practical advice to parents on a variety of teen issues in “Toe to Toe With Your Teen: A guide to successfully parenting a defiant teen without giving up or giving in,” available now in bookstores nationwide.