Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

A parenting lesson for the 21st century

Posted by sanityinjection on January 12, 2009

Susannah Cahalan of the New York Post brings us a postmodern parenting fairy tale. It seems that California father Greg Hardesty was more than a little shocked when he got the monthly statement for his teenage daughter Reina’s cell phone and discovered that she had registered 14,528 text messages in one month. The statement was 440 pages long.

Fortunately for Hardesty’s cardiac health, he has an unlimited texting plan, so the massive amount of text traffic did not blow out his bank account. Nevertheless, like any father, he wanted to know what all this texting was about. So he asked his daughter in a way that was sure to get a response – He texted her.

It turns out that Reina has a core group of four friends and they all text each other constantly. The girls know they have unlimited plans so they are not being careless with their parents’ money.

So nobody got hurt – and yet, Hardesty and his wife have imposed soem restrictions on Reina’s cell phone usage as a result. Why? If no damage was done (financial or otherwsie), why inhibit the girl’s texting? It’s natural for young girls to want to chit-chat with each other at lengths that seem unbelievable to adults. Even Dad sends a fair amount of text messages on his own phone.

The answer is that Hardesty correctly recognized that his daughter’s behavior has reached obsessive levels. In order to reach the total listed above, Reina had to send on average one message every two minutes every hour that she was awake – even during classes and mealtimes. She texted about 14 times as much as the average for a teen her age. During her birthday party, Reina spent much of the time texting her best friend – who was sitting right next to her.

In other words, Reina’s texting was getting to the point where it was preventing her from fully experiencing the rest of her world. By setting reasonable limits on her usage of the phone, Reina’s parents aren’t punishing her. They’re parenting her.


One Response to “A parenting lesson for the 21st century”

  1. Joanne said

    Good article. Many a times, too much of something is not good for anyone. There should be a limit to everything.

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