Texting and Rock Faces

I currently have Gabby’s phone, because middle school growing pains reasons, and we are in the midst of negotiating the return of the phone– together with strict texting limits for the summer. Gabby is part of several group texts, which have basically been running since the start of the school year, in continuously updated streams of content. Gabby is only allowed to text during certain times of the day anyway– but even first thing in the morning, she is known to spend as much as 20 minutes, scrolling through the previous night’s conversation.

Because that’s how much new content has been added.

By these kids.


You already know how I feel about this: kids, by making themselves available to one another 24/7, are putting pressure on themselves to provide unlimited access– to always be reachable, to always respond. I find it vitally important that my kids learn to set appropriate texting boundaries, which is why they have limits on texting. Here’s what I have figured out, though: 1. the knowledge that so much is going on without her all night makes it really hard for Gabby to resist checking her phone during off-limits times. And 2. it doesn’t help to limit her access to group text, when the end result is Gabby feeling pressure to read and respond to everything that happened in her absence as soon as she gets the phone back.

Caveat: I don’t want to turn this into a struggle of Mom versus Gabby’s friends. And I wasn’t sure how to avoid that. So I did what I typically do in these situations: I just went to Gabby and said, “These are my concerns, and I need you to help me figure it out.” Turns out that Gabby understands and even agrees with me. But she’s twelve, so she needs my help to establish a healthier approach– even though she doesn’t really want her phone usage to be limited and it upsets her (see above re: she’s twelve). She’s also a really fabulous human being, though– so we talked it all out and made a new plan. Which she agreed to glumly. When we were finished talking, I said, “I’m proud of you.”

Gabby looked at me with no expression and shrugged. I said, “What is this face?” And she replied, “I’m practicing my Rock Face.” I said, “……You mean, your stone face? Your STONE FACE?!” And we both laughed for twenty minutes.

I mean. This parenting gig is definitely a many-layered process. And let’s face it– we all spend a fair amount of time practicing our Rock Face.

    5 comments to Texting and Rock Faces

    • Tammy R

      Dare I ask if the other parents realize that their kids are texting all night? So many parents let their kids use their cell phones as alarms and I don’t think they realize that they are up half the night texting/instagramming/snapchatting, etc. I overheard my son and his friends talking about this a couple weeks ago. My son has to charge his phone in the kitchen nightly (a rule I set up when he first got his phone, because I heard this could be a problem). When I mentioned to another mom that she might want to check on her son’s phone use, she seemed surprised by the thought that he would be using it when he should be sleeping.

    • MaryFran

      Our phones also are downstairs at night (including mine! I don’t want to be woken up for anything.) This week, by Freshman son woke to 400! texts on a group chat. All of which came in after 9:30pm. The running joke in our house is that we are the only family that actually sleeps on school nights.

    • Jules

      Tammy, great question. I don’t know all of these parents but I would assume that it would come as a surprise to them- I mean, what parent would be like, “Yeah, they’re texting all night, it’s fine?” The mom you spoke with– I wonder if she reads her son’s text conversations? If she did, she would be aware, right? …..Although depending on how old he is, it may not be appropriate to invade his privacy like that. (Stupid complex parenting!)

    • Jules

      Yours and mine, MF 😉

    • Tammy

      The boys just turned 13, so I think the other mom thought they were still too young to be pulling stuff like this. The messages were evidently going through his Instagram account, not his texting. I know they did create an Instagram account so they could see what was going on, but I don’t know if they how much monitoring they are doing. I am guessing more now that I turned him in.

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