Dad succumbs in texting standoff

By Jim DeBrosse

Here's the latest missive from the front lines of the DeBrosse family Texting Wars: I caved.

After three months of swearing I would never pay another texting fee for my teenagers' cell phones, I signed up this week for the unlimited texting and photo transmission Family Plan at $30 a month ($5 more than buying separate limited plans for three different phones, so why not?).

For those readers disheartened that Mr. Mom gave up the good fight, I have no defense except to say that reaching my kids via cell phone was more important to me than the principle being fought for.

From the day I canceled their texting privileges, my 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son embarked on a campaign of passive resistance that would have made Gandhi proud.

My son let his voice mailbox fill up so I couldn't leave messages. "I never answer voice mails anyway," he said. "I hate them."

My daughter began encountering "technical difficulties" with her cell phone -- like not recharging it.

Both began very conveniently to forget taking their cell phones with them.

The issue came to a boiling head several weeks ago after I dropped off my son for swim practice at the Kettering Recreation Center. I was running late for the return pick-up because of a traffic bottleneck on Dorothy Lane, with no way to reach my son. When I arrived at the rec center 15 minutes late, my son and everyone else on the team was gone.

Did he get a ride? Did he walk the four miles home? Was he kidnapped by someone crazy enough to tangle with a member of the Oakwood JV wrestling team?

I had no way of knowing, so I began driving along the path I thought he might take home -- right back into the traffic snarl on Dorothy Lane.

As it turned out, my son did get a ride home from another parent, but I wouldn't learn that until I called home from my car 20 minutes later.

Yes, I know I could have begun a family policy of requiring my children to recharge their cell phones and carry them at all times. But under penalty of what? Taking away their cell phones?

As every single parent knows, you have to choose your battles with your kids wisely. You simply don't have the time or the energy to fight them on every front.

So the kids won this one. But there will be other, more important battles down the road, most of which I can't even begin to predict.

But now where do I look to trim a tight family budget?

Time Warner Cable just raised their rates again. Do the kids really need Comedy Central? Hmmmmm.

  • DATE: January 9, 2009

  • PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH)

Copyright, 2009, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

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