We Just Don’t Do That!


A teen on her phone.How have our kids become so disconnected from each other and themselves?

First, we need to define kids. In this case, I’m referring to preteens, teenagers, and young adults. And it’s no surprise that this generation includes all those that transitioned to social media and knew some life before it but are now so immersed and attached to their phones and inseparable from their AirPods. 

Everyone and everything is at their fingertips at any moment, yet so many of our kids are plagued by anxiety and depression and struggle with school and their relationships.

So what is the real reason behind all this? I’ve developed my own theory after hearing my teenager’s response to my question the other day.  

Granted, summer is a welcome interruption from the routine, but for a first-year college student who made it through those first two semesters away or commuting and made some new friends, that first summer break might also include a little loneliness. 

Most kids are busy with their summer jobs, new college friends work in different directions, and ties with old high school friends are not the same. My daughter, the youngest of much older siblings, seeks my company, especially at night. And being I’m a night owl, it works out well. 

One evening, she stayed in her room longer than usual, long after the dinner rush and night tranquility had set in. I knocked on her door, and she seemed visibly upset. We chatted about feelings she was working through, which immediately cheered her up.

We were always close. No subjects were ever off the table. Naturally, I told her I’d be there for her, even just for moral support, ALWAYS! I asked about her friends, implying they would probably understand her better than I could, only if she chose to communicate with them. So I asked if she had sent a text lately with so and so, snapped, and messaged? Or however these kids keep in touch these days, most likely not a straight-up phone call! And she responded, “We just don’t do that, don’t check in with each other.” And there you have it.  

Our kids share a trending Tik Tok but not their true feelings, at least not regularly. As a result, our kids are too much in their own heads, unable to unload thoughts or discuss problems with their peers. And they so effortlessly return to their phones, anonymously and aimlessly scrolling. 

This can be a relaxing way to unwind for anyone at any age, myself included, but sometimes a touch of human contact is all you need, even a quick text. Just knowing someone is listening and cares makes all the difference.  

I’m happy to be there for my daughter and hope to maintain our special relationship for years to come. And in the meantime, I hope my daughter, and her friends, recognize the importance of communicating and being there for each other, on good days and especially for the difficult ones.

I raised my kids not only with my husband but with the support of my friends and cousins, all going through the same thing. This is so invaluable and necessary. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I STILL don’t. (To my friend of almost 50 years, I treasure our daily texts, whether a sentence or a conversation; it’s so comforting!) 

Hopefully, our current generation of kids will catch on and do the same. 

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Fran was born, raised, married, and still lives in Mount Kisco, NY. She has four kids, including a teenage daughter and two precious grandsons, whom she babysits a couple of days a week. She also works part-time as an accounting clerk, helps run her husband’s excavation business, and lastly aspires to finish writing her book one day. Despite her crazy, busy schedule, she cooks almost every night for her big family and tries her best to keep up with the dishes! She truly believes spontaneity is the spice of life, and sometimes the very unexpected happens, but it’s usually all for the best. Enjoy her many tales of raising kids over 20 years; what an amazing journey!