Communicate before angry button push

COMMUNICATING with your kids is like dieting, exercising or cleaning the kitchen floor. You know you should do it. You feel guilty for not doing it. And every Monday you promise yourself you'll make a bigger effort. But to be fair, it's just not that easy to communicate with kids, especially when they're your own.

For a start, the first few years they don't talk (it's a pity it's not until later you realise these were the golden years of parenting) and once they've learned to talk, you can't get them to shut up. It's one question after another: "Why do I have eyebrows?" "Why can't I have chocolate Paddle Pops for breakfast?" "Why do you and daddy have the bedroom door locked?" and "What happened to the real yellow Wiggle?"

Fast forward a few years and boys do nothing but grunt while the girls mix it up with a little yelling, a lot of dramatic sighs and some high pitched squealing (although it's a given that at this stage whining is still prevalent in both sexes).

And just when you think this phase is going to last forever, they go teenage techno, get a mobile and communication is never the same.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to be said for mobile phones. I'd be lost without mine. They're a wonderful invention and a great form of communication. How else would we find out just by standing in a supermarket queue that Phil isn't sure what size nappies to buy and Sandra is pretending to still be at the office because she's forgotten the babysitter wanted to knock off early.

It's hard to miss most adults talking on their mobile phones. They're loud. Especially in supermarkets.

Kids on the other hand are a whole other story. The only thing you'll hear when a teenager is on the phone is the fast and furious clicking of their grimy little fingernails and the odd snigger as they speed type their text messages.

Call me old fashioned but I'm pretty sure Graham Alexander Bell didn't spend all his time inventing the telephone just so we could go back to a form of letter writing.

If I sound a little bitter there's good reason. I still haven't mastered the art of texting. And, in my defence, I've gotta say it's not as easy as it looks. Firstly those letters on my phone are ridiculously tiny. And secondly you need the precision of a skilled surgeon to send a text. Text the message "good luck" without your glasses and you could easily be in trouble. Then there's the whole new text language thing to be learned. My youngest sent me a text the other day and I had to find an interpreter (someone under 25) to tell me what it said. Apparently "hru wud ily cya mwah" is text talk for "Hi Mum, how are you? What are you doing? I love you. Bye, big kiss".

Grateful as I was that my youngest was thinking of me, she should have been thinking of her dental appointment. She was late. It took me almost five minutes but I managed to text back, "Yr l8t 4 dentist appt where r u?". Her reply (which came back in under two seconds) was "yyssw kyho". I had to refer "yyssw kyho" to my interpreter. The translation? "Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever. Keep your hair on". My reaction? I'm still looking for the buttons.

Family Taming is a weekly humour column written by Wendy Andrews.

Topics:  opinion

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

NEW ARRIVAL: The husband of the late Jodie Spears, James Spears, looks on with his sisters-in-law Mel Small and Kylie Murdoch with Mel's new baby Brodie. Jodie Spears passed away the night before her sister gave birth.

Date set for the funeral of crash victim Jodie Spears

Meet the faces behind the highway upgrade: PT I

Communications Adviser for Pacific Complete Colleen Catterson

Colleen Catterson - from Ireland to the Clarence Valley

REVEALED: Construction timeline for new Grafton bridge

Houses to be demolished before the end of the year

Local Partners

Meet the faces behind the highway upgrade: PT I

MEET communications advisor Colleen Catterson in the first part of the DEX's new series introducing people who have moved to the region due to the highway.

The Saraton: More than just a picture theatre

Iconic theatre still lighting up lives 90 years on

9 Things To Do this weekend

TAKING TO THE WATER: Paddlers kick off the third stage in last year's Clarence 100.

Paddlers on the river from Copmanhurst to Yamba

Dragging rights for billycart veterans

BUILT FOR SPEED: John Kliendienst of Grafton enjoys working on a cart for the Jacaranda Derby.

Jacaranda Billy Cart Derby up to speed

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E10 - hometown visits

Georgia Love in a scene from season two episode 10 of The Bachelorette.

Georgia meets the families of her four beaus tonight.

The Bachelorette: Courtney too slow for Georgia's love train

Courtney Dober in a scene from The Bachelorette.

FORMER favourite eliminated after introducing Georgia to his family.

Three legendary tribute bands in one big night

TRIPLE TREAT: Don't miss this tribute to legendary Aussie rock bands Midnight Oil, The Angels and The Divinyls at the Grafton District Services Club on Saturday night.

Three of your favourite Aussie rock bands will play at the GDSC

Country Music Muster takes over Clarence

READY TO ROLL: Adam Harvey will headline the list of performers at this year's Clarence Valley Country Muster.

Get ready for a week of country music

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb breaching lease

Rental properties.

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb is a no no

First home buyers smash avo-on-toast excuse

TOASTED: A Coast real estate identity and first home buyers say young people should not put home ownership in the "too hard” basket and eat out instead.

Determined first home buyers can get into market