Monday, March 2, 2009
To Cell phone our child or not
Okay, you with smaller children may not think that this applies to you, but it does. At what point do you arm your child with a cell phone? I used to say high school, but Scott and I have changed our tune. Tyler gets a cell phone when he can pay for it himself. I will add him to our plan and all that, but if he has to pay for it, I have a feeling the whole process will go better. Let me tell you why.
Our thirteen year old niece, who shall remain nameless, just went over her minutes on her parents plan to the tune of $400.00. Four. Hundred. Dollars. When her parents originally let her have texting, she went so far over, they took the texting away. They have since taken away her cell phone until she can pay the money back. I don't have to mention anything else do I? When I learned of this two days ago and asked her how she could do this to her parents, she replied, "I don't know how to check my minutes". Really? Kids today know everything about anything that has to do with an Ipod, a cell phone or a computer. They are way smarter than we are, so I called her on the carpet. I think all of us know someone who has had to deal with this, the answer is not to get unlimited minutes. What does that teach our children? It solves the immediate problem, but not the long term.
That being said, young teenage minds do not have the right wiring for consequences. They don't think before they act. They believe the best until the worst happens. That is why they have parents to keep them alive until they can make proper decisions. That is basically our jobs, keep the kids alive until they can function on their own and not make complete fools of themselves or worse.
That brings up something I think is very important. You cannot wait until your kids are teenagers to decide what they can and when they can do it. You and your hubby need to figure all that stuff out, hash it out, when they start to walk. When will your girl be able to wear make-up? What about the cell phone question? When can they date? That is a big one. Make these decisions early, because these kids are dealing with things at a much younger age than we did. If we heard about something or tried something our senior year, they are doing it in sixth grade, or younger. It is a scary, scary world out there.
I know all the arguments from my teenager as to why he needs a cell phone. He makes a great argument. He will someday make a great lawyer or senator. He still isn't get a cell phone until he can pay for it himself. I am the meanest mom on the block and proud of it.