Friday, September 2, 2011

It was time for a cellphone...

A friend of mine IRL wrote a blog post a while back about getting her tween a cellphone.  You can read her thoughts here:   Why texting is not a bad thing for my tween 

I could really relate to what she had written and it played a part in the reasons why we decided to get our tween son a cell phone for his 11th birthday this past summer.

Now for those of you who know me IRL, I have always been adamant that my children would never have a cell phone until they were much older, until it was a necessity.  I am one of those moms that says to my children constantly, "just because someone else has it doesn't mean you will".

But somewhere down the road my attitude changed and I agreed to give it a try.  Worst case scenario, we take it away and try again in a year or two.

It has been 3 months since we gave him his phone and to be honest, I love the fact that he has it.  It allows him to have a little bit more freedom, but added security for mom and dad.

I love that I can let him go to a friend's house and know that I can text him or he can text me anytime either of us feels like it.  I can check in on him and he doesn't have to be embarrassed that his mother is calling his friend's house to make sure he's doing ok.

Even more importantly, he knows that if he is ever somewhere and doesn't feel safe for any reason, he can call or text me privately and tell me to come get him.  He never has to be in an awkward situation or feel uncomfortable or even afraid to call me immediately, if he needs outta there.

Some of you may say that you know your child, and you have brought them up in a way that assures you that in a given situation your child would call you right away if they were not comfortable or unsafe.

I was one of those moms.

Until the day my son came home from a friend's house and said he never wanted to go back.  I was surprised  because I had met the mom several times and was very confident that it would be a safe environment for my child.

What I didn't know was that  the parents were both heavy smokers and smoked in their home.  (They never actually lit up with him in the house), but they had ashtrays filled with crumpled butts in every room of their home and the smell was over powering.

The athlete came home reeking of cigarettes, had a headache and felt like he was going to throw up.  I asked him why he didn't call me and ask to come home.  Do you know what his reply was?  "I didn't want to hurt their feelings, mom."

He was more afraid of upsetting them than he was of getting out of a house that was making him physically ill. It was right then and there I told him, "If for any reason you need to leave a home, whether it be unsafe, or something happens that scares you, or you just don't feel comfortable being there, than you tell the parents that you don't feel well and you need to call your mother to come get you and bring you home."

I felt so bad that he endured that for 4 hours!

Never again.

With his cell phone and through our talks,  I am even more confident that he will reach out to me if he needs me any place or time.  The pressure is off of him and the odds of him calling are more in my favor.  That right there makes it all worth it.

Another plus, he knows it can be taken away at any time for any one of these reasons:

First,  he doesn't answer or get back to us within minutes of us calling or texting him.

Second,  he uses it inappropriately while texting.  (We monitor his texts, and no I'm not stupid or naive.  I know he can and will erase anything he says that qualifies and inappropriate.  But he also knows that at anytime his father or I can pick up his phone whether it's in his hands or lying around somewhere and read through his messages.)

Third,  it will, and has, been taken away as a consequence when he does something really wrong, or decides to get wise during an argument.  On the flip side, it also has stopped or prevented many a melt down from him when you simply threaten to take his phone away.  (That's just an added bonus in my book!)

Now this part is really important:   I'm not saying that a cell phone can take the place of smart parenting,  in some instances they may give parents a false sense of security.  As with anything that pertains to your child and his or her safety be smart.  Make wise choices based on your individual child.  What might be right for one child may not be for another.  But in our case, it does help us as parents to be able to let go "a little" and give our tween the opportunity for a bit more freedom and navigate his way through this scary world of growing up.

1 comment:

  1. I love that I can take it away. Always pulls her right back in line!

    ReplyDelete

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