I like to consider myself an old-school parent. I raise my kids with understanding, but don’t tolerate a lot of BS and will call them to the mat when they think they are going to get away with something. As I only have one child left at home, I still have to temper my views with keeping up with today.
In comes the debate that plagues many of my parent friends: when do the kids get a cell phone. My daughter is 10.5, very mature for her age, and up to a few months ago, a snowball in hell had a better chance of not melting than she did in getting a cell phone before she was a teenager.
If you ask her, I’m the “mean” parent. I do most of the rule enforcement, handle school issues, run the household and put up with very little. Heck, she even nicknamed me, “the funsucker”. No lie…go ahead and laugh. I did and thought…right on…I’m doing my job as a mom making her into a responsible kid.
Lately, my lil miss has been helping out with the dogs; getting them on and off their leashes for potty breaks, cleaning up after them, cuddling with my 3 year old pup, who thinks he’s 8 months old again. She helps in the kitchen, does her assigned chores without much complaining, and is really a pretty good kid.
When I decided we weren’t going to homeschool and I put her in a very small, but private school, that meant, I didn’t really have sitters on hand. Now, because school is out for 5 more (loooooong) weeks, she hangs out at my office with me. I have some friends who take her from time to time, but she’s with me 90% of the time. I know she gets bored. So, she takes my phone to keep herself entertained. I know what she’s watching and she knows I know.
That being said, I wanted my phone back. However, it’s easier for her to be less disruptive if she can call into my private office and I can go to her versus her coming to me. So, I told her dad we were getting her a phone. By, “we”, I meant me. Now, I’m still paying for my phone. I wasn’t about to be doing the same for a 10-year old…heck no!
Did my research and I was able to add a Go-Phone to my plan. So for $80, she received an 8 Gig phone with a 5 megapixel camera. It’s a Samsung and it’s not too bad, but a good “starter” phone. However, there are several stipulations that go with this new phone. Remember, I’m the “mean” mom.
- She no longer gets an allowance. She was getting $3.00/week if all her chores were completed. Well, that’s about what her monthly phone bill will be so, I pay that. She must continue to do all her chores.
- She must maintain good grades. She is a good student, but has to work for it. She tries to slack off. For spelling test, “I got this, Mom”. She honestly thinks she will learn through osmosis or something. Yup, she flunks a spelling test or doesn’t study to my satisfaction, she will lose the phone for a week at a time, so she can concentrate.
- Lastly, attitude. She’s a female, pre-pubescent (Lord, HELP ME!) and she’s my daughter and becoming well versed in sarcasm. So, when the attitude goes awry, her phone goes away.
She has to turn in the phone every evening before going to bed. Her phone stays with my phone. There will be no staying up playing games, when she should be sleeping. I think this will enhance her responsibility. Oh, and this was the way I got out of thinking about her having a hamster. That alone was worth the $80, if you ask me.
So did I cave? Naw….I don’t think I did. I think getting your child a cell phone is really dependent upon your family dynamics and the child in question. As their parent, you can only decide when the time is right.