There is a lot of debate on the use of cell phones / tablets / etc. And I will tell you hands down that there is no right answer. Seriously. All of the things that you read can just reaffirm the fact that no one has the right answer because all children are different!!!
With that being said, yes we have cell phones in this house. There is a “kiddo” phone that is a $5 Tracfone flip phone that only makes calls. It is not a smart phone. This is for general kiddo usage when they are without a parent and I feel they may need to get a hold of me.
When the oldest started middle school, she started having some activities right after school. My hat is off to all the parents for all the decades of letting their kids leave after the school bell rings and go places and do things without worry. And if I HAD to, I would do it with minimal worry . . possibly. Ok, so mostly to appease my own worry, the oldest got a cell phone in middle school. It is a tracfone with limited minutes. It is a smart phone with limited data. She can connect to wifi. I can take the phone and look thru it whenever I want. I have access to her social media accounts and her phone at all times. We made an agreement at the beginning of the phone “thing”. She signed it. Her father and I signed it. And she has lost the phone before.
Last year the second oldest kiddo entered middle school. Crappy parenting fact is that when you set a precedent with the oldest child, it is hard to change it without a good reason. “Your sister has a phone and can call me if you need her to” is not a very good reason to tell a second oldest kiddo. I could just make a parent Veto. But, I really try to be fair with the kids. So I would be looking at losing kiddo trust and being a hypocrite should I go that route. So the second oldest has a phone. Same thing, there is an agreement. I have access whenever I want. Nothing is to be added or deleted from the phone without permission. He signed it. His father and I signed it. And he has lost the phone before.
Now the third enters middle school. She has been drooling with thoughts of her own phone. So what did I do? I used that desire to motivate the girl.
This blog gets a little tricky because I don’t want to embarrass the children. So I’m going to go a little vague here. There is a skill that the majority of children have. Most learn when they are younger. This stubborn, stubborn child tried it once, fell down, and has refused repeatedly, for years, to try again. I have tried to make her try again. Her father has tried to make her try again. She told me that she doesn’t ever want to learn for the rest of her life. Have you ever tried to teach someone to do something that they don’t want to do? Like with a vengeance that they don’t want to do it? Yeah . . . I mean, I’m just not that good. Who is?
So I had an “Ah-Ha!” moment the other day. Two or three days ago I think. Just a week or so ago the child asked if she could give away an item that is involved with this particular skill. Of course I said no, you will need it when you decide to learn! Tonight she asked me to get it out for her – it was waaaay in the back, covered with dust.
Tonight I am thankful that with cell phone motivation, my last remaining child can do a certain skill that I’ve been waiting for her to learn! I won’t call it bribing. I will call it my favorite, Incentive Parenting! I have had dreams for years of family events with this skill. And now, we can do it!! Hooray!