She took her daughter out of the store and turned to her. She bent down so they were face to face. “I want you to stop touching everything in the store and when you make something fall down, you need to pick. it. up.”
I smiled. Ah! Order had been restored in the universe!
This was such a refreshing scene to what is becoming more commonplace in restaurants and malls: parents busy on their phones while their children run and scream, hit each other or drum on tables with forks and knives.
My daughters have cell phones. I do regret purchasing iPhones for them. But we had purchased them a “dumb” phone (only good for making calls) and they never had it on them. Or, they wouldn’t turn it on. So much for emergencies! In any case, they love their new phones and we can always reach them. Problem: They’re on Instagram or Snapchat all the time. It’s summer break and they will (literally) be happy to lie on their bed and play on their phones for hours. They become sullen, lethargic and anti-social.
So I took their phones away. They have to hand them to me at 9:30pm and they don’t get them again until 5pm. In the meantime, they must make their beds, practice violin for at least 70 minutes each and do other chores. I’ve actually been called “strict,
“mean” and “bossy” for doing this. Really? 4 or 5 hours of complete freedom on their phones is being strict? I’m trying to teach them ethics – “work before pleasure.” Someone said, “Well, all the teenagers do this now.” This sentence reminds me of a comeback…something about everyone jumping off a bridge?
Balancing “control” and “freedom” is always a delicate issue when raising children. Giving them room to grow, letting them make mistakes and standing back as they learn from their mistakes is imperative! However, we are parents. We must not be afraid to do the right thing, which is limit the “bad stuff”. You don’t allow your kids to eat all the sugar they want, do you? Technology is the same thing. As they mature and demonstrate that they can put the phone down and do other things, I will ease up. But not yet.