When I wrote out my blogtable for this week, my intention was 1 parenting article. One. And then all of a sudden I had 3. Three. And yesterday afternoon, I started jotting down ideas for today- I was going to talk about flirting. And then, I read a blog http://bleuwater.wordpress.com/ (great parenting blog FYI) and I scrapped flirting and exchanged it for parenting. Sorry.
The blog yesterday spoke about how parents in certain communities are signing pledges to the effect that they hold off buying their children smartphones until the kids are in 8th grade. The reason for the written pledge is that some parents are unable to say “no” to their kids if everyone else has something. IE- if one kid has a smartphone, all kids have smartphones.
So what do you think I think about this?
Personally- my daughter got her first phone when she was in 5th grade, and began walking to school by herself. To be clear, it was not a smart phone, but an old school flip phone. At a little league game, a parent said to me, “Oh- my daughter would never accept a flip phone.” To which I replied “If my daughter doesn’t like the phone I got her, she has the option not to have a phone.” And I sounded a lot snippier in person. A lot snippier.
My daughter and I spend a lot of quality time together- we went out last night and had a great time. We laughed, we bonded, we had fun. We are friendly, but I am not her friend. I am her parent. When a child is under the age of 18, you need to be a parent, not a friend.
Distinction? A parent has the ability to make rules, and a child has the obligation to follow the rules. A parent has the ability to say “NO”. A parent doesn’t care if the child “hates” them (there’s actually a quote that says if your child never says “I hate you” you aren’t doing your job as a parent).
But parents don’t want their child to hate them. They want to be liked.
Let’s take the initial example that set me off on this rampage. Signing a pledge because you don’t want to say “NO” to your child, simply because “everyone else is doing it.”
Gee- great way to teach your kids about peer pressure. Leading by example. Modeling behavior so your kids follow it.
If an adult does not have the ability to stand up to peer pressure, how can we expect a child to stand up to peer pressure?
Don’t we always tell our children not to do things they know are not right just because everyone else is?
So, the theory behind this pledge weakens our stance as parents. It decreases the value of our words. We tell our kids not to submit to peer pressure, yet we admit that we submit to it. (have I driven this point home yet?)
You sign this pledge when the kids are, lets just say, 10 years old. You haven’t even gotten to the puberty, adolescence, teen age rebellion yet. They haven’t begun to test the boundaries yet. And they will. And it will be about issues much tougher than smart phones. Yet, you’re done. Because your kid knows that you can’t say “no”. Your kid knows that you want to be liked. The cart begins pulling the horse.