Raising teenagers is hard. It always has been, and I’m afraid it always will be. With each generation comes its’ own set of issues. It’s crazy how far we’ve come in the last 20 years as far as technology alone is concerned. When I was in middle and high school, there were no cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Heck, most people didn’t even have internet in their homes until I was in college.
It’s a new day, folks. It can be scary thinking about raising preteens and teenagers in the digital age, where it seems like everyone has access to your sweet baby. Believe me, we’re totally there at the Lawrence house. The thought of people I don’t know looking at my beautiful girl’s pictures, reading her status updates or sending direct messages, photos, chats and more can send me into parental lock-down mode. Sometimes, I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that I didn’t find out my daughter made homecoming court on Facebook (that’s a real thing that happened). This is real life, people, and pretending these social media platforms don’t exist isn’t the answer.
Social media and kids having cell phones, laptops, notebooks (not the spiral kind), ipods, ipads and any other idevices can be just as controversial as the breastfeeding and homeschooling conversations. So if you think the mommy wars stop when they get older, think again. It’s just a whole new set of things to have to navigate. But like any other parenting issue, you have to educate yourself and decide what is best for you and your family. As for me and my house, we will disconnect.
My girls will tell you that I’m fairly strict when stacked up against their friends’ parents. I have rules, boundaries and standards that they must follow when it comes to cell phones and all things internet. I didn’t come up with these on the fly or out of the blue. There has been much thought and prayer put into how the three of us will operate in the digital age. As their parent, I feel that it is my job to protect them and educate them. That means I have to educate myself. Armed with information and the right to change my mind as I feel needed, we have set definite boundaries in our home.
So, here is my cell phone policy: No cell phones until you can drive. We will go directly from the DMV to the AT&T store to purchase their first cell phone. Gasp! It’s an awful rule, I know; but it’s the law of the land on the Lawrence homestead nonetheless. Now, when I made this rule, I didn’t realize how inconvenient it was going to be; but when was parenting ever convenient? When the girls friends ask for their phone number, guess who gets the calls. You got it. Me. I get tons of calls from kids wanting to talk to Angel or Christal. Oh and when the girls want to call their friends, yeah, they use my cell phone. What about when I need to get a hold of them? At this point in life, they are never somewhere where there isn’t an adult with a phone. We do however, have a cell phone that acts as our house phone. It stays at the house for the most part and has a parental-control plan. Only 14 lucky people can call or receive calls from that phone or text and receive texts from said phone. So if you made the cut, consider yourself lucky or a babysitter. Again, I reserve the right to change my mind; so if my kids end up with phones next week, don’t judge me.
I’m curious, what’s your stance on cell phones? Yay, nay or I have no idea. This is a judgment free zone. What works for me may not work for you. Join the discussion; I’d love to hear your thoughts.
To get to know more about Jess’s story and how her two daughters came to be hers, read her original guest post here.