My teen daughter spent the night with a friend. They had a blast doing fun girl things. The mom sent me a picture of them dressing up, and she said they were giggling and having a ball all night. What was the difference from the usual quiet night with barely any laughter or noise? NO PHONES! She had taken away her daughter’s phone, hence the other two put theirs away as well.
When my daughter got home, she was ecstatic! She went on and on about how much fun they had and told me EVERYTHING they did, until I was doing one of those “uh huh”s and nodding my head. My daughter couldn’t figure out why her friend’s phone had been taken away. She was completely astonished that a major incident had not caused the loss of the phone. The friend’s mom had simply wanted to “have her daughter back”. She wanted to see something besides the top of her kid’s head. She wanted to see her face. I love that.
We get so caught up in our activities and busyness, that we don’t tell our kids to put that phone away. We don’t see it until OUR parents are over, and we are kicking our kids under the table to put their phones away. We don’t see it until our kids’ friends are over and we are giving our kids the look to put their phones away because their friend is just sitting there, and it’s making us feel a bit awkward and forcing us to make conversation with THEIR friend.
My daughter’s friend’s mom said something about being the “crazy” mom that took the phone away. What if we all became that “crazy” mom? What would it do for the real relationships in our kids’ lives? What kind of bond would we have within our family? What special close friendships would be created among our kids that are on the same sports teams, in the same clubs, and schools?
I want to be a “crazy” mom. I want to join that team of women who are willing to be different and unconventional in their methods. I want my kids to be able to stay connected to their friends. I know they need to receive messages and occasionally see what is happening out in all important teen world, but I want to regulate it. I want to know what social media apps they have, and who their “friends” are. I have to know. I have one shot at this parenting gig. So, here are a few questions that are going to be asked before screen time happens.
- Is your homework finished? (This is a good solid question.)
- Is your room clean? (I’m in charge of an entire home. One room isn’t going to kill you. Besides, I am trying to help you grow into a responsible adult who knows how to keep their area organized and tidy.)
- Did you read for 15 minutes? (This has to be something productive.)
- Have you done something kind for a member of our family? (I know this isn’t always easy, but when these family years are all said and done, I want to know I encouraged love and a strong bond between all of us. This can be a very simple task.)