Before I gave my 12-year-old son Ayden his mobile phone, we wrote up an agreement that was to be signed by him, as well as three parents (that’s divorce for you).
This piece of paper pretty much gave us the ability to put down some ground rules and also monitor his behaviour. To be honest, I don’t think we should be giving our younger teenagers mobile phones with social media, however, I didn’t want to be that parent who wouldn’t allow it. I grew up with parents who didn’t allow me to have a phone and I felt isolated and left out – it wasn’t a nice feeling.
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Having to trust that your child is doing the right thing is nerve-wracking. It’s a big step and a scary one for some parents.
Some tips from me and what I’ve learnt in these last couple of months:
- Trust your gut. If you feel something is off search the phone. Children (yes – even as teenagers – that’s what they are) hide things from their parents, usually because they’re scared they’ll get in trouble.
- DO NOT allow them to hide you from their social media. If you’re being hidden they’re doing something they shouldn’t – trust me.
- Kids are smarter in this area, it sucks I know but they are. Be strong and stand your ground. If they’re being protective of the phone take it and search. If they change their password, the phone gets confiscated.
So here is the contract I wrote up for Ayden, and I hope you’re able to get some use out of it too.