"Writer Janell Burley Hofmann's 13-year-old son Gregory wanted an iPhone for Christmas, and so he got one, but not without an 18-point "phone code of conduct" to sign. With a smartphone comes great responsibility, his mother insists."
While I applaud the mother for trying to teach her child proper etiquette, I do not like how this was presented as a "gift". It's her phone that she is allowing him to use, she even states this: "1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?"
A gift is freely given, no strings attached. This is not a gift, it is a handcuff.
(I don't care for her self congratulation, either. Was the gift because she loved her son, or to show how wonderful she is?)
Further, she undermines him and tells him flatly that she doesn't trust him (I don't have a problem with that, you can't trust a lot of teenagers), but by saying "You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift", then turning around and making so many rules that he may as well not even have the phone says that she doesn't actually believe the first part. Relationships are built on trust. Had these been recommendations it would have been better. Lead the child, don't arbitrarily use punitive rules that keep him under thumb.
I personally love rules, because I like to figure out ways around them.
Technically he could put the phone on silent and be able to ignore every call, because it won't ring, he doesn't have to answer it. (rules 3 and 11).
Rule 2 is more of an idle threat than a rule, and different profiles can be created on an iphone. He could set up a private profile and she would still have access to the phone without seeing what he actually does with it.
If you are naturally a rude person, rule 8 doesn't apply. Also, you can't control what offends some people.
What's wrong with taking photo's (rule 13)? A zillion photo's? What if it inspires the artist in him? She doesn't have to look at them all, what does she care? Oh, right. It's not his phone.
Rule 15. What if he wants to listen to Justin Beiber because he likes it? I hate Beiber, but I would never presume to tell someone what they can or cannot like. I don't gain any greater meaning from country music, but I know a lot of people who have because music speaks to us on a personal level. I take exception to her telling him what he can enjoy.
This "gift" seems to me like an act of control and manipulation. He might be better off rejecting the gift and using the advice of rule 6 " Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money" and buy his own phone.
It is great that she wants to raise a respectable son, but the way that this gift was given, with all of it's strings, may well engender resentment. She isn't teaching him to be a better person, she's trying to control him, possibly for how his actions reflect on her. There is no freedom of choice in her rules.
My own mother tried things like this, and while I was raised with Emily Posts Guide to Etiquette, tenth edition and still follow many of the guidelines it presented even today, it did not make me respect or even love her.
While children need limits, too many rules may have negative consequences, both now and in the future. Parenting style, including rule-setting and enforcement, influences children's temperament, self-esteem, behavior and success in school. Children may also struggle with too many rules or an overly strict environment in a classroom or child-care setting.
Teens raised with too many rules do function better than those raised with none at all, but not as well as children raise in homes that balance authority with responsiveness. Teens in strict homes are less likely to engage in problem behaviors and do moderately well in school. They have higher rates of anxiety and depression than other teens and are more likely to give in to peer pressure, according to Diana Baumrind, professor of child development at the University of California at Berkeley.
1/16/2013 02:57:39 pm
Whle I agree too many rules for a kid does not allow for them to make their own mistakes I have to admit we made our son sign a contract when he got an iphone. Ours was a tad bit more straight forward though. Off of it on school nights by 10 unless it is cleared with us to stay on longer. No texting when we are doing family things (including eating dinner), he has to keep his grades up-no more than one C. Stuff like that. He actually agreed to all of them and has only lost the use of his phone once for 5 days nd he knew he deserved for it to be taken away, he didn't even argue with us. As he gets older we alter the rules so tey re age appropriate. After this school year he can be on it longer on school nights. The only rule I can see us adding is when he starts driving and that will be no texting and driving and if he is aught the keys will go bye bye-not the phone. :)
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