My husband and I don't consider ourselves extremely strict parents, but we have our oddities to the modern day parent. First, our daughters do not have TV's in their room or phones. A bedroom is an imagination waiting to happen; toys, forts, castles, etc. We do not want to intrude on this type of play. It is also now where my older girls do their homework, a good quiet place with little distractions.
Second, the only video game you will find in our house is a broken down Wii the grandparents got them years ago, it is quite dusty. I refuse to be "that family", out to dinner with the kids silently tapping away on some small screen oblivious to the world around them. If you ask my children what mommy thinks of video games they will reply, "Junk food for your brain." On long car trips we will pack the portable DVD player. However, the girls usually are happy with a book, or coloring, or playing car games with each other.
Now the last oddity and biggest contention of late to our "tweenragers" is that our children do not have cell phones nor do I allow them on social websites such as Facebook. This has not been much of an issue prior to this year, as the twins are now in fifth grade and sadly most of their friends have their own phone and just about all of them have a Facebook page. I do not mean to disparage parents that do permit these privileges for their young children, but as I so often point out to my daughters, those are the decisions of other children's parents. In our own little family I just do not see why phones and Facebook are necessary.
I teach in a middle school, I have seen the fights over texts and nasty posts on Facebook. Heck, I have seen how adults get out of hand with the awesome power of the net. I am not ready to hand this power off to a set of pre-hormonal tweens who can't decide whether to watch Spongebob or icarly. The question now remains, am I marking them for prey? Are they going to be the weird kids in school who are singled out for no phone and no Facebook? Oh well, what is a childhood without a little bit of angst and peer pressure.
This now brings me to my favorite conversation I had with Hannah about having a cell phone ( of course all of these conversations seem to happen when I am driving, usually after a long day at work).
"MOM! Why can't I have a phone? Everyone else has one! What if I needed to call you when I at school?"
"You will go to the teacher, who will let you use the phone if it is important."
"What about next year when I am in middle school?"
"Same thing, but I will be there already."
"BUT MOM! ::insert shrill voice:: I WILL BE THE ONLY ONE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL WITHOUT A PHONE!"
"No you won't....you sister won't have one either."
©2011 Amy E. Silverstein. All rights reserved.