Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dear overbearing phone mom - No thanks!

You may have read the post from an overbearing mom who was trying to control her kid because she purchased a phone for him. The level of contempt this mom shows for her son is disheartening. Fortunately, this mom’s whole desire to impose lessons upon him falls short if he rejects her gift. Teaching your child that money equals control is a shameful and dangerous lesson.  We can respect children and help them become responsible without such control.  
Here is the letter from this mom followed by what a hypothetical teen (based on real conversations with teens about the issue) who doesn’t accept her gift might say.

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

Dear Mom,

I appreciate gifts, but this is not a gift. A gift does not come with strings attached so I don’t choose to accept this.  Below are my responses to your strings.
1. It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?
  • Thanks mom, but I got my own phone a few weeks back. I’m not sure if you’re the greatest, but I don’t need your strings-attached gifts anymore than you would appreciate dad giving you a gift with such strings.
2.  I will always know the password.
  • Yes you will because I am not taking your phone. I'm saddened by your blatant distrust of me.
3.   If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever.
  • Please mom.  These are not 21st century manners. I keep my phone on silent or vibrate and am present in my conversations and life.  I can call someone back and focus on what I am doing rather than being slave to a piece of technology.  
4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.  It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
  • That’s okay mom.  You can keep my phone.  Texting is not the same as using a landline and your outdated instincts are not applicable. You may want to do some research about teens and optimal sleep patterns. I don’t disconnect from the world at 7:30 p.m.
5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.
  • I have developed the ability to converse with people in a variety of ways. Texting, IMing, voice and more.  Being able to text effectively has no impact on my ability to speak effectively. I am developing skills to communicate in many different ways. Additionally, why do you think I must be kept a prisoner of your past? I am quite capable at using my iPhone as a learning tool. Maybe I can teach you some time.
6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.
  • Yep. Got that.  Those are the things I did to buy my own phone and bonus! It has a warranty.  
7.  Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
  • Yes. I know this.  Do you doubt my morals?  I am a good person. A phone won’t change that.
8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
  • I don’t.
9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.
  • I don’t need to censor myself. Why do you think so little of me? Am I sensing projection?
10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.
  • So glad you suggest this mom.  I can see you have carefully considered the best way to address this with me. When can we talk about porn?
11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
  • Wait mom! You are contradicting yourself. In number 3 you told me if it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever.

    Sounds like you’re going a little schizo but don’t worry. I know proper etiquette.  Let me know if you’d like some help.
12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.
  • Ugh mom. Really? Is this your idea of sex ed? I’m sorry, but you’re so lame.  And, let’s lay off the scare tactics.  According to my history class even our president got over a little Lewinsky bam chicka bam bam.
13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
  • Why do you care how many pictures and videos I take?  What makes you think they’ll be stored forever.  Brain research does not support this.  You’re starting to sound a bit paranoid and insane. Mom you’re scaring me.
14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.
  • I look at the adults in my world and they don’t do that.  It’s pretty normal to keep your phone on you.  I’m getting worried about your advice mom.
15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.
  • OMG mom!  Can you spell C-O-N-T-R-O-L-L-I-N-G. I’ll listen to the music I choose, you listen to your Frankie Valli, thank you very much.
16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
  • I don’t think you know much about what I play.  Talk to me about it and find out what I’m learning.  There are more than the type of games you mention that are good for my brain.
17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling.
18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You & I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.
  • I may mess up, but I bought my own phone. You are controlling and I’m not sure you have proved yourself the best person for me to speak to. If that happens I will figure it out and if it is you I pick, I’ll let you know.  

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I love you.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!

  • I got my own phone that I will use on my terms. I give this phone back to you as a gift that I hope you will enjoy using on the terms that make sense for you.  Mom I'm disappointed that you are trying to control me rather than have conversations with me. I bet we could learn a lot from each other if we actually talked.


  1. Nice post that reflects the paranoia and disconnect that too many parents are suffering in the 21st century. All of that paranoia and misunderstanding leads to contempt and fear. It's sad. Nice job on the exposure!

    Be careful, though. Dropping a phone in a toilet voids the warranty. Unless you buy the protection plan at Best Buy. ;)

    1. Good point. Keep phones away from toilets.

    2. If in the event your phone does get wet, packing it in rice still works. :)

  2. Lisa, how old are your kids?


    1. Hi Ben,

      I work with kids of all ages. The cell phone guidelines I feature in my book Teaching Generation Text work with whatever age children who have a phone or other digital device happen to be. I have worked with adults and young people across the the globe to incorporate the input and feedback of those whom the policies govern. I have found when we invite youth to have a voice in the decisions being made about them, the results are beneficial for all.

    2. Anonymous, I do hope your question doesn't imply that a person who doesn't have children should not have an opinion about raising them, or question decisions parents make. I have two kids, and I listen to good advice and ideas from all comers. This post shows more respect for kids than many parents of my acquaintance have.

      If you want kids to be untrustworthy, the best thing to do is treat them as if they are untrustworthy. Kids generally live up to those expectations.

  3. After reading both the mom's list and your responses, I still lean toward agreeing with most of her terms. Very few of the teens I work with have the maturity to respond with the level of reasoning you present. I'll grant that there must be exceptions out there but I find myself better off leaving that judgement to the parents who are suppossd to know their kids better than me. The level of snark is spot on, though, in your responses! And I stand stand with you disagreeing with the spinning of it as a gift. "Gifts" with strings was the M.O. my parents used and it's made a terrible mess of our relationship.

    1. ==Very few of the teens I work with have the maturity to respond with the level of reasoning you present.==

      I contend that is a result of having others impose rules upon them and take away the ability for them to demonstrate their own responsibility.

      I work with young people of all ages and have found that respectful dialogue with their input leads to positive outcomes.

      I have also worked with young people who have rules like this imposed upon them and they feel resentful and disrespected.

      Perhaps the biggest flaw with this mom is she feels she can by compliance which goes out the window if a teen doesn't need or want her money.

    2. I think kids tend to live up to their expectations -- and if you expect them to be unworthy of trust, that's what you'll get.

    3. Rather than see Lisa's responses as an actual teen's words, I appreciate how she projects the feelings one might experience in having received the kind of strings-attached gift this letter accompanied, and her words - while those of an adult - definitely portray the attitude of a teen.

    4. Wishful thinking on my part that a teen would have the cognition to respond how Lisa did? I definitely agree with the expectations... I've come to learn that they must be very clear and explicit expectations though. I think it points to the bigger issues of relational trust and equity that a parent and child must work on building.

      I'll concede that my circumstance jades me a little. Many students come to me with a history of adults failing them and I just try the best I can to show them what it is to think through conflicts and needs and how healthy interactions are essential to personal growth.

      I was vocally supportive of allowing cellphones here in my educational environment but there are enough few that abuse the privilege that it becomes an interference to their learning and those around them.

      One of my initial thoughts was, "Why is this a news story in the first place?" An interaction like this is personal between the mother and child and subsequent open discussion, as thought-provoking as I found it, could easily run away into gross generalizations and contention.

  4. I like this - most of the points are really what we try to teach: parenting 101. If it hasn't happened pre-iPhone, why does this mother believe suddenly bribing her kid with an iPhone will open the lines of communication?

    The points about how many pictures or what kinds of games to play also made me bristle when I first read her letter. My kids have had cell phones since age 11 (my now-16-year-old) and age 16 (my now-19-year-old) and they are not only responsible with their phones, they have shown that responsibility without my ever having to tell them how to use their devices.

    It sounded to me as though this (widely lauded) mother's efforts were an attempt to cram 13 years of lessons into one gift. I questioned everyone's head-over-heels embracing of it when it first hit the 'net, and this response validates my concerns.

    Thanks, Lisa, I've shared it!

    1. I agree...the need for this contract should indicate parenting deficits that are not, at this juncture, easy to cure. But it's never too late to get your kids' respect and trust back.

    2. I don't think most parents recognize how their relationships with their children/teens are heavily influenced and impacted by how much time they spend away from each other. Being in school much of their day with peers as their main support subconsciously undermines a parents faith in knowing and understanding their children. I think the parent of the iPhone contract meant it partially tongue in cheek, but I also see it as a passive-aggressive attempt at steering her son in acting responsibly because she subconsciously recognized the lack of time or impact she may have on her child day to day. Our culture has established through school attendance, dual-parent working, and a falling away from multi-generational living a pattern of family separation and peer approval that usurps time together to forge trust and respect. I wrote a post to reflect my ideas here:

  5. I have to backtrack. #12. While the mother's method of communicating this particular point is questionable, the hypothetical teen is wrong. Sexting is dangerous. It HAS ruined the lives of politicians and it has TAKEN the lives of many young people, ruining their families forever. Lisa, you might want to reconsider that point.

    1. The hypothetical teen does not believe sexting is okay, but rather calling the mom out on over-the-top scare tactics. When parents make claims like this that have evidence of being untrue, it often is less effective then heart-to-heart discussions.

  6. I agree with most of your comments. The majority of the "contract" is meaningless or doesn't really deal with legitimate issues. My concern is that the responses to a few specific issues seem a bit flippant.

    A lot of my thoughts and responses are framed with the legal framework of South Africa in mind (since this is where I practice) and from my dealings with schools and students and either defending of assisting in school manage some of the legal messes that they find themselves in.

    First off: The issue of phone ownership is a very legitimate concern (I think to a certain extent Parents should have some say in how there property is used, especially if they can be held legally liable for actions on that phone). I'm not sure how it works in the States, but in order to get a cellphone in South Africa you need to "RICA" with relevant cellular operator, which basically requires you to register your full names, ID number and physical address, all of which requires documentation that most teenagers under the age of 16 (hell even 18) simply won't have access to. What's important to note that even "prepaid" cellular services require the user to be RICA'd. This simply means that the vast majority of cellphones used by teens are "owned" by their parents, and more importantly the parents a legally liable for what happens on that phone, due to the fact that they are the registered owners of that phone.

    Number two: Points 7, 8, 9 are very legitimate concerns, and I don't think teenagers (hell even adults) truly appreciate the trouble they can get into due to what they say online. The response "No I won't" simply isn't true for the vast majority of teenagers, and the recent surge of defamation (or "libel")for online statement cases is testimony to this. A more disturbing trend is that governments are starting to enact stricter regulations around what people say online. Parent should be legitimately concerned about what their kids are doing online as the ramifications could be quite severe.

    Finally, "A little digital bam chicka bam bam hasn’t ruined the lives of our political leaders." No it hasn't, but then again they aren't distributing child porn. The issue of sexting is complicated, underage sex is nothing new, and won't go away, the problem (at least in the South African context) is that in terms of our laws, sending nude pictures of underage children constitutes as child pornography, even if the photos are self-shots. In SA we've already had minors been prosecuted for the distribution of child pron for sex videos they created.

    That being said, will the "contract" help alleviate any of these problems? No they won't. I just feel your answers to some of the issues could have been framed better.

    Now I confess I'm not familiar with your work (I'll seek to rectify this as soon as possible) so it is likely that maybe you've dealt with these issues more fully in your guidelines and other material.

    Just my thoughts

    1. Nick - yes, political leaders HAVE had their lives ruined by their misuse of technology (at least politically, Anthony Weiner is done). But my point above meshes with your concerns; sexting is not something to be taken lightly and I believe the mother is right to address that. I do not believe her venue is effective, and as an educator in the field of cyberbullying and social media, I am trying to help parents, teachers and students understand the very real dangers of sexting and related practices. SA is not alone in problems of child pornography and sexting violates that law (as well as many others).

    2. *Sigh* that "No it hasn't" should read "maybe not but". I can't seem to edit my comments, but I agree, people under appreciate the trouble that sexting causes.

    3. @Nick Hall,
      Parents absolutely should have have a say in how their property is used. However, once given, a gift is the property of the receiver.

      Legal definition:
      n. the voluntary transfer of property (including money) to another person completely free of payment or strings while both the giver and the recipient are still alive. Large gifts are subject to the federal gift tax, and in some states, to a state gift tax.

      The problem here is forcing a contract upon a young person. In this case, it undermines a healthy relationship and gives the message you can't be trusted with good judgement. Additionally, the parent is attempting to pay for adherence to the contract rather than interact with her child on important conversations to determine and agree upon smart principles to live by.

      While it certainly is easier to impose a contract and rules upon a child, it is usually not what is best or most effective. Pushing a one-sided contract upon a person (which appeared non-negotiable) is often less likely to foster a relationship and possibly more likely to promote a child doing something behind your back rather than having an open and thoughtful discussion.

      Another problem, is that this isn't an issue of who owns the phone or who is responsible for what the child does on it. The phone is just a tool and whether the child uses a phone, their mouth, or their fists, a parent's job is to help them be empowered to make wise decisions. There are better ways to do this then shoving a contract in their hand with imposed

      I understand her points are legimate concerns. I work to address those concerns with students in the largest school system in my country. Giving a person a piece of paper and say do what I say is not the most effective way to address these concerns. Creating guidelines, inviting feedback, and having real and hard conversations with real answers works

      Looking at young people as partners rather than those who must do as told is also effective. For example, parents and teachers can learn a lot by partnering with young people rather than imposing and demanding restrictions and rules that could be improved.

      My point about sexting, as I mentioned above, was not that this isn't a legitamate concern, but rather false scare tactics are rarely effective. When kids know the pot doesn't kill or a sext doesn't ruin a life, in most cases, they tend to dismiss this as out of touch parental advice.

      As far as answers to issues, I invite you to dig deeper into how I could have better framed any of the responses to the 18 conditions imposed upon a teen. From my experience and conversations with teens, my responses are pretty much in alignment with what they would have been feeling.

  7. Having read a few of the original author's Tweets about her relationship with her son, it seems to me that she already has a very good, trusting relationship with him.

    My question then is this: why the contract? It's not likely that he would have put the phone to bad use. Was it a power play? Why not sit down and have a discussion about what can happen when you have a cell phone?

    My only answer is that it was a simple move to establish her greater power. "You are subject to me." No other reason.

    1. Part of the red flags that arose in me when I first read it? That "aren't I the greatest?" statement. She might have been kidding around but then, how did this letter go viral? Who publicized it in the first place? Seems to me she was trying to get her son to appreciate her and even if they do have a good relationship, this was - as you state - perhaps some sort of power play. Not an effective parenting strategy, in my books.

  8. Seems a little over the top for me as well. After the storm I bought my 13 year old son an iphone 5 - no contract involved. Yeah hes a teen but I trust him. Hes also a great kid and Ive done a pretty good job of raising him so far that I dont think I need to have a contract with him to do the right thing. Its his phone, his freedom, his independence. That might be the problem these days. Micromanaging our kids like this. Do we really need to control them to this extent?

  9. While I agree that teaching our children involves a certain amount of trust, there are sections of the contract that have merit. 7, 8, 9, & 12 contain issues that young people miss in not only the digital world, but the analog one as well. Citizenship, digital or not, demands forethought, respect, contemplation, and responsibility for actions. Eliminate the rest (especially #1 which entirely contradicts "present") and you have a viable set of accepted norms to maintain compliance with most of society's public rules.

    Both of my children received phones as birthday presents. They are responsible for the safety of the device and themselves. Our communication lines insure that if they have a problem, they bring it to their parents. Is it perfect? No, but being able to remember the things I did as a teenager helps remind me that learning occurs constantly even when the lesson is a tough one. I help them become citizens that are productive; digital is just one piece of the puzzle.

    Digital citizenship contains much more than "don't do bad things online". It entails respect for others' work and intellectual property, securing digital resources, and maintaining adequate precautions to protect identity. These are the skills our children and students need today for tomorrow.

  10. As a teen, I would be appalled if I were forced to sign such a contract by my parents. Children need freedom and they need to be trusted. We should get over the notion that young people are empty vessels and cannot make decisions on their own. Moreover, the Internet and cell phones are tools for exploration and discovery. Restricting these devices impairs a child to learn digital citizenship.

  11. I think the problem with the contract is the mom's controlling language and efforts to cram 13 years of parenting into one set of rules, treating her son like he had already proven himself to be completely untrustworthy and without common sense or manners. The imagined replies from the son seem to match what someone treated as he was might want to say out loud, but some might be just a bit too smarty-pants and incendiary for a real person, particularly a 13 year old to say to their their mom. But they do make a point.

    I'm the mom of an almost age 20 unschooled daughter who was around her age-mates in school (I cannot call them peers) through the beginning of the 5th grade. When I see writing like this going around on the internet I cannot even bear to read it, and skipped on this one to keep my personal peace. Then when I saw that Lisa had addressed this mother's rules, I figured she would would reply with some points that would also express MY sentiments of respectful partnership, trust, and value-the-relationship parenting.

    This mom seemed to be writing for an audience of people who she might think would applaud her take-no-prisoners attitude. I think she assumed things about her son that she could have already known he would never do, but possibly has not spent time talking with him to know what kind of person he really is. So why would they have to be in the contract? Because she is so used to him trying to weasel around the fine print of any other rules she has made? That is the trouble with rules. It read like she was trying to cover all the possible bases so people agreeing with her would print out her cell phone contract and put it on their refrigerator, while thanking her for helping them keep their "wild, irresponsible, immature teen" in line. Babies are not born destined to turn into that, though. Left to be raised by their age-mates, however, that is what may happen. That must be the way many kids are raised now, because the quickest way to halt conversation in a group of mainstream-parenting adults who are talking badly about teenagers is to remark that they all aren't that way, and life with them doesn't have to be full of strife and drama. Many parents seem to love strife and drama, though, and especially seem to relish control, probably passing down to the next generation the disrespectful way they were treated. Some people think children are born to vex and dismay parents and need firm rules and boundaries (that seem to resemble electric barbed wire!)or else their children will become wild animals breaking things, playing in traffic, eating nothing but Twinkies, and lying in front to the TV for their whole lives until they turn 18 and them you throw them out. That saddens me! It doesn't have to turn out that way.

  12. We didn't have rules, we had principles. Why make a Rule, for example, that you can't touch the hot stove? It's hot and it will burn. Explain that to your child. What child purposely wants to hurt themselves? Show them something that was burned and explain how that could be their finger and it would hurt an awful lot. Then watch them closely to protect them, not punish them, when they get near the stove. That's the respectful way to handle teaching them about the world. Distract them from things you don't want them to get into when they are little. Why turn everything into a Rule? Treat all life experiences the same way. Explain the world and help them navigate it as a person who wants them to succeed, not fail. Don't set them up to fail so that you can then punish so that they "learn a lesson".

    It's not easy to transition to principles and away from rules, especially if you have had long lists of rules your kids have had to remember. Principles are intrinsically motivating, not extrinsically (with fear of punishments if you do not comply). Our principles were to be kind, and be respectful to people, animals, and things. You should be right there to help your child realize that what they are doing might be showing that they are forgetting one of those principles. To hit a sibling is to forget to be kind. The sibling deserves safety and peace, and it's the parents job to help children understand about hurtful words and hitting. To throw things is to forget to respect things and people, that you might break something or hit someone. There doesn't have to be a rule again throwing food at the table AND throwing the football in the house.

    The phone contract seemed to be coming from someone who assumed the very worst of behavior from her son. One of our mottos was "Always assume best intentions". If you spend time with your child (AND their friends), you know who they are. Model the behavior you want to see. Unfortunately, many people don't understand why you would want to be close to your child, why you would not want to "Parent" them. Their definition of "Parenting" seems to be "have plenty of enforced rules to keep them safe, and discipline (whack them? a time out?) when they do not mindlessly obey." One parent said to me when my daughter was in first grade "Well, THAT's because you spend so much TIME with her." Umm, well, she did't spend most of her time alone or away from me because I wanted lots of breaks from the "stressful work of parenting" and to have plenty of "me" time, that's correct. We talk and do interesting that she likes to do, together. And I know who she is as a person. I don't wonder if she'll behave badly as soon as I'm out of sight, to rebel against my control.

    I knew my daughter as a person well enough to know I did not need rules when we got her a phone. The wild behavior of movie stars and some teens would make some parents think that rules like these would be necessary, but if you have a great relationship with a mature and grounded person that you respect, this all becomes quite sad. Many teens cannot help behaving badly because of the lack of respect, control, and monitoring they live with every day - at home and at school. Young teens 150 years ago were out doing meaningful work with enormous responsibilities, either for their family's livestock or doing paid, real work in their community. Some were even married and living on their own. How would it feel to know you could be capable if given a chance, and then be treated like a potential criminal by your own mother. Very sad. Some teens are given a lot of control over their lives to make decisions about real choices, so that when they do turn 18, the choices about riding in the car with drunk friends and whether they should eat broccoli won't have equal appeal as rules they can finally rebel against.

  13. As a well-behaved teenager (no drugs, no staying out late, et cetera) I would find several of these points slightly condescending.

  14. Great comments! I agree with all of them.

  15. This is a ridiculous article.
    Glad I'm not your kid. Fear of Control is as bad as actually being controlling.
    And wow...I'm also very glad I don't have your kids. Mine actually like me and make an effort at being respectful when I say something that bothers them. They don't ever say
    "OMG mom! Can you spell C-O-N-T-R-O-L-L-I-N-G"
    "you’re so lame"
    Oh how I hope you aren't a person who actually works with teenagers. You think very poorly of them.

    1. ==Fear of Control is as bad as actually being controlling.==

      When you lead by mutual respect and trust their is no need to control and nothing to fear.

      ==Mine actually like me and make an effort at being respectful when I say something that bothers them.==
      You are focused on how your kids treat you. I focus on being respectful to kids.

      ==They don't ever say "OMG mom! Can you spell C-O-N-T-R-O-L-L-I-N-G"==
      Of course they don't say this to the face of someone who is controlling them and requiring them to do something should they want the carrot in return.

      ==Oh how I hope you aren't a person who actually works with teenagers. You think very poorly of them.==
      I do work with teens. It was these teenagers who told me how they felt. I think very highly of them to the point that I know with respect and freedom they will soar to amazing heights without my control.

  16. I think the contract is a great conversation starter. I copied it, edited it and then printed it and spoke with my son about the different points. He is 11 and now is the proud owner of an iPhone but with that ownership comes responsibility (like anything else) and as a mom I did my job to discuss possible pitfalls or temptations that may arise - not now - but in the future. It was a great way to have a funny, but honest dialog with my son. I appreciated it for the humor - didn't take it as serious contract though - I have way to much respect for the man my son is becoming to really hold it as a contract. Lisa, your responses where funny but thankfully not the responses I got from lil one. :)

    1. I agree. Sounds like a smart way to engage in discussion with a child for whom you clearly have a lot of respect. I'm not surprised the responses were vastly different. You didn't enforce or impose. You discussed. Kudos!

  17. I love this. It is so true that a lot of parents go to this extreme. Thankfully my mom and I have the relationship that is needed to avoid a situation like this. Today technology is an essential part of the classroom. Even in a school that had a "technology ban" (like mine) you will see students with iPods, smart phones, tablets and even non smart phones being used in or out of the classroom as a learning tool.

  18. Here is my opinion on this subject.