Parenting Dilemma: The Phone

Nearly every parent in the history of parenting has been, at one time, “the worst parent ever,” according to their children. They may not have told you to your face, (if they haven’t, you’re lucky) but at one point your kids almost certainly hated you.  

I’ve heard this before, a few times, and coming from the humans you love most in the world, those words feel like a punch in the gut. That’s why they say it. My 11-year-old said it to me a few weeks ago. But a few hours later he said, “Mom next time I say that remember I don’t mean it and I only hate you for a few minutes.” YES!! Confirmation it’s not true… for longer than a few minutes. Parenting victory. I know we’ve all been in this boat, so I’m in good company. But I could use your help and some unity on a more recent parenting dilemma: The phone.

The other night after a disagreement (big, huge, awful, loud fight) with my 13-year-old, I told her from now on, every night, her phone becomes my property at 9 p.m. She raged, “That’s so unfair! You’re the worst! I hate you! I want to live with dad! No other parents do that!”  

Really? Do no other parents do that? In fact, now when her phone becomes my property every night, I see Snapchat messages and texts long after midnight, even on school nights!! Crap, I guess no other parents do that. (Maybe I really do suck.)

So I’m begging… parents please join me in the “Worst Parent Ever Club” and own your kid’s phone at 9 p.m. CST. This would help me a lot, because then my kid would stop whining that she’s missing the group convo or that I’m ruining her streaks on Snap.  (By the way, parents, they only need one Snap a day to keep their streaks which can easily be accomplished after school when their homework is done, and before their phone becomes your property.)  

I could really use some support on this. It’s not that I mind sometimes being “the worst parent ever,” I’ve even heard someone say “If they hate you, it means you’re doing this parenting thing right.” But I’d like to save my ‘worst’ status for the really hard stuff. Like saying no when she wants me to bail her loser friend out of jail, or dress coding her even before she leaves the house, or missing curfew, or trying alcohol or any of the other really hard parent stuff that’s just around this teenage bend.  

Let’s keep this phone thing easy, you and I can keep their streaks, and they can study, sleep, and have some quiet time until the morning. Join me!

This week I wish you support in your struggle, strength in numbers, and some rest for your teenager’s brain. 

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