In an effort to make my teenage daughter hate me (because really, what other motive could I have?). I gave Jane two options regarding her cell phone at night.
Option 1: She can leave her cell phone plugged in downstairs
Option 2: I can add back parental controls and after 10pm she will only be able to call or text me, her grandparents and 9-1-1.
There is no option 3.
We had tears and threats. I wasn’t spoken to for two solid hours. If you’ve ever met Jane you’d know how meaningful silence is. This is a child who needs to communicate to feel alive.
“It’s my phone.” She wailed, “You treat me like a child. No one else’s parents do this.”
And I was horrified. “They don’t? Well they should.”
I went on to explain to her that there were two scenarios (two is my favorite number in this discussion). The scenarios are as follows:
Scenario 1: The other kids do have to give up their cell phones at night but don’t want to talk about it because they’re embarassed.
Scenario 2: The other kids’ parents are making a mistake.
There is no scenario 3.
With a not fully developed frontal lobe teens are notoriously poor decision makers. Add a little sleepiness to the mix and there’s just no good reason to allow a cell phone into the bedroom at night. There’s the obvious nudity issue, but there’s also something a little less terrifying that leaves a big mark on their lives. Sleeplessness.
Adults who sleep with the phone by the bed suffer from sleep deprivation. Our kids hardly get enough time to sleep with school starting so early in the morning, why give up an extra hour (or more) at night?
Jane doesn’t seem to know yet that I’m chaperoning her volleyball team for five days in June. I’ve already let some of the parents know that my plan is to have all the cell phones in the adult room at night. I’m pretty sure it’ll go over like a lead balloon but unless someone else wants to take up the chaperoning baton it’s my rules.
I can’t wait to have a dozen 13 year old girls not speaking to me. I can almost imagine the silence.