Nearly a month ago, my teens were stripped of their cell phones, iTouch, and laptops. We won’t go into the gory details of what prompted the punishment because truthfully it doesn’t matter. You have to trust me that as the adult in the family, we made the right decision here.
What has taken place since the stripping of technology has me very perplexed.
This week I heard Son #2 say that he was grounded.
That is not true.
We did not ground either of the boys.
We took their cell phones, iTouch(s) and laptops. We left them access to the land line home telephone, the family computer stationed in the living room for all to use as well as their Facebooks. They were never told that they could not leave the house.
So this week is Spring Break for my two teenagers. They are off of school – laying around the house complaining that they are grounded.
I find this thought process disturbing. Do teens really feel like they are GROUNDED to their homes without the use of their cell phones? If so – this is really very sad and EVERY single parent of a child with a cell phone should be alarmed by this connection.
If this statement is true, that is saying that all teens without a cell phone are on the outside – left out – loners – ostracized by their peers. Wow. That is depressing. Who the heck wants to live their teenage years like that? That being said, I am not returning those technological devices to my children until it is the conclusion of their punishment. I won’t be manipulated by this generation’s bizarre communication boundaries.
My son’s inform me that they are unable to use the “land line” because it is embarrassing. Embarrassing? Gosh. Heaven forbid you call from your parents phone – yea that right there is a reason to be heckled. When I pressed the issue further they responded. “Mom, I CAN’T call anyone – I don’t know their cell phone numbers. They are all in my phone and YOU have it. I don’t know people’s numbers I just use their NAME on my phone.”
Me: (Thinking) Hmm. So you don’t even know their numbers? Well, I guess you don’t have to if the phone remembers it for you. But now you don’t have a cell phone. You are in a bit of a quandary. Want to know what my best friend’s phone numbers were when I was a kid? I still remember them! Oh yeah – that’s because I didn’t have a cell phone.
So then I tell them – you can just look up their home phones and call them. You would think that I just told them to strip down buck naked and run across their front yard. That apparently is a completely mortifying concept.
So then I suggest – get on facebook and chat, send them an inbox – find out what everyone is doing.
The explosion occurs: “MOM! Why do you have to be like this? You don’t understand – this is TOTALLY unfair. It’s my Spring Break and I’m stuck here. I’d rather be in school!”
Me: (Thinking) (Notice I have to think a lot because if I actually said what I thought – it could completely send them over the edge and we know what the Bible says about parents exasperating their children. But make no mistake there are days I am soooooo tempted.) So somehow taking cell phones equates to being grounded and completely on the outskirts of any normal social life in the world of teenagers.
Is this healthy? This is terrible and I am appalled. I am especially drained from the constant bickering and the fact that they relentlessly follow me and nag to have the cell phones returned. A weaker parent might cave and give it back just to have some silence. Because let’s be really honest here – that is all we parents are truly interested in – the SILENCE. Peace. Just peace.
But I can’t. I can’t return the devices until the lesson has been learned and as of this moment – we are far from completing the first exercise, yet alone learning the lesson. So I get to continue on. Forging ahead. Listening to the arguments and being relentlessly accused of grounding my children over Spring Break.
But here’s the thing…
Today’s teens have created quite a secret social world for themselves, haven’t they? They only interact when they have their own personal devices with which to communicate and when those are taken there is seclusion and solitary confinement. They would rather shun each other than pick up a home phone and call another home phone number. Why is that? What is the big secret? What is it that they don’t want parents involved in? They are going out of their way to segregate themselves from adult interaction or supervision of these devices, aren’t they? And these devices weigh so heavily in their lives that there is NO social interaction without them. That is a pretty drastic way of life.
But think about it…
Who is paying for those cell phones? Who buys them? Who pays the monthly bill? Who pays for the service? Oh. Hmm. That would be the parents, right? So seems to me that we the parents are the ones to blame for this secret little underworld that our teens are either thriving in or desperately riding the outskirts of.
So as angry as I am about the fact that Spring Break is a living hell for me this week –
Ultimately it is my own fault.
Lesson learned for Mom.