Yes, I have hit that age where noticeably my children are growing up in a world different than I did. My oldest daughter, Franchessca, “the rule follower” is 12 and sometimes seems like she is going on 18. I already have my hands full with Victoria, so it seems more apparent when Franchesscca gets in trouble.
Over the last few weeks, I have noticed a rising amount of attitude and finally on Wednesday she got in trouble. I took away her phone as well as she was not allowed to go to the Football Game. She said “that’s fine.” I needed clarity on if it was “fine” because she was mad or it was “fine” because she didn’t care. If she didn’t care I would need to find something she did care about.
We had a fabulous family trip to New York and she didn’t even appear to miss her phone. We returned, and she didn’t ask when she would get it back (maybe because I said never as her punishment). It has been kind of challenging because we don’t have a way to call/text each other but I keep reminding myself we didn’t have phones and we survived. She has been calling from School as well as her friends phones to tell me where she is and what she needs.
Tonight, when she went to bed she asked if I could talk to her. I sat next to her on her bed and she asked when she could have her phone back. I paused and said I am OK with giving it back soon, however, I am going to take all of the apps off the phone and only have the availability to call or text. She immediately was mad.
I took her down memory lane with me explaining how we grew up. This wasn’t a “we walked to school up hill both ways moment.” But I said imagine for a moment: the only influence you have is the friends at school, your sports friends, our friends kids, etc but everyone the same age. Now imagine all of those friends only had the same influence. Then I asked, do you think you would be exposed to all of the things you have been? She said no. I said without the internet, tik tok, snap chat, etc do you think that you would know or have seen the things you have seen? She said no. I explained: you are trying to be older than you are, you can’t wait to grow up and what you don’t realize is you are a child. You will turn 16, you will get your license and probably a car, you will graduate high school and then college. But right now you are 12. You need to spend your energy being 12, not 18.
She appeared to understand and not push back but then said “so what is the problem with me seeing or being influenced by those things? I came up with the best analogy (literally out of my hat).
“So if I drive down the street and I hit someone or something, that would be terrible. But if I have a glass of wine (still legal) and drive down the road and hit someone or something, I will be in really big trouble. Like life changing trouble.” She noted that I don’t drink. I said “right but if I did, I would never drive. Why? Because it’s not worth it. It’s not worth the risk. It’s not worth ruining your life over. One small mistake could have a really big impact on the rest of your life.” Social media is similar. Why risk it? Why subject yourself to those influences at such a young age? Why put yourself in those positions of pressure or stress. Spend your excess enjoying your life today. She kissed me and said goodnight.