Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 10.05.26 PMWe didn’t have anything to do today so I told my husband to take my son to Toys R Us to spend a gift card he had received for Hanukkah while I spent some quality time with my daughter.  Every now and then, we split up and focus our energies on one child at a time.  She and I had your typical girl’s afternoon: lunch, a haircut and manicures/pedicures filled with conversation and laughter.

It was at the hair dresser that a text came through from my husband:

“He won’t get anything here unless he gets a phone.”

Put a child in a toy store, tell them they can get anything they want and they come out dry?  Heck, when I was a young girl, one set of a grandparents who never spent much time with me and my sisters, took us to a toy store right before closing time and told us we could have anything we wanted, and I felt like I’d won the lottery.  The doll that I chose that night carried me through some very important childhood years and it reminded me of them and their effort to be a part of my life, even only for a few short moments.

But my son?  He is so stubborn and wants a phone so badly at 8 years-old that it’s all he thinks about.  He could have bought a remote-control car, legos, a new soccer ball. And what did he choose? Nothing.  As a matter of fact, he doesn’t want to ever go back to Toys R Us unless we let him get a phone.

Later when we were alone in the car, I asked him why he so desperately needs a phone.  What is the urgency? Who would he call?

“I would call Daddy to find out what time he’s coming home every night.”

So, of course I told him that he can use the house phone to do that.

To which he replied, “I’m getting a phone in 5th grade.”

So, I asked him how old he thinks I was when I got my first cell phone.  I told him I was 28.

Silence.  He was shocked.  I didn’t really need to tell him that cell phones weren’t really invented until I was that old.  I don’t need to feel any older than I do at this stage in life.

So, I took a deep breath and told him how precious life is and how fast childhood goes by.  I told him how nice it is to be able to play basketball on a Saturday and never have any errands.  How nice it is to not have to work or worry about money or have to make sure your family has food on the table and beds to sleep on.  How nice it is to have your whole life in front of you, with the world at your feet, and parents who will do anything to make sure you get as far as you can.

What did he say?

“So, when am I getting that phone?!”

 

Comments

  1. The phone. DD12 went on a three year campaign for one. Not a week went by when she didn’t ask…well, you know, you’re experiencing the same thing. I finally relented in Grade 6. And one day, you will break down too. Plus, it also makes for a great thing to take away too lol!

  2. Our kids are growing up faster than I can process– so like you I am trying to slow it down as often as I can– and staving off that phone question from my 7 year old son for as LONG as I possibly can. WE just spent an hour in the car playing old fashioned word games- and for me– it was time I simply can’t seem to get enough of–*hoping* my son feels the same;)

  3. my kids still don’t get it when i try to explain to them that when i was their age i had to talk on a phone anchored to the wall, and you could only walk as far as the cord reached – there weren’t even cordless phones then, let alone mobile ones.

    my kids are 7 and 9 and no phones for them yet either.

  4. My girls just got them this year at 10 because they have more independence now. But, they got lame-o non-smart phones! I was not signing up for a data plan. They have ipod touches and that seemed to satisfy what they really wanted – the ability to chat and text with friends and check email – of which they get almost none. So, if they’re in wifi they get to do those things, if not, they don’t.
    I think it’s the feeling of having a phone that makes them feel like hot stuff. They rarely use it.

  5. Jessica @peekababy says:

    My 6.5 year old has been asking for a phone as well, because there are kids in his first grade (!) class that have their own phones. As I pick him up to and from school, there is no reason that he will have one in the at all near future. I’m a hold out on all electronics–I have an iPad and an old iPod touch that my kids get to play with sometimes, but he doesn’t have one of his own to access as he chooses. The biggest problem? My kids see how attached their father and I are to our phones and how we always need to have them within arms reach–so when I tell the kiddo he doesn’t need one, I’m sure it sounds suspect. I’m working on disconnecting myself sometimes too, which is probably the lesson that both of us need!

  6. It is a natural part of childhood to want to hurry to the next step. And it is the important work of parenting to put the brakes on that! It’s ok that he wants it, and it’s wonderful that you say no! Keep it up!

  7. It is so funny what kids want these days. I guess everyone seems to have a phone so he wants one too.
    Good luck!

  8. Holly,
    My daughter is only 3 1/2 but judging by how upset she gets when I don’t let her play with my iPhone I can only imagine what I’m in for when she is old enough to ask for a phone of her own. Stay strong mama!
    Estelle

  9. I have 4th grade twins that talked me into getting them phones because they are starting to go out with their friends on bike rides etcc. I think there is lots of pressure for parents – best to wait to give them a phone when there is a good reason and that they are old enough to understand phone and texting etiquette. I draw the line at giving anyone under 13 a data plan. And when any kid has a data plan – they need to really understand online etiquette because they can start using social network and photosharing with data plans (alough they can mms photos with texting plans..).. Tough stuff!!

  10. Oh, Holly, I really feel for you. For whatever it’s worth, I think you handled it absolutely beautifully, and that you definitely have the strength to stick to your principles. I know you will, and even if your principles shift or circumstances change, I know you’ll have a very good reason for that, too. xoxo

  11. I let my 8yo have an iPhone. Granted, it was my old one, but doesn’t matter. Also doesn’t matter that he had a simple phone that he never used and an ipod touch that he used a lot. He wanted an iPhone. Not because of what he’d do with it. Because his friends have them, and he wants to fit in. So I gave in. His big hanukah present cost me nothing. The best part is that I have not even activated it yet. He hasn’t even noticed. He’s too busy playing with all his other stuff. As he should be I decided to lose that battle and win the war… for now. I know in a year or two that phone won’t lay around forgotten. My boy is stubborn too. He wasn’t going to let himself (or us) enjoy anything till he got it. Glad I had a spare!

    • Well, if you want to get practical, my daughter has my old smashed iPhone but we never activated it either so I don’t really count that. She just uses it to play on.