There are so many things I have to figure out about parenting a teenager. Primarily, I have to figure out how to give him enough space to grow, but not enough that he'll do damage.
We're super lucky, because the teenager didn't ask for a phone until he was 14. But once he decided he wanted one, he did NOT let up. So today, after a month of nagging, I took him to get one. He's thrilled.
He said that all of his friends have phones and they all have internet access on it (say WHAT?!). So I told him his friends must have really nice, and wealthy parents. Then I asked if any of them have to pay for their phones. He said no, most of them are a reward for good grades. I told him it's too bad he's such a crappy student (he finished eighth grade with a 3.7 GPA). *sigh* What to do? Here's what we came up with.
He signed this before taking possession of his phone:
I, The Teenager, understand that the phone I have received does not belong to me, but is on loan from Dad and Leanne. I can use it for my personal use so long as I follow these rules:
I agree to leave it on top of the fridge when I go to bed (or 11:00 p.m., whichever comes first), and I will retrieve it when I'm up for the day.
I agree that any of my parents can read my text messages at any time.
I agree that if any one of my parents asks me for my phone, I must relinquish it immediately, not after I 'clean it up.'
If any of my parents call or text me, I agree to respond within five minutes, unless I am at school or a participating in a school-related activity.
I agree that any of my parents can take my phone away for any reason, at any time, as they see fit.
I agree to pay Dad and Leanne $10/month in cash, chores, or babysitting. If I don't meet that financial requirement, I will forfeit my phone until that amount is met.
I recognize that this phone is for my personal use, but I will not use it inappropriately. I will not use bad language, hurt another person, use inflammatory or derogatory language, or take inappropriate photos. If I do these things, I risk losing my phone permanently.
I understand that my parents trust me, and will continue to do so until I give them a reason not to.
Signed by the teenager, July 3, 2011.
I gave a copy to his mom and patted myself on the back. Nothing like making a contractual agreement with a 14-year-old. I should have had it notarized. Let the nagging cease.
Editing to add this link to another mom's post that I love that includes her contract. For future reference. :)