My teenage daughter does not move without her phone in her hand. She is on her device incessantly. She looks at it the second she wakes up. In actual fact, I don’t think she’s even awake, but it’s the first thing she grabs.
She stares at it while she’s on the toilet, while she’s making breakfast, and the whole time she’s on the bus to school. I can only assume that her teachers make her put the phone down in class, but I’m not there.
When she comes home from school, she flops on the couch – with her phone in hand! The only time she is not looking at her phone is when she is in the shower, or sitting at the dinner table with me.
I know this isn’t healthy but what can I do? Every single one of her friends is the same! I’ve spoken to their parents. We’re all perplexed and feel like we have no control over the situation.
My answer strongly depends on how old your daughter is, where she stands in the lineup of your children, and how long she has had a phone.
If she’s your eldest, you have to make decisions that will affect your younger children. Meaning, whatever you allow her to do, you’ll “have to” allow your other children to do too. If you’re just coming at this now and she’s finishing high school, well, unfortunately I think it’s too late to implement change. But if she’s only 13 or 14, not yet in high school, then you have full control.
You can implement rules, such as, no phones in the morning before you leave for school; phones charge at a special location, not in your room, overnight, and need to be there 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime; no phones at the table; no phones in the washroom (bacteria heaven!). These are just my top five phone rules, but there are many variations that could work for you and your family.
You’re the parent, she’s the child. Take control.
My wife is driving me crazy! She has been a stay-at-home mom ever since our two children were born. In January, she decided the younger one was settled enough in school that she could go back to the workforce. Unfortunately, it took her about three months to find a job that suited both her interest and her need to be available in the mornings and after school.
We have had about a month with her going to work. The second income is definitely helpful, and I think generally she is happy to have something to focus on other than laundry and playdates.
The problem is that she is still trying to manage and control everything that goes on around the house. Yesterday she yelled at me for throwing out some bread that was old and going mouldy. She questioned whether the bread had actually been mouldy, and my reasons for throwing it in the garbage (same thing).
Last week, one of my daughters needed her dance leotard washed for an upcoming recital. I noticed it hadn’t yet been done the day before, so I threw it in the wash. I read the label and still washed it on delicate, just to be safe. It came out perfectly. But my wife ripped a strip off me when she found out.
What’s going on here?
Working Wife vs. Helpful Husband
Your wife is feeling guilty. It’s unfortunately very normal. I’m guessing she feels guilty that she’s not home doing all the mom/wife things even though no one is upset about it.
Understand it’s about her, not you. Show her compassion.
FEEDBACK Regarding the 24-year-old returning to university (May 3):
Reader – “After finishing Grade 13, I made the unwise decision to enter the working world. By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I realized that I wanted a university education. Due to familial responsibilities in the 1980s, I was not able to fulfill my dream.
“I am now 72 and in my first year of my B.A. Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of both positive reactions and one very hurtful negative comment.
“To that 24-year-old who may think that ‘it's too late’ to start over, I say GO FOR IT! If it's something that is truly important and meaningful to you, you will find a way. It has been my experience that professors and students are very supportive. If you ever feel overwhelmed and think that your goal is too difficult to attain, always keep in mind how great you'll look in that cap and gown!”