Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Technology and Parenting

You may have noticed that an awful lot of blogs lately are about Sicily’s technology getting taken away.

The phone.

The tablet.

The phone and the tablet.

The phone.

Ad infinitum.

It isn’t necessarily that I don’t trust her. I am not 100% trusting, as she is a teenager, and I have seen too many parents in my teaching career that fall into the no-not-my-child-oh-shit-they-did-WHAT? category to relax totally. Plus, she has done some things that are Against the Rules As Clearly Stated and we don’t have a ton of rules around here and she has a lot of freedom so just follow the rules we have, m’kay?

But I digress.

I have been thinking a lot about how angry I get when I find her again doing something she is not supposed to do. I say that it is for her safety and protection that we have these rules about no computers in the bedrooms (yes, honey, an iPhone is a computer) and no locks on phones and spontaneous social media checks (like, whenever I feel like it or see her phone lying around or whenever. I pay for it, she’s 13, and there is no privacy like that. Sorry.). And it is.

But guess what? It’s not all about that. I have realized.

On the lighter side, it’s about me not wanting her to be a passive consumer of stuff I think is dumb because I am not a 13-almost-14-year-old-who-thinks-she’s-19 and I don’t love make-up tutorials and stupid YouTube and Vine videos (although I am a SUCKER for the cat in the shark costume on the Roomba).  I want her to produce something because she is beautiful and brilliant and talented and her brain is liquefying in her skull as she stares at her screen.


It’s about loss of control. Mine.
It’s about loss of innocence. Hers.

It’s about letting go. Me and her.

It’s giving her the autonomy that she is craving. Enough rope to hang herself. And being worried about what if it’s too much rope, and what if I am not there to cut her down?

It’s about allowing her to make mistakes and to fail when the stakes are still manageable.

It’s about giving her the gift of failure. Seriously. It is a gift. Because if you can’t let your kids fall down and then support them as they pick themselves up and then hand them a first-aid kit you are denying them a priceless opportunity to find out who they really are.

It’s fear. It’s fear. It’s fear.

Feeling anger is easier than fear.

And it’s just the beginning. And I am making these choices solo. And letting her make her own choices, too. Which means, at times, her choosing to leave me out of it.

But she is not grown, and she doesn’t know it all even when she thinks she does. But I do want her to learn to know it all.

Lonely-making. Crazy-making.

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