Responsibilities – When Is the Time to Add Some?

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When’s the Time to Add Responsibilities?

Responsibilities Add Them

We celebrated a milestone in our family over the weekend and were ready to give new responsibilities. My baby turned 10 years old. With the celebrations, came a few heart to heart discussions and just as all moms’ heart strings are pulled on our child’s birthday, mine were too. As I put him to bed the night before, I told him that at this moment, 10 years ago, we were anxiously awaiting his arrival. And, when he was finally born, at 3:26 am, it was the most amazing moment of my life. I shared with him that he has blessed our family and has made our last ten years amazing, and we loved him with all our hearts. As I kissed him good night, I saw a tear roll down his cheek, just as they were rolling down mine. He’s amazing. He’s loving. And he’s responsible. I think.

Ready for High Tech Responsibilities?

Before his 10th birthday, I had noticed that several of his friends were toting around iPods, cell phones and MP3 Players. My husband and I had talked with friends and family who had children who had these expensive devices and were really trying to decide when the right time would be for us to add these responsibilities. We had heard about him wanting one for the last year, but I was sure that he was not ready for that responsibility. OR maybe I wasn’t ready. But we did feel that this was a golden opportunity for us, as well as him. How, though, would I know that he wouldn’t leave it laying around (like the hoards of Lego’s he’s had to have too!), lost it for weeks on end, like his wallet, or would be completely zoned out playing the numerous games, listening to the music or just messing around on it. How could we get this to work to our advantage here? This is how.

It Was Time to Add Some

iPhone ResponsibilitiesAfter all of the hoopla of gift opening was done, my husband and I pulled him aside for a heart to heart conversation. We talked about how with becoming ten years old, it was time to make some changes from “child” to “pre-teen” (he seemed to really respond to that word!). We talked about how now it was time for him to be more conscience regarding many responsibilities, like keeping his room more clean and organized (only “children” have messy rooms like he had),  helping around the house, and being kind to his younger brother.  And that’s when we pulled out the “Carrot on the String;” the iPhone 3G (this is our old one, as we have newer phones). This is not functioning as a phone at this point, because if we did set it up, it would add $70 to our monthly bill and we were not quite ready to do that. He’s too young to be sitting on the phone chatting with his friends. (He can, however, call 911 Emergency Services if ever needed).

With iPhone Responsibilities, Came the “Contract”
  • iPhone must go on charger every night.
  • If you slack with your responsibilities (room, chores around the house, talking back or not being nice to your brother ) the iPhone goes back to Mom.
  • If your grades go any lower than what they are now (All E’s and A’s), because of you focusing too much time on the iPhone , it goes back to Mom.
  • We must approve ALL apps you download and you may not purchase anything without our approval.
  • Any movies watched on Netflix need to be approved.
  • No Facebook. No Twitter. If you want to look on YouTube, make sure you are looking at things that we would approve of. IF you come upon something that you do not think is appropriate, tell Mom or Dad immediately. You will not get in trouble for that, unless we find out you are watching something you should not be.
  • iPhone needs to be handed over to Mom or Dad before you leave for school. It will not ever be taken on the bus or to school for any reason.
  • Your brother can play games on it whenever Mom or Dad say so.
  • You must know where it iPhone is at all times. If you lose it or cannot find it, it is gone for a week after it IS found.
  • If the iPhone gets damaged or broken, you will be responsible for repair or replacement.
  • You may buy a new case for it with your own money.
  • Bottom line, take care of it, and be responsible. Enjoy it and have fun! We love you!

He signed and dated this contract, pinned it on his bulletin board (to always be reminded) and we handed the iPhone over. Is he ready for these responsibilities? We shall soon see.
You are the only one who knows if your child is ready for this type of responsibility. I am really hoping that this new world for him will bring many changes that will benefit him as he gets older, with one of the main lessons learned….we trust him.

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