Giving Your Child The Handphone
There will come a time in your life as a parent when your child asks for a phone. Some parents willingly oblige, others resist for a while before eventually giving in, while the rest view the device as their arch nemesis.
Children, on the other hand, all behave the same – they will never give up on asking for one. For them, getting a phone is a rite of passage.
Parents therefore play an important role in preparing their children for the new responsibility to ensure that the phone adds value to their lives, rather than create distractions. How should you deal with your child’s demands for a phone?
- Deciding when to give the phone differs for every householdIn primary school, some children are ferried to and fro school, whereas others have to travel by themselves. For the latter group, a phone may be necessary. It is wise to withhold the smartphone and its complex functions until the child is more mature and ready to handle it. Until then, a basic phone with call and text functions is sufficient.
- Regulate your child’s use of the phone, particularly at the startIf you fear that your child will spend too much time texting friends unnecessarily, put the phone on a prepaid calling card plan that limits the number of texts or calls that can be sent in a certain period. For smartphones, you can consider investing in parental control softwares (e.g. Norton Family Premier) or adjusting the phone settings.
- Set rulesIt is important to be firm and assertive with your child. There will be conflicts and tantrums, but always remember that you are the one paying the bills and therefore in charge. The common advice would be to list down rules and get the child to acknowledge and agree to them. You can expect your child to break almost all of those rules – which is when you need to discipline and guide them back to what they agreed upon.
- Keep the conversation goingTalking it out and having reasoned discussions with your child will enable both parties to understand the other’s point of view, as well as strengthen the parent-child relationship over time.