0:00:02 – Speaker 1
Welcome to the nextTalk podcast, where we share real stories and practical advice for parenting the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
We’re your hosts, Mandy and Kim. Mandy is an award-winning author and the founder of nextTalk, and I’m the director of nextTalk, a nonprofit organization created to strengthen families through open communication. You can check out all of our resources at nextTalk.org.
0:00:24 – Speaker 1
We’re your wives, moms and friends, tackling culturally relevant topics from a Christian perspective. We’re sharing what we’ve learned and where we’ve failed. We’re so glad you’re here for this conversation. So I got asked a question at an event and I think it’s a good one for our show Kim, should I wait until this certain age to give a phone? And you can kind of say this anyway Should I wait to a certain age to give social media? Should I wait for a certain age to give a phone? Like, how do you feel about that? That was the question posed to me And I have so many thoughts on this. I have so many thoughts.
0:01:01 – Speaker 2
Yes, you know, i remember you and I even talking about this, a mom who I just adore approached me about this kind of idea of waiting until a certain age, and I also have many thoughts on this, good and bad, just different perspectives to take into consideration.
0:01:20 – Speaker 1
So, so let’s dive into this. I want to dive right into this. We got busy parents all over the place and they’re like okay, here’s the question. What’s the answer? The first thing I want to say is I love the intention behind this. I love it because we are giving kids phones and social media too early, before they’re ready for it. So I love the intention of the mission behind the statements. You know, wait until this certain age or whatever. I’m all on board with it. I also think, though, we have to really hone in and think about what it does to the relationship under different situations, Because here’s the thing Not everything’s black and white. Not every kid is ready at the same age for a phone or ready at the same age for social media.
So, you know, these statements are great, And I agree We need to delay, delay, delay, Like we should not be giving kids phones and social media before they’re ready. But let me just put this situation out there for you. What if you’re hard-nosed and you’re saying I’m not giving my kid a phone till this date, right till this age? But what if your kid is super responsible, They’ve earned it. They’re telling you what’s happening in their friend group. You know they’re using your phone to group text and when anybody steps out of line they’re telling you before you see it, Like they’re doing.
Your kid is doing all the right things and maybe they’re playing a club sport where they’re traveling a little bit with their team and you’re not always with them. They know they’re on a bus And so there is kind of a need to stay in touch with your kid, but you’re going to say no, not until you’ve reached this age. No, To me that’s going to hurt the relationship, because then it’s like your kid is learning I just have to turn this age instead of I have to be trustworthy, And that’s where I really the rub for me is I kind of like cringe a little bit. I mean, I have more thoughts, but that’s my original, like how I answered it at the event.
0:03:22 – Speaker 2
Well, i agree, i agree with this mom that said it’s you know, there’s some catchy statements out there and it creates that tone of delay, which is what you’re saying. And I agree with two delay, delay, delay. We don’t want to. I mean, i’m looking around at parents who are giving their kids phones in second and third grade now And I just feel like that kind of access is scary to me at that age. And so it’s a huge conversation. And I think to me that’s the biggest thing.
When we create a rule and the rule is just a rule because it sounds good or we like it, or it makes us feel safe We miss out on all the life lessons and the conversations that can replace a rule. And so, for me, i have three different kids. It’s like they’re from three different planets. They mature in different areas, at different levels, at different time frames. And if I created a rule for all three of them which, as you know, it’s important to be fair and transparent in your parenting when you have multiple kids If I created this rule and said okay, you know, we’re not getting a phone until this age, or we’re not dating until this age, or we’re not doing this thing until this age.
Here’s what I think would happen. First of all, we’d miss out on the conversations of here’s how you earn this thing and the life lessons that would come with that. That would affect so many areas of their life, which is what you said. And One of my kids might be ready at that time and another may not. And then what am I gonna do? I said this is the age That puts me in the position of creating this rule and then backpedaling away from it, which I don’t want to be in that position as a parent either.
Yes, things change. Yes, we have to adjust and sometimes go with the flow, but on big things like that, especially Kids, i mean wanting their first phone. It’s a huge thing. It’s like for us wanting our first car, because it means freedom and they look forward to that, it means access to things outside of mom and dad, and it’s huge. And they would be counting down the days. And then if I said, well, your brother was ready, but you’re not, oh My gosh, you’re right It would totally damage the relationship. So I feel like there’s a lot of factors there and considering giving your kid a phone.
0:05:35 – Speaker 1
Well, i mean, yeah, you know, i say all the time Your kid has to earn the phone, your kid has to earn social media And, and you need to specify what earn means for you. You know, for us in our home It was when things are happening in the locker room or at sleepovers, or when at phones or not. If there’s something that’s new and different happening, words or philosophies being exchanged, or bullying, or, you know, any kind of violence or or any language that you’re like I don’t know if this is okay all of those things have to be communicated to me. And Once you start doing that, basically you’re telling me what’s going on in your world, with your friend group, on the bus, at the Lunch table. Once you start doing that, you’re proving to me that you can have all this information But that you have a safe place to process it with, which is, you know, our family, mom and dad kind of thing.
So I do tend to agree that maybe now, if you do a both-and-I love both-and-so. If you do, i’m gonna wait until this age and These are the things you have to demonstrate to me. Maybe that would work. I would be way more on board with it, but I think it’s the same thing in my mind as monitoring software. It’s the same concept. So many times we’ll download a program and pay $9.99 a month and then we’ll take the hands off the wheel and we won’t do anything else. Now, if you do the monitoring and the conversations and expectations, that’s beautiful. But I think in our human nature we get into these, we’ll wait until this grade or we’re going to do this, and then we don’t really engage in the hard conversations where the life lessons happen in life, and that’s what I don’t want us to miss out on here.
0:07:29 – Speaker 2
Yeah, I think we’re definitely on the same page with this one, that it is a conversation about expectations. It’s building that relationship with your kid, which I think is one of the best parts of this. When you’re laying out all these guidelines and preparing them for this huge step, like a phone, like driving, like dating, all of those things. if you have those conversations where you’re laying out all these things, it creates more conversation. Here’s where you’re struggling, Here’s where I’m struggling. How can we change that? What can we do differently? I think it sets up an environment for a closer relationship. when it’s not a deadline but a conversation. It’s an expectation of we’re going to grow in this together until you’re ready for this thing, And I love that idea because I think that will help them in their relationships when they get older. I think it just gives them a template for life.
0:08:23 – Speaker 1
I think you’re right And there’s something about this character building that happens when they know they’ve earned it. I mean, i remember the look on my kid’s faces when I said you’ve earned Instagram or you’ve earned this privilege, and it was like I’ve done all the right things. You know. It’s that building up of our kids and saying to them this is the behavior. What you’re doing is good. I want more of this. Yes, it’s like that positive, such a simple concept, right, that positive reinforcement. But if we don’t have that, then we miss all of that And it’s just OK. 13th birthday check, you get this Again. If you do the both end, i think it’s great.
One of the things, too, that I think you need to be really careful of, and I think this is the intention behind that wait until the whatever is. We don’t want parents falling into peer pressure, and I do see that And I do see the heart behind those movements And I’m 100% on board with all of those. So I totally in agreement with that. Parents, you cannot just give your kid a phone, because everybody has a phone And your kid is not ready. Your kid is not ready.
Now, if your kid is older and they’re not ready, you do have to realize that a lot of their peers are talking through DM, direct messaging or through social media. They’re communicating more on that. There is a reality that you have to understand. That doesn’t mean that you have to fall to peer pressure and get your kid a phone, but you do, i think, have to be very sympathetic to your kid Because if they’re older and they’re not ready, they’ve been lying to you, they’ve been sneaky and you’re trying to break out of all these bad habits before you take this next step. I mean again, that’s a life lesson and a lot of conversations in there, because they need to know what do I need to do to earn this privilege? and you need to communicate that to them.
0:10:22 – Speaker 2
I’m so glad you said that about being sympathetic. That is something i’ve noticed as my kids have gotten older. It’s so easy for parents, myself included to be like well, because that’s what’s best for you and this makes sense and we’re gonna do this because i said so. It’s so much easier to do that. But what i put myself in their shoes and i really understand what they’re going through in their culture and their Community and we know that they’re digital natives. We know that. We know this is their world, this is where they do everything.
When i put myself in their place and i think about when i was a kid and i felt left out, what that felt like and i can say that to them. Hey, i know this isn’t feel good, this is Not something that’s easy. I’m not trying to say that. What i am trying to say is my job to guide and protect you, and here are some things and some reasons why we’re making this decision. But i want to work with you on moving towards this goal that you have. It just changes the whole relationship in the whole conversation, because they understand the why behind the decision. They feel like, okay, mom really does see me, she’s not just flippantly making this decision because it works for her or she’s scared, she’s seeing me and she wants to help me get to this place. I want to be, and there’s, you know, very few things that can draw you closer to your kid than that kind of a conversation, and so i think that’s really wise. What you said about being empathetic or sympathetic with our kids it’s just really important.
0:11:43 – Speaker 1
You need to hear them, you need to listen to them. That doesn’t mean we’re gonna fall peer, you know, fall to peer pressure and say, okay, i’m gonna give in, you made your case, but they need to be heard and that’s. That’s like a respect thing. I mean, they’re a human being. You would hear your husband out if he wanted to sell the house and buy an rv and move across the country. Even though you didn’t want to, you would hear him out. You would hear him out, right.
And then you like Talk about the pros and cons, and then this is the same kind of thing like give your kids that kind of respect. And i’ve even seen them respect me more because i’m giving them respect, you know, and i don’t have to demand it or say i’m the parent, you’re gonna respect me or call me, yes, ma’am, or what. I don’t have to do any of that. I hear you, i understand. I can see why you feel left out, but do you remember when you lied to me about this and this? like these things are showing me that you’re not ready and i have to be able to trust you. This is a big step, you know. It’s like that kind of conversation that needs to happen from this, and by just saying wait until this age, i’m afraid we’re gonna miss all that.
0:12:50 – Speaker 2
And that’s really the bottom line is we don’t want you to miss out on the conversation, the life building skills, the opportunity for your kid to feel like i worked really hard and this was my reward and to make that connection of action and The character building. Be able to do all of that and to see the fruit of that. That’s such a good thing for our kids and on the parent side, something that i’ve really realized, especially with my More analytical kid, is they need a clear path, and so, when it comes to things that are important to them, this is not one of those areas. If you decide not to pick a date or age but to kind of walk through it like we’re explaining, give them a really clear path. It can’t be wishy washy, like we’ll see when you get there.
That is not what we’re talking about. We’re saying these are the things that we’re looking for in you. When we see those things, those character traits and those actions over and over again, that’s when it will be the appropriate time and be detailed. Give them examples. Make sure you’re checking in with them, telling them when they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That clear path is so important.
0:14:01 – Speaker 1
It’s not a black and white here. You know these wait until whatever age. They’re good, i see the intention behind it, the art is good, but just like the monitoring software, that is great, you know, restrictions are good, parental controls are good, but it’s not the solution. You can’t do that and take your hands off the wheel and then miss all this other stuff, and so that’s kind of what we wanted you to see with this show and that’s why we thought it was important to tackle it.
And man, this mom that asked this question at the event, she was spot on. This was a great question. I’m glad she brought it to us, and if you have a question and you’re like I want to send it in, go to our website, nexttoporg, click on parent support, go to podcast and fill out that form. Send us your question. That comes right to Kim and I and we will dig in and either email you back or maybe even do a show by your question. Thank you so much for joining us, listening and sharing our podcast. Because of you, this show is in the top 5% of over 2.9 million podcasts.
0:15:06 – Speaker 2
We have lots of resources for you, from counseling to live events. Or if you have a show idea or a question for our team, visit our website at nexttoporg. We’d love to hear from you.
0:15:17 – Speaker 1
At Next Top, we’re more than cyber parenting It’s conversations to connect. This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional, or to diagnose, treat or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
Transcribed by https://podium.page