Raising my thirteen year old daughter is a lot like opening a bag of peas.
No…I have not blown a gasket and no, I am not playing hockey with a warped puck. Just bear with me and hear me out.
I recently succumbed to months and months of persistent pestering by Molly and got her a Blackberry Curve. I have avoided the idea of getting her one of these devices ever since she was old enough to say the word. I would often say to people, “what does a 13 year old really need with a smart phone?”
Hypocritical? Well…sort of.
But, with proper investigating…and strict limitations on the use for her device (texting, social networking and phone), I was able to get her Blackberry for a little bit less per month then the plain old cell phone that she was using before.
Molly is continuing to go through that delightful period of adolesence where she is seeking more independence but still needs a lot of hand-holding.
This is where my whacked-out analogy comes in. Think about what happens when you open up a bag of frozen peas. Usually, they come spilling uncontrollably out of the package with a couple rolling off the counter and onto the floor or under the stove or into the sink. You always remind yourself that the next time you open the bag, you should pour it with greater control….to rein in the peas so that they go into the bowl.
An adolescent child is exactly the same way. We, as parents, need to control them….to keep them moving in the right direction, at the same time recognizing that with every day they get older the more they will want to gain control of their independence; of their own life path.
Since owning her Blackberry device, Molly has abused its use by being on it for excessive amounts of time. I know it’s a new toy and at some point, the novelty will wear off….but in the meantime, its attached to her like white on rice!
As a result, my wife and I have had to threaten to take the device away from her on a number of occasions and most recently, establish a specific time at which she must shut down the device at night. It took some intense negotiating with Molly, who told us that many of her friends are “socializing” until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning on the weekends. I don’t really care about what other kids are doing and how other parents are setting parameters. In our house, until she is old enough to earn an income or can afford to get a place on her own…there are certain rules that she must live by.
Don’t get me wrong…I hope that my wife and I are lucky enough to not lose a few of the peas under the fridge or down the sink. We know Molly is a good kid…goofy, fun loving, intelligent and would never do anything hurtful or malicious to anyone.
I guess its our job to pour the peas carefully…to make sure that they all go where they are supposed to go. We need to make sure that if some of them land on the floor or behind the oven, that we not lose track of them and make sure that no one accidentally squishes them. Otherwise, they will be left to get dried out, covered in dust-bunnies and go moldy.
Life is clearly not only like a box of chocolates….but also like a bag of peas!