By Just Add Kids Founder, Paula Herrmann

A few months back I described my family’s addiction to the family of “i’s” (see “Me. Myself. And i” in JAK Chat). You know, it started with the iPod (mine, daughter #2), then next came the next generation iPod Touch (daughter #1), the “new” iPad (me), then finally the iPhone 4s (that would be mine, again).

With two of my kids’ birthdays in December, Christmas, and another birthday in January, I have lists up the wazoo. Read more

So here’s the deal, being the “seasoned” mom, that I am…may I offer some words of wisdom, as I probably am paving the path before you with an 18, 16, 10, and 9 year old kids.

If you buy your 8, 9, or 10 year kid a iPhone…you WILL run out of things to buy your kids by the time they are teens. I am flabbergasted that my 5th grade daughter has friends/classmates that have iPhones, and perhaps they’ve had them for a couple of years. What, I ask, are you going to get them when they are teens? I know it’s a new world. When I was 10, I was still playing with Barbies. Heck, when I was 13, I was still playing with Barbies (albeit, me and best friend Mari Beth Hintz were “closet players” in our first year of being teens, but we were still young girls).

I am not trying to be judgmental, really. But what is there after the iPhone? I would imagine there is already a computer he/she either has or is available in the household…right? I mean in this day and age, you really need it for school work. What else would there be…a gaming system, like a Wii or Playstation, yes? That was probably purchased a couple of years ago. And of course, they have their handheld device…more than likely a 3DS, because the DS wasn’t enough.

We first got our older two girls a cell phone when my oldest was 11 and #2 was 9. In the summer, they rode their bikes to grandma’s house, picked up their 12 and 9 year old cousins, rode by North Beach in Racine onto the Racine Yacht Club for sailing. I was a working mom who, despite the fact that we had our babysitter at home in charge of them and their two younger sibs, needed to keep track and in communication with them as they ventured a couple of miles and out of protective sight. That to me made sense. It was a little flip open model protected by the cutest fuzzy cow cover. The phone was never to be used to call one’s friends (that’s what the house phone was for)…it was for emergency purposes and to keep in contact with mom (or Dana our babysitter, or Grandma, or Auntie…you get it). At 13 and 15, they each got their own phones. The rule stood, house phone to talk (why rack up the minutes?)…then of course, there came the all too common now texting. I am going to tell you, at this time, finding gifts are not easy. And if I have already filled the phone (and no, I am NOT getting them an iPhone, why? One of the reasons..the $30/month data package) need, what else do they need? You know they will tell me an iPad…it may come, just not yet.

Onto daughter, #3, said 10 year old. That’s all she ever asks me for…an iPhone, an iPhone! “Mom, I want an iPhone for Christmas, puleeez?!” She is relentless.  I ask her why she thinks she needs one…well, of course, all of  her friends have one. “Mom, I am the only 5th grader that doesn’t have a phone. So and so has an iPhone….” Oh, I know, I’ve seen it.  So let’s say I get her an phone, an iPhone, for that matter (which I won’t be doing), what will I get her when she is 11? A car?

I know she’ll be heartbroken when she opens her gifts on Christmas morning. But that’s life. You don’t get, just because you want and because others have. I almost wished she wanted a Barbie. But, you know, “Barbies are for little girls, mom. I’m not a little girl anymore. I’m 10”.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Paula, great article. My daughter got her first cell phone when she was 18 — just this summer! She went through high school without one! My 15-year-old son is now getting his first phone for Christmas, and he is paying for the phone. That was the deal: you want a phone, you pay for it. I am paying for the monthly service as part of a family plan.

    Each family is different and I, too, am not judging. I’m just saying that for some families, it’s possible to go without phones. Now, I will be the first to admit that my children have used their friends’ phones to contact me and that somewhat defeats my argument. But still, my daughter didn’t text for 18 years! And she says she really didn’t care. Her mom, on the other hand, was texting daily!

  2. 2

    […] went against my own campaign of waiting till she “needed” one. I even wrote about it in “i AIN’T BUYING iT: iT’S ON THE LIST” JAK Chat blog back in December of last year.  The fact is, she didn’t need one and now […]

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