IMI’s Great Families curriculum includes many tools to help the next generation learn how to balance privilege and responsibility. This iPhone contract,
offered up on the Huffington Post, is another great tool I’m happy to share here.
And once you read it, if you think, “DARN! I wish I’d done that,” don’t worry. It’s never too late to make the connection between privilege and responsibility. If your tween or teen already has a phone, and you haven’t established a working agreement about how it can be used, just reboot. Here’s how:
You: How are you enjoying your new phone?
Them: It’s GREAT Mom, thanks!
You: So glad you’re enjoying it–were we happy to loan it to you.
Them: Loan? You said it was mine!
You: Oh honey, of course it’s yours on loan, but the phone is a serious responsibility, one we felt you were mature enough to handle well. In fact, it’s such an important responsibility that it comes with its own contract. Now that you’ve had some time to practice with the phone and think about how you want to use it, I’d like to take time to review the contract with you.
Them: Contract! What do you mean?
You: Well, when we signed up for the phone service we received a contract that makes clear what our rights and responsibilities are. It’s just a normal part of growing up–learning how to handle the responsibility of the new phone. You may have some suggestions about the contract, so let’s go over the terms now.
Them: Grumble, grumble…
You may encounter resistance–think how you feel when YOU have to sign a contract. But don’t let teenage grumbling bully you into missing a prime opportunity to restate a family value: the greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility. And remember, this is practice for many aspects of their lives: first car responsibilities; independent travel; trust distributions, etc. Let them know that each rite of passage is exciting, important, and comes with new responsibilities.
Life: it’s a work in progress!