Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Laziest 12 Year Old Around

Those of you that follow along with us will be quite familiar with the laziness that envelopes my 12 year old boy, however I think he's actually reached new heights now.

This is clearly a monumental achievement - even for him.

It's the end of June.  Generally speaking in most areas of Australia that means it's winter - yes?  That means it's cold, really cold.  In fact here in Sydney, it's freeeeeezing.

Most people would wear warm clothes of some description, maybe a jacket, or a jumper, a pair of jeans, who knows.  My child?  Oh no, we wear a pair of shorts and a shirt.  We then stand there shivering and ........wait for it.........ask:

"Mum, can I go sit in the car, it's freezing"


"Yeah, I want to sit in the car - it's warmer in there - I can turn the seat warmer on"

OMG!!!!  His laziness knows no bounds!!!!!

And because I like to monitor my language on my little blog, I won't actually tell you what my reply was :)


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Who Decided Ice Was The Way To Go?

Why ice I ask you?  Why?  Whose brain wave was it to say, hey, when your little one falls over and knocks their head on the floor it's a really good idea to put some ice on it.  Helps the bruising go down and that little lump will look more like a pea than a full shaped orange.

photo credit: Sergiu Bacioiu via photopin cc

No, I don't want all the scientific hoo-ha about how the ice reduces the swelling!!  When I have a screaming 3 year old who has just tripped over his own feet and now has said orange forming on his forehead, I don't want to know all the smart intelligent reasons why ice is the way to go.

Why not chocolate, or a nice warm face-washer.  Hell, even a lego block has gotta be better than ice.

Have you tried telling a screaming toddler that they really need to let mummy put the ice on the bump.

Yes I know it's cold.  No I won't go away.  Yes I know you don't want it.  Yes I know it hurts.  YES I KNOW IT'S COLD, I CAN'T FEEL MY FINGERS!!!!

I know you've all been there.  Pinning down the toddler while he or she kicks and scream like some kind of crazed lunatic while you try and hold them still long enough that the so called miracle ice actually works long enough to have some kind of effect.

Of course by this time the toddler has forgotten all about the fall and is now so obsessed with screaming about the ice he's completely oblivious to the giant bump on his.  OMG - that's it.  Okay, I get it now!!  Deflection.  That's why we go with the ice.

Right, thanks for clearing that up for me. :)  


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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Kids and Social Media, it's just bad news

"Kids and Social Media, it's just bad news".  They were the words uttered by a child psychologist who was speaking at my son's high school a few weeks ago.  You know what, I think it's true.

Problem is, I don't know what to do about it.  I bought my 12 year old a mobile phone for his birthday this year.  It was January, he was starting high school.  His new school is 30min from home (in Sydney traffic).  If he catches the bus it means 2 buses home and he walks in the door at 4.45pm.  Mornings are the same.  It's 2 buses and he leaves home at 7.30am.

I was therefore able to justify to myself the need for a phone.  Some days I pick him up.  Some days this isn't decided until lunch time.  I need to ring or text him to let him know.  What if something happens and he misses his bus and needs to call me.  I was able to come up with a thousand reasons as to why I needed to give him that phone.

The way it worked out, hubby and I were out of contract and upgraded our phones.  Hubby therefore gave Master 12 his old iPhone.  Yes, an iPhone.  Not just a plain old Nokia for making phone calls on, but an iPhone with all the perils that come along with that.

I rang up our mobile phone provider.  "It's fine.  All the kids have them.  You can control what they spend."

I went into a mobile phone shop.   "It's fine.  All the kids have them.  You can control what they spend."

Yes, this statement is true.  I can control what he spends.  We buy a pre-paid each month and he's never once gone over his limit.  Why would he when nearly every plan now comes with unlimited downloads and social media access.

And that is where I went wrong.  I got side-tracked into worrying about the cost of the phone instead of sticking to my instincts and remembering what the phone was for.  It was so he could call his mum and dad if he needed to, and send the odd txt message to his mate.  It was not so he could be introduced to the big bad world of Social Media at the age of 12.

When he first got his phone I found this wonderful article.  It was a US site and it was a mum who had written her own mobile phone contract for her 13 year old son.  The link is at the bottom  if you want to have a read.

It was perfect.  I was the perfect mum.  Here you are son, here is your new phone, aren't I wonderful, aren't you all grown up.  Now read this.  It's very important. Don't do anything you shouldn't be doing.  Be polite, be respectful, don't ring anyone up after 7pm blah blah blah.

Well that's all well and good if you follow it up.  But I didn't.  Oh don't get me wrong.  For the first few weeks I was all, "let me check your phone" or "right, it's 7pm, give me your phone" or "hey, let me see what photos you've taken", but you see then it's February and it's back to the day to day life of a working mum with 3 boys, 1 of which is at primary school and 1 of which is starting high school.  It's making lunches, it's doing home work, it's running to cricket or's life.  

I forgot all about the phone.  Of course I knew it was there.  I rang it every day.  But that's as far as it went.  I forgot to think about in terms of it's connection between a 12 year old boy and the big bad world that's out there.

I stopped checking what he was doing on it.  I'd like to say "I trusted him completely.  I didn't need to check it".  The truth is, I got busy, I got lazy and I just stopped worrying about it.

Here we are 4 months along and he's fully immersed in the world of Instagram and Kik and who knows what else.  Last night I happened to see a photo on his phone out the corner of my eye.  I didn't particularly like what I saw.  It was nothing exceptionally bad, but I didn't like it.  It was one of those "funny pics" that often floats around the world of social media.  I think this one was of a nerdy looking girl in pigtails carrying books with a slogan across the bottom that I won't repeat here.  Needless to say, I wasn't impressed.

I told Master 12 to hand over his phone.  "what, why.  It's just a pic".  After a few arguments, he finally handed over the phone.  There were words like "unacceptable" and "delete this now" that came out of my mouth, and while I was angry and disappointed with him, I was more angry and disappointed with myself for not being a responsible parent.  Isn't that what we are supposed to be, responsible.  Why on earth did I think a 12 year old CHILD would be the responsible one with all the bright shiny objects out their in Social Media world.

I went through his Instagram account, I went through his messages.  I yelled, he lied, I yelled some more.  There were screeches of "how do you know some child molester isn't following you".  I yelled a bit more for effect, he finally admitted that yes he had typed this message, or that message etc etc.  I confiscated the phone with squeals of "that's it.  You're not old enough.  It's gone!!"

And then morning comes around and I'm left thinking what on earth do I do now.  Yes I know it's his fault.  He was told the rules.  He broke them.  But don't I as a parent have to take on some of that blame.  I as a grown adult who knows more then he does, gave him a tool that was going to open him up to a whole other world he had never been exposed to before.  

It's no different to putting a 16 year behind the wheel of a car who's never been taught to drive and saying,okay off you go, here's the keys, have fun.  See you when you get home.

So what do I do now?  How do we help our kids manage in this totally digital age where their entire lives are lived through social media in some form.  I ban him completely and he's cut off from his friends.  I don't want to do that, but I need him to understand the complexities and the pitfalls of playing around on some of these sites.  Sharing pictures they shouldn't be, forwarding messages they shouldn't be.

Maybe it's that word I used earlier, RESPONSIBLE.  I'm the adult, I need to be responsible.  I need to make it a priority to be involved in his life that takes place on his phone.  Just like I have to find time to cook dinner, and take them to school or sport or whatever it is, I need to find time to monitor what he's doing.  I need to be responsible.  It's what being a parent is all about.

How do you deal with social media and your children?  I'd love some help on this one.


Here is the link to the phone contract a US mum gave her son.

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