Last week I was making my regular Facebook rounds. Stalking old friends and handing out potty training advice like it was candy in my Mommy groups. No matter where I was in the Facebook vortex one particular article kept showing up. It was the “Wait Until 8th” pledge.
Most of the pledges that I signed when I was in and around the 8th grade had to do with waiting to give away my “flower” to someone until after he puts a ring on it. This particular pledge is different though and a little less creepy. A group of Moms got together and decided that parents should wait until their children reach 8th grade (and even beyond) before allowing them a smartphone. They are encouraging all parents and schools to take the same pledge for their tweens. The pledge moms have a pretty extensive list as to why they think you should wait. Most notably is that they simply feel that until a child has reached 8th grade he or she really doesn’t have the maturity level to handle the responsibility that comes with a smartphone and the ability to navigate social media. And I am sure there are a lot of kids that can’t handle that. But there are also a fair number of kids who can.
But the thing that really bothered me about this? It wasn’t that these parents seem to be completely ignoring the mature kids or even the apps that can help them monitor the content, time spent on the phone and even their child’s text messages. No, it was the fact they’ve completely ignored my ability to be able to determine what is right for my own children.
There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reading another essay about the dangers of mom shaming and judgment. Even yogurt companies are now getting in on the “no shaming” movement. But even with all of this we still find ourselves pulled like a moth to the flame or Kylie Jenner to her plastic surgeon’s office.
We either haven’t figured out or refuse to acknowledge that parenting is not a pair of LuLaRoe leggings where one size will fit everyone. There is going to be some bunching, tugging and possibly a little bit of camel toe. We learned that in our newborn days, right? For one family the extra work of cloth diapers was worth the savings, but for the family next door their time was their money so cloth diapers weren’t the answer for them.
We battle back and forth between breast or bottle, ultimately determining that fed really is best. So how come we are forgetting this when our children become older? Is it because we want to rally as many parents in our corner so that we can lessen the FOMO our children will inevitably feel when they don’t have a phone, Facebook, Instagram or whatever else teens love these days and make it so we never have to answer “But Jacks Dad…” again?
I think we are doing our children a disservice by trying to make everyone else fit into our own specific rules. We need to be focusing more on pledging to mind our own children and working out what’s best for our own family needs instead of imposing our ideals onto others.