pic of phones

Mom, I Broke My Phone

Parents everywhere have struggled with the decision of whether to give their child an expensive electronic device, like an iPhone. Coming up with the money for your own phone may have been enough of a challenge. For those who decide to bring their children into the digital world, another major decision looms when that device is accidentally broken. This discussion happened around our Holiday table last week and I thought it was worth sharing.

In the author’s own voice…

As a fan and facilitator of Love and Logic, my opinion was requested (since I don’t butt into my daughter’s parenting style without her permission). She is a Love and Logic fan herself and knew the answer before we agreed upon it. Our reaction was the same as we shared our thoughts, “How sad your phone is broken; what will you do?”

We are discussing a growing 13-year old. He’s no slouch. He can help me troubleshoot my own devices. That doesn’t mean he can prevent his own phone from getting wet and failing to reboot.

My pre-conversation with his mother was complete. She had already told him when this second phone was acquired that she wouldn’t be buying another one. He must have remembered this because he didn’t even ask.

Since I had recently upgraded a phone, there was a spare around. Not a free spare, you understand. The lesson of what happens when your uninsured phone gets broken was about to be learned and it could be heated or encouraging, depending on whether Love and Logic parenting skills would be employed.

The discussion started with the old phone being laid in front of him on the table. “I said I wouldn’t be providing another phone; the repair shop opened it free and said there was moisture in it and that it wouldn’t boot up,” she calmly explained. “You can talk to papa about some other ideas if you want.”

I explained that I had been blessed with an unexpected upgrade recently and that there might be a way for him to earn a replacement phone. I have a wood stove that constantly needs logs cut and split and we might just be able to come to a deal.

I knew that we had succeeded with Love and Logic consequences when the smile grew on his face. No yelling, no blaming, no shaken fingers or shame. What happened stinks and there might just be a way to remedy it. It will be your responsibility if you want a new phone. Just love and empathy and consequences. You broke it; you’ll have to fix it.

What a great way to end the year. A 13-year old gets the privilege of learning just how valuable a cherished electronic device is. A parent gets to honor her word and still enjoy seeing her son learn a valuable lesson. A granddad gets to be the friendly enforcer of one of the most important principles in life; when something breaks, it costs your time and money to fix it. No yelling, no blaming, not shame. Just logical consequences lovingly enforced.

I trust your new year will contain opportunities to fix broken things while keeping your relationships intact. Extended family can support you. Either way, lessons are worth learning.

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