Waiting for a bus in the cold or toast to pop when hungry takes forever. Kids growing up? Not so much. In one holiday weekend my bashful oblivious son went from ew girls to hey baby lets chat on instragram messenger. Ok, he would never talk like Robert Goulet, but you get my point.
I thought I was safe until grade six started in September. I figured he would finish off this year with his gaggle of boys, footballs and ripsticks in tow and disappear into the summer, where the focus is more on family than friends. But I was wrong. With a bite of a Kinder Egg, my eldest son has grown up. I swear the jeans constricted to skinny as he flashed me a knowing smile about the legend of the Easter Bunny. I’m on to you pops, he is thinking, and I have six waiting “Sups” in my hand right now.
We promised him a phone in grade six, yes early for some, but we based it on his own graduating level of responsibility both from a usage aspect (controlled by pay as you go) as well as I am not as worried he will lose the actual device as he still has his Ipod touch that he got two years ago. I have lost three blackberries in the same amount of time, which he very much knows and brings up. I know the primary conversation tool for tweens and teens and young adults is text not voice. I also know as a latch key kid in grade five, that my female engagement kicked in at the tail end of grade five before turning into full blown Stairway to Heaven slow dancing in grade six.
Here’s where I am lost when it comes to parenting this age and looking for perspective. Is it ok to be texting at this age? He is almost 11.
I have very much given him the sermon about respect and privacy, the repercussions of misconstrued texts or, save me, pictures. He knows the internet is written in permanent ink, not erasable lead and thinking before pressing send can save him from a very cruel online playground full of potential embarrassment and hurt.
But he is reveling in it. The “Kk” attention from the grade five girls is adorable. He is also finally interacting with them instead of thinking they are aliens from planet gross. I have read every text that has come across his device as he has not earned privacy yet and it is benign and very respectable. So far we have let it go.
But what about FaceTime? The Jetsons like video chatting that is now commonplace for our kids? Does that replace the late night phone calls as they get older?
I am pretty tech savvy, so I know it’s more the interaction I am questioning and not the tool. I want him, as well as my youngest, to move through life at an appropriate pace. I also want him to experience life without me constantly rifling through his stuff. I trust him I just don’t want any mini doucher or evil mean girl to crush him with a repeated revelation or embarrassing post.
He is such a great kid, just wish he would stop growing up.