I’m going into high school and my parents still won’t get me a cell phone. All my friends have them and I’m always left out of everything because I don’t have one. My mom says kids don’t need phones but I think she’s wrong. How can I get a cell phone?
Dear Hung Up:
Short answer: Be patient. Eventually, you will have a cell phone.
Long answer: The problem is not whether you can get a cell phone. The problem is you want one now. The question then becomes, ‘how can I convince my parents to get me a cell phone now?’ Here’s the secret…
Listen to your parents. Very carefully. Make note of every reason they give you for not letting you get a phone. And then, take away every argument they have.
‘You’re not mature enough for a cell phone.’
Oh yeah? Watch me. Start by putting an end to the whining and begging. Don’t bug them for a cell phone. Or all the other little perks you’re likely bombarding them with. Listen to yourself; if every other sentence you speak to your parents starts with, “Can I…” you’ll be sans phone for a long time. Start convincing your parents that you’re ready. Start taking responsibility for yourself and your belongings.
‘You haven’t earned a phone.’
Then start earning. Master your basic chores. Look after yourself. Clean your room. Do your own laundry. Do the dishes without being asked. Take out the garbage. You live in the house – you owe. A cell phone is an extra. And you can’t have an extra until you’ve covered the basics.
‘And who’s going to pay for that?’
Offer a contract. ‘Mom, Dad, I’ll stay home one night a week with Little Sisters 1 and 2, let’s say every Thursday night. You two can go take up a hobby or go out on a date. Reliable, responsible babysitting, in return for a monthly plan’. Or, ‘The back yard is a mess – needs cleaning and mowing and trimming – how about I put in three hours a week – above and beyond the basic chores I’m already doing – and make sure the yard looks great, in exchange for a phone.’ Write it down. Commit to it. And hold up your end of the bargain.
‘Kids your age don’t need phones. We didn’t have them.’
Be careful. You want to argue this one – but no emotions and over-reacting and whining. Write down your reasons. Think them through. Arrange to sit down at a good time and have a calm conversation. Offer arguments that have meaning to them – you could contact me anytime, make sure I’m safe; I could use it to access things like bus times, weather updates, class schedules, as well as facebook and instagram. It’s how we all keep in touch now.
Ultimately, you want to make an adult argument for yourself. If you do your best to make it impossible for the other side to say no, you stand a better chance of getting what you’re after. And after you’ve got what you want, make sure you live up to your end of the agreement. The only thing worse than not having a cell phone, is having your cell phone taken away!!
Hope that helps,