The Question

So, I’m hanging out at a Christmas party last night hosted by a couple who went to high school with Adventure Guy.  Like us, many of the party goers have children who are in their early teens.  Somehow the topic of using GPS on cell phones to track the kids came up.  I seemed to be the only one in the room who didn’t think this was a fabulous idea.

I’m sure it’s my general liberal tendencies that cause my hackles to rise at the “Big Brotherish” nature of this particular technology.  To track or not to track, ah, that is the question (so, so sorry Will). And, I’m not saying that I would NEVER consider enabling this feature.  But I wouldn’t do it without some kind of reason to think I needed to.  To me, it says something about trust and the relationship you build with your kids.  I don’t want my kids to think that I don’t trust them when they haven’t given me any reason not to.  When would I consider using the GPS?  When one of them gives me a reason to believe I need to.

And what I loved even more was the one mom of an older teen who informed me that I “just didn’t understand what some of these kids do.” After being a high school principal for seven years and a high school teacher for nine years prior to that, I’m pretty sure there’s little left that would surprise me about what teenagers can come up with to get into trouble.  But what I’ve also learned over those years is that it’s the parents who both set and enforce limits while also maintaining a supportive, loving relationship with their teens who tend to come out the best in the end.  I’m not saying it’s easy, or that those parents don’t also have trouble with their kids at times, but it’s the best advice I’ve got, and it’s certainly the approach we’re taking here in Suburbia.  And for now, that approach is not going to involve GPS tracking.


Filed under Kids

2 responses to “The Question

  1. Ah ahhahahahahaha.

    It only took me 3 years in secondary special ed to rarely be surprised 🙂

  2. We have and use GPS to track our kids through their phones. It’s a parenting choice every family has to make for itself, and no one should have to justify it or be judged because of it. One never knows what goes on behind the closed doors of other people’s homes. I figure that unless there’s abuse going on, it’s none of my business and that people have their reasons for how they choose to parent their kids. Our kids know we use it and that it comes with the privilege of having a cell phone.

    We do have loving, supportive relationships with our kids; sometimes it’s enough to keep them on track, and sometimes it’s not. At some point, I think every parent is surprised at their teenager’s behavior. I haven’t talked to a single parent of grown children (and I have talked to many over the past year or so in search of advice) that hasn’t been surprised by what their then-teenagers did. These were good, involved parents who still teared up just thinking of how hard things were. Their advice, time and time again, was,

    “Do whatever it takes to get them through these years. Love them, support them, listen to them, limit their privacy, check up on them when they don’t expect you to, and always expect the unexpected.”

    It’s one thing to have objective experience like yours, and a completely different thing to go through it with one’s own child. The early teen years are nothing. Just wait!

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