Monday, May 5, 2008

And the winner of a free book is...

Okay, the winner of our book giveaway is Karin, who posted the following comment:
Hi Keri & Allison,

Love the BBR blog - it makes me think. Keri - love the look of the new web site!
My daughter is 16 (son is 14) but it is the daughter that has me most concerned. I feel like she expects more and more, whatever we are doing isn't good enough. An example is for her 16th birthday earlier this year we told her that we were going to get her an iPhone. Then apple came out with the 16g and she told us not to get the 8g because if we couldn't get the 16g, don't bother. I feel like we are being held hostage and that she is expecting more and more. Really struggling with this right now. Will this book help me?

Karin, Congratulations, you're our winner! if you will get in touch with me (go to and click on the "contact Keri" form) and send me your addresss, I will send you the book.
But I'd also like to respond to your comment.
I'm not surprised you feel like you are being held hostage. But you are choosing to do so. I'd recommend you explain to your daughter that gifts are just that, gifts. It's easy to understand why she thinks this way--our whole culture does, because you can now register not just for weddings but for kids birthdays, graduations etc. But a gift is something the giver chooses, not something the recipient orders. You need to tell your daughter this--a gift is not something you get to order. If she gives you grief, I would take her up on her offer--and don't buy her either. I think it would be a huge mistake to buy her the 16 g. Think about what that would teach her--that if you are bossy and demanding enough, you get your way. Not a good life lesson. buy her something else, and let her save her money to buy her own iPhone. And yes, I think this book will help you--but you will have to think about what you can do to set good boundaries now.
A good rule of thumb is, any time a child demands that you buy them something, don't do it.
REaders, any thoughts for Karin?


Lori said...

It sounds so simple, and yet I think so many parents struggle with how to hold our own values above the conflicting values of our culture. I was talking to another mom recently who was lamenting all sorts of issues with her teenage daughter- most of which stemmed from, in my opinion, too much time and access to the Electronic World of Teenagers. She was shocked when I told her that we don't allow our 13 year old son to text message, that he doesn't have an email address, or a My Space Page, or access to Instant Messaging. She asked me incredulously, "But how does he communicate with his friends?!?"

I had to laugh as I told her, "They call our house! On the phone! You know, the landline!"

My point is this, I would think twice about the iphone if it seems as though your daughter already views it as an entitlement and not a privilege. I would say that she should earn the money herself but my only caution with that is I think parents should have the ultimate control over cell phones with their teenagers. If she buys it herself, it might be harder to exercise that control. Our current family practice is that we, the parents, have an "extra" cell phone that we allow our son to use when we deem it necessary. That way he knows this is a privilege we have extended to him and can be revoked at any time.

It really is challenging, this whole business of swimming against the tide.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

great insights! Just because technology is available doesn't mean we have to give it to our kids. We get the same reaction when people hear that we don't have cable.
I think you can still have control over the cell phone even if they contribute to its cost. You are still the parent!
Just as when they get older, and they learn that driving is a privilege, even if they pay for the car and the gas--it's still a privilege that the government can take away.
it's not easy to swim against the tide, and each family has to determine what to say yes and no to.