My tween has completed her first semester of middle school. We have weathered The Talk. She has managed her class schedule well. She has only lost the lock for her locker one time
that she has admitted. She has managed to learn how to play an instrument, and keep up with it, even though band and PE are back-to-back and we were really stressed about how that class change/locker situation was going to work.
We’ve learned the positive side to bullying on the bus is that kids seem to be more willing to defend you than they were back in the day. At least for my tween anyway. We’ve had to discuss weight issues because of those bullies. She has been “asked out” (and quickly said no to the boy) on that same bus.
She also learned that even sixth graders will be brazen enough to kiss in the hallway in front of parent volunteers!! Scandalous!
But the thing that has been the biggest “problem” for her, out of all of these things, is cell phones. Silly cell phones!
I know a lot of kids her age have a phone, and many were getting them in fifth grade, but she wasn’t asking for one. And here’s the thing: my child is OK with hanging out with her friends, but she is also perfectly happy with her down time. She would not use said phone to text or call people. We asked her. She said “Meh” with a shoulder shrug. Seriously.
But now she goes to sleepovers and comes home with a full report that usually goes something like this, “We ate pizza and played some games. Then we watched a movie. We stayed up late doing [such-and-such] but then everyone just got on their phones and it was so boring! So me and [the other kid whose mean parents haven’t gotten her a phone either] just went to bed.” And she always reports this with an eye roll about the phones. How sad is that? Sleepovers are for staying up late giggling and talking, not secluding yourself to your sleeping bag to check Instagram!
And then there’s this reward system at her school whereby if you have good grades and attendance, you are “rewarded” by getting to use your phone at lunch once a week. Except for a kid like mine who then feels completely isolated because all of her friends now have their noses in their screens. She feels punished.
And the real kicker: we get a newsletter from her subject team. One of her favorite classes/teachers announces that in the upcoming week they will be playing a review game of some type and it would be best if the kids would bring their phones to be able to participate in this activity. Apparently they play this game in all four of her core classes.
Ummmm. What? Nothing made me want to run out and buy her a phone more than that right there! How wrong is that? They are in sixth. grade. Is this the expectation now? (I don’t recall seeing “cell phone” on the class supply list…)
Remember how I mentioned she lost the $5 lock to her locker? But cell phones, especially smart phones for participating in class activities, seem like a great idea for these responsible little tweens. Especially when they are growing so fast and are feeling awkward in their own bodies. Mine is like a bull in a china shop.
So, yeah, now we are basically feeling forced to get our kid a phone. She only “wants” one so she won’t be bored when everyone else is on theirs at lunch and at sleepovers. And I guess also for reviewing for tests.