Shikha Vij, Counselor, AIS Saket

My child is in class IX and is on the cell phone till late in the night. I am afraid to take away his cell phones as he might think that I am not a “cool parent”. Help.

In a bid to become a friend, we often lose out on our role as a parent. One of the duties of being a parent is also to teach values, and work ethics to the child, and to help them learn to differentiate “right from wrong”. It is necessary that we teach the child that responsibilities and rights go hand-in-hand. If they have been given a privilege they need to acknowledge the responsibilities attached with it. Cell phones need to be used judiciously, and if they are misusing this freedom given to them, then as a parent you have all the right to revoke this privilege of having a cell phone. Kindly lay ground rules in advance, such as, you will continue to have a phone if and only if you submit it by 9pm, or you will go to the party only if you get 80% in your UT. As a parent, it is also your right to check their cell phone logs, provided you have already established this as a ground rule. Do not check their logs in an underhanded manner as this misplaces their trust in you. The child might not understand these rules initially and may throw tantrums. However, once it is clarified that certain rules are inflexible and non-negotiable whether liked or disliked, gradually everyone accepts them, just like in a workplace we learn to live with certain rules. Don’t feel threatened with the child’s initial mockery and rude behaviour when you set down rules as it is a temporary situation and remember that you have to do what is best for your child.
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