A child’s cellphone usually gives parents something to fight about.
Parents often disagree on who should pay the bill, who should pay to replace the phone if it is lost, stolen or broken, when the child should have access to the device, how much time the child should be allowed to spend on the device, etc.
When these disagreements arise, many parents will use the device to retaliate against the other parent. A parent may establish household rules for devices that are restrictive to limit communication, or parents may take things a step further and take away the device or take other steps to interfere with the child’s ability to use the device or communicate with their other parent. Text messages might be deleted, phone numbers might be blocked and tablets or iPods might be left without internet access for the sole purpose of preventing the child from being able to communicate with the other parent.
In most situations, it is in the child’s best interest to be able to communicate with either parent despite the parenting schedule. Parents should encourage their child to communicate with the other parent even if the other parent does not do the same. In other words, the ability to be a good parent should not be based on the quality of the parenting decisions made by the child’s other parent. Children deserve at least one parent that will do what is best for them unconditionally.
In many situations, parents benefit from working with an experienced professional to reduce conflict and establish shared ground rules for things such as a child’s device use. If you need a referral to a parenting professional, contact our team.