SelfishMom is back answering your kids annoying questions – so you don’t have to!
Dear Selfish Mom,
My mom won’t let me have a cell phone. I’m twelve and all of my friends have cell phones. I know I’m responsible enough to have one, so how can I convince her?
First of all, whatever you do, do not try to convince your mom by telling her that all of your friends have cell phones. That will force her to say something like, “If all of your friends jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?” It’s a rule. We hate saying that stuff as much as you hate hearing it, but sometimes you force us.
Don’t use any of these arguments either:
This is America and I have a right to a cell phone.
No, you don’t. You have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The rest is negotiable, and filled with fancy letters where “s”s look like “f”s. It’s very hard to read. But trust me, nowhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights are you given the right to a cell phone. Or a TV. Or an iPod. Saying that you are will make you sound spoiled and ungrateful.
I know a kid who didn’t have a cell phone and he got lost and couldn’t call anybody for help.
OK, do you know what that argument will do, other than not get you a cell phone? It will force your mom (again, it’s a rule) to give you a lecture about what you should do in case you get lost, complete with stories about how in her day we didn’t have GPS and if you were lost you asked for directions at a gas station and while you were there you picked up a comic book, a chocolate bar, and a Lik-M-Aid and still got change from the quarter.
If I have a cell phone I can call you and let you know where I am.
Do you know what a pay phone is? It’s that thing that you put money into (I don’t even know how much anymore, because I have a cell phone) and dial a number from memory and talk to somebody on. It’s what you’ll be using for years to come if you act like a cell phone is your only calling option.
I heard this one kid won $50,000 by being the fastest texter in the world.
We have many dreams for our children. That is absolutely, positively, not something we want you to work toward.
So what can you do to convince your mom to get you a cell phone?
- Make a PowerPoint presentation about why you should have a cell phone. I don’t know what you should put in it, but I keep seeing commercials where kids make PP presentations when they want something from their parents, and it seems to be working. At least in the commercials.
- Save your money. Nothing impresses parents more than when you ask them for something expensive and then offer to pay for some or all of it. Heck, they probably won’t even take your money, they’ll be so impressed with all the hard work you did to save up. (For the record, if my kids are reading this, I would take the money.)
- Stop losing things. The most expensive thing I ever carried around with me before I was sixteen was a Mickey Mouse watch that probably cost about $10. Today, people routinely have hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars’ worth of electronics with them at all times. If you’ve been losing gloves and hats and books every other day, no parent is going to want to watch you walk out the door with a state-of-the art phone that cost more than their first car.
- Stop bugging her. After you give your presentation, tell her that you know she needs time to think it over, and ask if you can make an appointment with her to talk to her about it in a month. And don’t say a word about it until then.
- Be nice. You wouldn’t believe how far that goes.