Whether your girl is already off to the races with her very own cell phone or you are about to give her a cell phone, you can use this contract to make your expectations clear. Keep in mind that like anything else with our girls, we are teaching them how to set responsible boundaries so they continue to have boundaries for themselves when it’s time for them to fly on their own!
If your daughter has already had a cell phone and you are now putting rules in place, it is ok. You can expect some push back as she most likely won’t be open to new boundaries. Explain that you were mistaken by handing over the phone without any (or not enough) boundaries. I think it's important to be able to say when you’ve made a mistake (this models for her how to do this very thing) and that you’ve learned through your experience with her having the phone that boundaries need to exist to keep her safe.
As you are asking your daughter to follow these guidelines, make sure you are modeling the same responsible behavior too. So if she signs off on the rule not to have her phone at family meals, be mindful of not sending a quick text or adding to your shopping list while at the table. Teens are the first to pick up on hypocrisy we are putting out there and you are bound to face a battle over this behavior.
As your daughter gets closer to leaving the nest and you continue to build a close relationship with trust and respect, it is important that she learns to use her devices responsibly. Ideally you will intentionally transition away from “your” rules to the rules she wants to put in place for herself. Consider a second sit down conversation letting her know that she is taking over control and deciding for herself what boundaries she will have in place for her phone. As we continue to work together, I will walk you through this process. It is key to have your strong foundation in place to make this conversation successful so that she knows she can trust herself because you trust in her.
This contract is based on the challenges girls and parents have shared with me as they navigate the online world with their daughters. This is meant to be a starting point and should be completed to fit with your family’s values. After everyone signs the contract, keep it in a safe place that’s easy to see. Make sure to follow up on the guidelines and recognize positive behavior when your daughter uses it responsibly!
Download your editable social media and cell phone agreement here