Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Grasping independence

My eldest son, Joshua, 12, is a smart kid.  Having gone online last week and wheeled and dealed his way around the Internet finding a mobile phone contract deal that would undercut the current ones I held for him and his sister, he managed to find a way of getting them both a brand new smart phone each that had all the gadgets they desired, for less than I was currently spending each month.  Having previously told him that an upgrade was out of the question as I was not prepared to spend more money, I found myself having to concede to his request as he quite rightly pointed out my fears were unfounded and that I'd actually make a saving.

As a parent I could have reacted two ways.  One is that I could have got angry that he continued to pursue something I'd originally said no to and punished him.  Or, as I chose, I could have held back and allowed him to rise to the challenge and make his own discoveries.

I'm glad I did.  With his perseverance and for being sensible, gathering the facts in, making sure the tariffs were correct, working out Internet bolt ons, researching through the current provider what his current text and talk usages were, he could compare differing offers and make an informed choice about which level of contract would suit him.  He wasn't greedy, he didn't demand extra applications and he even made sure he stayed with the same network so calls between family remained free of charge.

The money issue itself was not my main concern.  My children know we have limited budgets for some things, tight budgets for others, miracles in waiting for some things and variable budgets for others.  We've tried over the years to be honest with them about money and spending and to search for good deals, not to be tempted into impulse buying, not to be sucked into the latest craze and to analyse whether they'll really use something. So to see my son actively and quite naturally using these criteria for obtaining something he desired was wonderful to see.  It showed me he's growing up wisely, that he's thinking things through analytically before making decisions and it's confirming to me that he is listening to us when we try to advise him.  As a parent it's uplifting to see your child make wise decisions, not just because a yes or no option has been put before them, but because they've taken an idea and developed it.

There are times he does things for me because I don't understand how to use them, or he explains how something is made or how it works.  Usually with a big cheeky smile on his face and a roll of the eyes because my level of ability is at 'muppet' level.  There are a lot of times he's just the boy he is, but I'm confident that as he grows, and as time goes on, I'll have to let go a little more each time and allow him to take hold of opportunities.  This week it was just a mobile phone, but it won't be long before those choices become more complex and he'll be able to take life with both hands and get the best value out of it he can.

Oh, and their phones arrived yesterday.

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