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Kathy Tofflemire, Published March 02 2010

Parenting Perspectives: Grandma just a ‘how r u’ away from texting grandson

‘Hi grandma how r u”

It’s a text from my grandson who’s 10 going on 11.

From his cell phone.

If you’d asked me a year ago if this child needed to have his own phone, I would have said no. It certainly wasn’t necessary at least until he went to middle school.

But times and circumstances change.

He’s been wanting a phone for a long time. His parents’ biggest concern: Would he be responsible enough not to lose the darn thing?

But, as his mother pointed out, he couldn’t learn responsibility if they didn’t give him any. He does chores to earn money to pay for his phone, which has some parent-imposed limitations.

With the boys spending one week with Dad and the next week with Mom and with neither parent having a landline anymore, the cell phone helps keep everyone in the communication loop.

For the first few days, Samsung was my grandson’s new BFF. He texted his mother 20 times after school the day after he got his phone.

But like all new “toys,” the novelty soon wore off. The phone no longer has to be constantly within his reach.

I have to admit I get a kick out of calling or texting him from time to time, keeping in mind it must be after school and before bedtime. But I find texting frustrating. The phone key pad isn’t fast enough for me, so I always have to back up. And I’m not even a double-thumb typist. Of course, my daughter and my grandson have fancier phones than I do. That’s OK.

My grandson knows that his phone can’t be used in school. A message last week from his mother – reminding him that she would be picking him up for an orthodontist appointment and that he shouldn’t get on the bus –was sent too early and “got him in trouble.”

His teacher used the opportunity to tease him and advised him not to let his girlfriend text him in school. My grandson was mortified and quite upset with his mother. My daughter asked him if he wanted her to apologize to his teacher. Yes, he did. The teacher told her he knew the text was from Mom.

My younger grandson isn’t very interested in the whole cell phone thing. He doesn’t really like to talk on the phone. No doubt the girls will change his mind down the road.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514 or ktofflemire@forumcomm.com