cell phoneI almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but my daughter is doing so well that I gave her a cell phone yesterday. I’m very old-school (and old) so I’ve never believed in giving kids cell phones. It amazes me that I gave her one.

My daughter’s behavior at home has been essentially adequate ever since she decided to come out of the bathroom. Her behavior at school has always been very good. And ever since our “empathy” talk, she has been terrific. She is respectful, responsible and fun to be with. She does her chores without me having to ask, does her homework and has a good attitude almost all of the time. I’m enjoying her more and appreciating that she is making my life easier by behaving so well.

My husband and I felt that she deserved a really big acknowledgment for her efforts. It’s funny, but acknowledging my older son for his efforts would make him sabotage himself. I guess it’s imperative to know your kids and know what motivates them. For my daughter, acknowledgment is a driver and makes her do better. I’m under no illusion that she is all better now forever, but the improvement is so drastic that we want to mark it. Plus, she’s fourteen and maybe needs to trade in the horse-and-buggy life of no cell phone for the modern life of being able to text her friends.

We got a basic little prepaid phone, added it to our carrier’s plan for ten dollars, and set so many texting, downloading, and call time limits on it that it would be a drag for anyone but my daughter. But Kaylyn was ecstatic when I gave it to her. I know she never expected it. It was better than watching a five-year-old on Christmas morning.

An unintended consequence of the phone is that it seems to help Kaylyn in her friendships with the other girls. I had put a lot of weight on Kaylyn’s poor social skills as a cause for her lack of friendships, and I’m sure that’s still a factor. But it never occurred to me that the way kids communicate today is with a jillion little texts on their cell phones all day, and if she couldn’t do that, she would never be in the club. Now that she can text and be texted, she’s had girls over to the house to hang out and she’s been to other girls’ houses. That alone may boost her confidence to the point that she doesn’t feel the need to be fake, or lie or exaggerate or dramatize to get attention. Maybe she can just be real. I’ve always really liked the real Kaylyn. I just haven’t seen her very often. Who knew that a cell phone could bring that out? Maybe we old fogies should get with the program!

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