If you give a teen a cell phone ...
May 12, 2005
Helena Rodriguez: PNT columnist
You’ve heard of the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?” It’s a cute children’s story that illustrates what happens when you show a little kindness to the wrong kinds of creatures — like mice ... or teenagers.
In the story, the mouse becomes more demanding, asking for a glass of milk, a straw, and a napkin to go with the cookie. The mouse then proceeds to make a series of other demands, each getting bigger, and then goes in a circle and ends up back where he started, asking for another cookie.
My 14-year-old daughter Laura has been asking me for a cell phone for a year now and I’ve been holding back. Hey, I barely got myself a cell phone a little over a year ago. I’ve been holding back, largely for monetary reasons, but I also have a nervous feeling of the can of worms I would be opening if I got Laura a cell phone. Sure, I realize there are certain advantages of teens having cell phones. You can carefully monitor their activities. An ankle bracelet works just as well, though.
Anyway, I have this feeling that this “I-gotta-have-a-cell-phone-mom” mentality would only be the beginning of a series of other demands, like the mouse and the cookie. The scenario that would unfold would go something like this:
If you give a teenager a cell phone, then she’ll ask for a leather cell phone holder to put the new cell phone. When you buy her the leather cell phone holder, then she’ll probably ask you for a new purse to match the new leather cell phone holder. When she puts the new purse around her shoulder, she’ll realize that she needs a new pair of shoes to match the new purse, and a new jacket to match the purse, the leather cell phone holder and the cell phone.
When the teenager looks into the mirror to admire her new cell phone outfit and accessories, then she’ll realize that she needs to get her nails done. When she gets her nails done, then she’ll want to get highlights and a new hairdo, too. To compliment her new look, she’ll then want to redecorate her whole bedroom with a new bedspread, a new bed and new furniture. But when the furniture is moved in, then she’ll realize that she needs a bigger room, so the teenager will ask you to buy a new house.
Because the new house will be further away from her school, the teenager will ask for a car to drive so she can go and see her friends whom she calls on her new cell phone with the new leather cell phone holder, the new purse, shoes, wardrobe, bedroom suite and the new house.
After moving into the new house, she’ll then notice that she needs a garage to park her new car in, so you’ll have to have a new garage added to the new home with the new car that will accommodate the teenager with the new cell phone.
When the new garage is installed, then the teenager will realize that the garage does not have an automatic door opener that she can open with a remote control from her new car where she keeps her new cell phone. So she will have to step out of the new car in her new shoes. She will then absent-mindedly place her new cell phone on the driveway while she opens the garage. When she pulls the car into the new garage attached to the new house, then the teenager will realize that she ran over her cell phone.
And chances are ... the teenager will ask for another cell phone.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: