Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Cell Phone, The Middle Schooler, & The Attitude

My very close friend "April" was having a difficult time with her 13 year old daughter "Sophie's" attitude.
Since I teach 13 year old's, she didn't have to explain much for me to understand what she meant. Goodness yes, I do love middle schoolers very much for their hefty servings of wit, resilience, and unpredictability but I also know that it all comes with some assorted side dishes.
The dismissive shrugs.
The exasperated eye rolls.
The occasional hisses and mumblings.
Years in the classroom have made me quite fluent in middle-schoolese.
So the story goes that one evening April had reached her tolerance limit regarding attitude and decided to dole out a consequence to Sophie.... she took her cell phone away.
This measure elicited very little reaction or remorse from Sophie.
As a result, to take it up a parent power notch, April decided to cancel the entire cell phone plan.....over and out.
Later, when April called AT&T to take care of business, the customer representative dutifully asked April why she was cancelling her account.
April explained that her daughter was giving her attitude and the situation called for a significant consequence. The representative responded with an empathetic, "I understand."
The representative continued..."But you don't need to cancel the entire plan, just suspend it. " April learned that at no cost to her, she could pause the service, save a little money, and teach her lovely, talented daughter that respect is not an option.
But apparently an interruption in your cell phone plan is.
Do you suppose that AT&T had been fielding a plethora of cancellation requests from exhausted parents looking for that magical punishment that would make their teens less...uh...that way?
I'm thinking that's exactly what happened.
Hence, the suspend-your-own-account plan was born.
Good call....on so many levels.
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momto5minnies said...

That is very helpful information ...

Barb, sfo said...

Removal of cell phone also works on 15-year-olds. I should check with our provider to see if suspension-of-plan is offered...but we haven't had to do anything long-term yet.

Lisa said...

I understand why a lot of parents allow their youngins to have cell phones. There's a certain amount of security in knowing they can reach you and v/v whenever needed -- or dial 911 should an emergency arise... But, that said, we've elected to forego all the the problems that come with having that kind of responsibility and temptation in our under-sixteen crowd and have depended on their Guardian Angels (and the always-near proximity of someone else's phone) instead. Which, of course, deprives us, I now see, of some very good leverage. Darn, anyway. :/

Terra said...

Good to know! Made me laugh to picture a bunch of ATT billing execs sitting around a table saying "how do we make punishing a 13 year old easier?"

MissJean said...

That's interesting! I will be sure to pass this info on to the parents who occasionally call. :) I teach high school, so the first couple of months my classes and I work on the transition from middle-schooler to freshman. I even had "Freshman Rules" that they write down next to the official school/class rules printed in the class overview.

TRS said...

That's awesome! I know that they can suspend your cell phone plan if say, you're going to be out of the country for an extended time.... it's just smart for a representative to offer suspension than to lose an account.... plus it saves you start up costs when the parent realizes that a teen without a cell phone is sort of a pain in the tookus as well!