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'In an instant, she changed': The parenting decision Tiffani Wood regrets

By Tiffani Wood|

As parents we try our hardest to do what we think is best for our kids.

For me, the hardest part was going through all of the 'phases' with my first born. They're kind of like a test bunny for the other siblings in what not to do next time.

Don't get me wrong C I've had a super easy teen compared to what some other parents go through, and there's actually not too much I can fault her on, plus we have a great relationship.

But there is something I can fault ME on, and that's the day I allowed her to have a mobile phone.

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The Summit 2024 , Tiffani Wood
Tiffani Wood wishes she hadn't given her daughter a mobile phone so early. (Instagram)

In an instant, my little innocent nearly-13-year-old changed. I remember it like it was yesterday.

She stopped creative play, she stopped playing with dolls, she stopped singing as much (although she did TikTok dance more), she stopped hanging out with her siblings as much, unless it was to do with the phone, and she went from 13 to 16 overnight.

This one bad decision (which, looking back on, I feel was too early) had me fighting for the rest of her teen years to get her back. Back from the screen time, the TikToks, the Snapchats, the Instagram, the instant gratification and worst of all, the addiction to that damn phone.?

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Tiffani Wood is the new columnist for 9honey Parenting
"This one bad decision had me fighting for the rest of her teen years to get her back." (Supplied)

I tried everything. In the early years, it was sometimes doable to break the habit by having her and her friends put their phones in the kitchen cupboard C out of sight, out of mind, right? (Apparently not.)

But as the years went by they either challenged it, said 'such-and-such's mum doesn't do that', or they'd just sneak down and take them, so I caved C mainly because I had five kids under six, and that was enough to deal with.

Lately I've seen parents on socials replying to parents who talk about phone use, commenting, "Oh my teen won't have a phone, it's up to the parents to say no". Well, yes it is, but it's also up to the teen to plead with you on the daily about getting one because they feel left out because EVERY OTHER TEEN HAS ONE

"In an instant, my little innocent nearly-13-year-old changed. I remember it like it was yesterday." (Supplied/Tiffani Wood)

Let me tell you, your teen will have a phone, it's just a matter of when and your restrictions on using it. And, just like you swore your unborn first child would never eat Maccas, they did!

The thing I noticed for my teen that had the worst effect on her, besides the obvious addiction, is the way things spread at lightning speed. Photos, whispers, copied group chats, party filming, proof of cheating, bad comments on photos, the list goes on.

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With each one of those online problems, it hit a different part of her being; her heart, her mind or her spirit. With many teens, it can end up leading to anxiety, depression, self hate, suicidal thoughts or, worst case, death.

Tiffani Wood is the new columnist for 9honey Parenting
"Let me tell you, your teen will have a phone, it's just a matter of when and your restrictions on using it." (Supplied)

I don't know what the answer is, because we as parents and our children as teens really are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

So it's up to us to have a strong enough relationship (pre-phone life) to be there when they need us and be able to talk things through should bad things happen and of course talk to them about the obvious dangers to minimise the impact and do what you think is right for your family.

I'll leave you with a word from my teen: "The worst thing I've noticed is when girls who feel they are not enough, after comparing themselves to celebrities online, have their mental health impacted, and that's really sad to watch as a friend.

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