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PATHFINDER Parenting:

Tools for Raising Responsible Children
By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.
T - Tracking Pathfinder Structures for Children
5.0 Structures for Children for Use of Telephonic and Wireless Devices 

5.1. Telephonic and wireless device usage

Pathfinders train their children to use the telephonic and wireless devices appropriately. They teach their children to answer the home phone at an early toddler age. They teach them how to dial for emergency numbers and/or family or close family friends. These parents do not encourage their children to view the phone (telephoic or wireless device) as a recreational device but rather as one to make important message delivery. Appropriate telephone and texting etiquette is practiced in Pathfinders' homes.

Natural consequences:

  • If you do not use the phone (telephonic or wireless device) appropriately, then you will not learn the benefit of information exchange which the phone provides its users.
  • If you do not use appropriate etiquette on the telephone or when texting (telephonic or wireless device), then the people on the other end might hang up because they will think they got the wrong household or not take you seriously.
Logical consequences:
  • If you abuse the privilege of telephone (telephonic or wireless device) usage by spending too much time on the phone or using it inappropriatelythen we will have to limit your access to it.
  • If you do not learn emergency numbers and how to dial them, then you are probably too young to use the phone (telephonic or wireless device) and we will restrict your use of it until you learn the necessary skills to use the phone wisely.

5.2. Telephonic and wireless device location

Pathfinders place telephonic and wireless devices in public rooms and usually only in the parents' private room(s). They do not place telephonic and wireless devices in their children's rooms. They make their children realize at an early age that telephonic and wireless devices are to be used primarily for family business and to contact relatives and/or friends and/or relatives out of town. They place telephonic and wireless devices only where business of the family is usually conducted and do not place them in places of recreation or entertainment. Telephonic and wireless devices are typically located within public access in Pathfinders' homes.

Natural consequences:

  • If the telephonic and wireless devices are not conveniently located in the house, then it will not be readily accessible in case of emergencies or when vital business needs to be conducted by such a device.
  • If the telephonic and wireless devices are located in the private rooms of the children, then the children might abuse their use.

Logical consequences:

  • If you conduct prolonged conversations on telephonic and wireless devices in the public setting where they are located, then we will have to restrict your use of them by setting time limits
  • If you are not able to behave yourself while I am speaking or using a telephonic or wireless device, then I will have to send you to your room until I am done with the device.

5.3. Telephonic and wireless device time considerations

Pathfinders role model appropriate length of calls and amount of texting on telephonic and wireless devices. They do not practice daily phone calls or texting sessions which last hours in length. They also role model that calls are not “made out” or “welcomed in” after the normal "bedtime" or before the normal "wake up time" of the family. Pathfinders role model telephone and texting sessions of reasonable length during the normal business hours of the family. They keep their calls and texting short enough to keep the lines free for other incoming calls or messages. Telephonic and wireless devices in Pathfinders' homes are utilized for reasonable lengths within reasonable hours.

Natural consequences:

  • If you spend an inordinate time on the telephonic or wireless device talking or texting to someone, then you are tying up the home phone line preventing other people from reaching our house or preventing family members from making calls out.
  • If you make telephone calls or are texting messages during hours other than normal awake times, then you will be tired the next day after you stayed up late to use the telephonic or wireless device

Logical consequences:

  • If you make telephone calls or having texting sessions which last more than 15 minutes, then we will have to restrict your use of the telephonic or wireless device for the rest of that day and all of the next day.
  • If you make calls or conduct texting sessions after your normal bedtime or before your normal wake up times, then we will have to restrict your use of the telephonic or wireless device the rest of that day and all of the next

5.4. Children's telephonic and wireless devices

Pathfinders do not buy landline phones or wireless devices for their children's private rooms or private use nor do they put in a separate line for them. Children are made to realize that the use of the home phone and other electronic devices are a shared experience in the family and are not given the opportunity to abuse this privilege by extended individual use of them in their own rooms. When the children are older and capable of earning their own money they might be given permission to purchase individual telephonic and wireless devices for their private or family use. Such privileges are utilized by Pathfinders with their children as logical consequences for other desired behaviors and conduct. Pathfinders are cautious in allowing children's telephonic and wireless devices so as not to isolate them from the rest of the family.

Natural consequences:

  • If you are able to make enough money to pay for and maintain a telephonic or wireless device, then you will be allowed to do so as long as you do not abuse the privilege.
  • If you use your telephonic or wireless device in your own private room, then you might isolate yourself from the rest of the family and become too disengaged from us.

Logical consequences:

  • If you continue to isolate yourself from our family by spending so much time on your own telephonic and wireless device in your private room, then we will have to restrict your use of it to specific hours each day.
  • If you do not pay your telephonic and wireless device bills, then we will take such devices away from you.