Four years ago Sandra called to ask me about the wisdom of giving her twelve-year-old daughter, Kayla, an iPhone. I suggested that early exposure to electronics has been proven to be linked to lack of socialization and even addictive behaviors. No twelve-year-old NEEDS electronics in order to be happy. She needed to have parents who were dedicated to being unconditionally loving, and I recommended that Sandra and her husband devote more time toward that end—both in their marriage and in their parenting.
But Sandra gave Kayla the iPhone, and recently Sandra called to tell me that Kayla was completely isolated from the family, angry, having indiscriminate sex, and smoking pot.
I’m not going to discuss what I said to Sandra, but rather will point out how easily all this could have been prevented. When Sandra called, she was describing a barn with a small hole in the door. That could easily have been fixed by nailing a board over the hole, or by replacing the defective board in the door. But it turns out that there was a family of cats in the barn, and they multiplied, and the hole got bigger, and soon a barn full of cats was running around the barnyard.
I’ve chased cats around a yard, and I’m here to say that it’s easier to nail a board over a door than it is to chase down a barn full of cats. Love and teach your children sooner. You’ll be glad you did.