Each kid in our home has gotten a cell phone when they got to middle school. It is both a fun moment for the family to communicate with our kids in a new way, and a terrifying reality that the world is opening to them in a whole new way.

We’ve had ups and downs along the way, but overall we have absolutely awesome kids that are (mostly) open and honest with us. One of the ways that we try to encourage that openness is by setting clear boundaries and letting them know that they can talk to us.

Here’s the agreement between us and them that we came up with recently. I found a template at https://joshshipp.com/teen-cell-phone-contract/ (thank you to Josh!) and then adapted to reflect our family values. The main thing is that we’re trying to create an open and honest environment for them to choose accountability and open lines of communication.

We’re not doing this perfectly, but we do love them and continue to find ways to talk about the ever-evolving temptations and pitfalls that are out there as technology continues to shape our kids. Dara and I won’t allow prevailing cultural trends be more influential than our voices. We’re making it up as we go, and loving these kiddos with all of our hearts.