Hey Rene,

My mom won’t let me have a Facebook page! I’m 13 years old and more of my friends are starting to get their own phones and have their own Facebook pages and I’m worried that pretty soon I’ll be the only person without a page.

I talk to my mom about it and she refuses to budge. She says I don’t need to be on Facebook and I can’t have a page of my own until I’m 17. Some of my friends try to keep their pages hidden from their parents but I’m not even trying to do that. She’s being completely ridiculous and I feel like she doesn’t trust me. She just doesn’t get that everyone has one now and it’s not a big deal.

Rene, how do I convince my mom to let me have a page?

Carmen, Houston


Hey Carmen:

Well honey, I understand why this is frustrating to you. It probably doesn’t seem fair. But you don’t say WHY mom won’t let you have a Facebook page so I’m going to take a stab in the dark. I’m betting she thinks you’re too young, that it’s dangerous and you’ll spend all your time on it, chatting up friends, instead of paying attention to your schoolwork.

Now I am going to give you a strategy that may work here (and may not) but will definitely help your mom to see you as a more mature person, and might just work in future situations.

FIRST: ASK HER WHY SHE OBJECTS: I’m gonna open wide, a page from the parent’s playbook. It impresses us so much when our children talk to us like they are adults. By that I mean no whining and stomping and fit throwing when they don’t get their way. When my kids present a well-thought out, rational plan, taking into account my objections even before I have, well, truth be told, it totally kicks the legs out from under my argument. So tell your mom you want to sit down and talk to her. If she says about what, be vague. If you say, “about the Facebook page” she may shut you down right there and there won’t be any addressing it again until you’re 17.

MAKE A PREEMPTIVE STRIKE: When you sit down with her at the dining room table, slide a piece of paper across to her with a list of the things she’s probably worried about with you and Facebook. I gave you a few up top. With each of those, propose a solution.

Example: Problem: Mom is worried I’ll spend too much time on Facebook and neglect my studies. Solution: I promise to spend only one hour a night on Facebook and if my grades slip, I agree to let her shut down my account. Do that for all of the things you think she objects to. When you have run down that list with her, ask her if she has any other concerns that you can research and then get back to her on. If not, it’s time to present the closing argument.

CLOSE THE DEAL: Okay, whatever happens here, whatever she decides, you have to promise me you will be mature and accept the outcome. This is CRITICAL and I’ll tell you why.  You have just spent the last 20 minutes showing her that you’ve morphed into a more responsible child, ready to take on new challenges. If she says no and you stand up, grab the paper, storm out, lock yourself in your room for 4 hours, you’ve wasted that foundation you worked so hard to build. But here’s the big secret. Accepting what she says further proves to her that you are maturing and guess what? She’ll have one less reason to say no to a Facebook page and might even allow it earlier than originally planned.

Now the one thing I want to leave you with is something you’ve no doubt heard from your mother as well. It doesn’t matter what everyone else has, you are not living their life and your mother is not their parent. This is about you and the rules that work in your home and that she sees fit to impose. If I were you I would never bring that argument up again because truthfully, it’s lame, a waste of breath and won’t get you any closer to what you want.

Good luck Carmen!

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