Is easy child on the phone at 3 a.m. a normal thing?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I woke up to use the bathroom a few min. ago and saw the light on in easy child's room. I opened the door and she was on the phone! No wonder she's so tired every morning! She doesn't have to work until 11 tomorrow, but she still has chores. I told her she needed to get off. She argued, of course. I told her we needed a routine, even though it was summer.
    I think midnight is reasonable.
    She has a book report due this weekend, had to read two other books, and has to turn in 3 art projects on the first day of school. When I see her pulling this kind of thing, I know she is not using her time wisely.
    She's 16.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    At 16 my kids weren't allowed phone calls after 9pm. If I caught one of them on the phone at 3am there would be loss of the privilage for at least a week, probably two. Second offense would be loss of phone altogether.

    At 17 cut off time is 11pm. But after 9 it better be darn important and not just wanting to chat. And it stays that way til they leave home.

    You're right, no wonder easy child is so tired.

    I told my kids when they complained, and they did complain, that any phone calls could and would be done at a reasonable hour, or not at all. I was strict when it came to phones and visits from friends ect. I watched adults who could never make a call, or plans and such cuz the teens seemed to always be on the phone or the house was full of kids.

    But even if you don't care much how long easy child is on the phone ect, 3am is pretty extreme. I mean, what on earth do you need to talk to someone at that time about??
  3. Kjs

    Kjs Guest our house anyone who calls after 8pm gets the riot act from husband. I don't think that time is late, but he does.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree with a curfew, but sometimes there are extraordinary circumstances, especially for teens. Or ones THEY think are extraordinary.

    easy child used to sometimes talk to a friend of hers who would ring up, suicidal. She would get upset and sometimes come and get me, because the kids always knew that if they had a nightmare or were upset in the night, to at least involve me rather than cry alone. No crying wolf, though! Sometimes easy child would persuade her friend to talk to me - it was worth it, in terms of my own needs, because I had a better chance of talking the girl down soon enough for us ALL to get some sleep.

    Also, difficult child 1's girlfriend sometimes calls in the middle of the night if she's really upset - had another bad fight with her mother in manic mode.

    And this morning, I was talking to easy child 2/difficult child 2 about arrangements for her birthday banquet. She said she's paying for her friend to come too, because friend can't afford it - friend might not even have anything to wear, because her mother has locked her out of the house and had the locks changed. We talked about the situation a bit more and really, this poor kid is trying to support her friend and also help mediate. Now, after today's chat, easy child 2/difficult child 2 is trying to think how she can get her friend to visit, so I can talk to her and try to come up with some responsible strategies (since her mother doesn't seem to be behaving very responsibly right now). The mother has a track record - any confrontation on the home front, she throws the kid out then changes the locks. And I base this on my own experience of the mother. She's unhappy, a bundle of emotions, and doesn't cope with a crisis at all. The daughter is going to have to be the mature one here - and I'm not sure easy child 2/difficult child 2 will be able to help on her own. Very sticky, and a valid reason for late night/early morning calls.

    Kids in their teens, especially PCs, are trying to develop their maturity. Of course, they still have a long way to go and yes, they do often show poor judgement, but they need to try, so they can learn. easy child will be tired, but if she has helped her friend she may feel at least partly justified in breaking the rules. If you can not shout at her but leave room for communication with her about it, she might be able to discuss with you, what was so all-fired important that it couldn't wait until a sensible time of day. I learnt that as soon as I got critical, the kid would clam up. But staying open meant I had a chance to help them find a better strategy for next time. So next time suicidal friend rang, easy child was able to pass on some of the comments I had given her, as well as talk to hr the next day to reassure herself that she was now OK. She also suggested that after a certain time of night, she call Lifeline (a reputable telephone counselling line) because then she'd be talking to an impartial, wide-awake adult instead of an exhausted friend.

    I have to be open to them, even though I do want them to get their sleep. The rules are - please try to avoid any incoming calls after 9.30 pm. If it's a matter of life or death and someone wants you to call, tell them for future reference to send you a text message to your mobile phone, and you ring them back from our phone. That way OUR sleep isn't disturbed by a ringing telephone next to our ear. And if you ARE on the phone at some appalling hour, keep it quiet so nobody's sleep is disturbed. And if the problem is too big a crisis for you to handle, wake MUM quietly, not Dad - he has to go to work in the morning, preferably not overtired. If he's overtired, it can mean the potential for some spectacularly nasty mistakes.

    I wouldn't recommend this except to parents of teens, preferably PCs, who are already trying to use the judgement we've given them, even if we don't think they're using it wisely. When we've tried to teach our kids to be compassionate and caring, it's hard to fault them, IF that is behind it all.
    And a crisis has to be a REAL crisis, not "OMG, I haven't got a THING to wear on the school excursion tomorrow!! And I do SO want Matt to notice me!!! Can I PLEASE, please borrow your velour sweater?" That is NOT justified at 3 am!

  5. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    That is true. Even at age 12, difficult child has had ONE really close friend. Lived near by, were attached at the hips for years. that boy's parents divorced and he moved away. He would come visit occasionally. He wrote a note in my basement saying that nobody notices him and he was going to kill himself. I first thought it was difficult child. After talking to difficult child found out it was his friend. I told difficult child to let him know anytime he is feeling sad, or thinking things like that he has permission to call you. Any time, day or night.
    This boys father still lives near by, I did show him the note at the time. The boy was there, and I told him I care to much about him to ignore something like this. He was upset that I told his dad. I couldn't ignore how he was feeling.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">3am is pretty extreme. I mean, what on earth do you need to talk to someone at that time about?? </div></div>

    Lisa, I mean this with tons of affection :flower:...

    ... I <span style="color: #FF0000">LAUGHED OUT LOUD</span> when I read the above quote...

    ...and saw that the time you wrote it says 3:43 AM......................

    ...... (it couldn't wait until morning?) :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Suz :princess:
  7. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    It does not apply to moms. We may talk at any time. :wink:
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think 3am is not reasonable. This summer I have told easy child the phone is done at 10:00-she has not been happy with me to say the least but I have held firm-you should see the death stares I get when I make her hand me the phone and her cell phone!

    I've also told her when school starts it will be much earlier than that!
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    The rules don't apply to parents who pay the bill. And who happen to be in the midst of menopause.

    I was thinking the same thing as I was typing the reply. :rofl: :rofl:

  10. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    Well I will just put in the lone vote saying I personally did not have a big objection to this. Few years ago, easy child was big into the on-line gaming thing. He played EverQuest with some buddies of his, and after midnight they would 3-way call each other and chat as they played.

    I was okay with it because I knew the other kids to be also PCs, mine had no committments for the next day, and he was home safe & sound. More than once, he fell asleep in the middle of a conversation! He had his own phone line, so it didn't interfere.

    Compared to the horrors I went thru with difficult child, I was pleased as punch that easy child was spending his time this way. :whew:

    I didn't make a big deal out of it, and it died a natural death. He laughs about it now, how much brain energy was 'wasted' on that game. I believe it helped to teach him something about limits for himself, and too much of a good thing. He got tired of it on his own (no pun intended) and let it go without a battle from me.

  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I have this argument with my difficult child all the time. She sleeps til 12-1 in the afternoon and it's because she's on the phone all night. We've gone through taking the phone away but honestly I've just given up. I put it into Basket C although it still makes me very angry. She too has summer reading assignments that are still not done and Ifigur e if she can spent that many hours on the phone she can spend a few on her books.

    At least she is hanging with good friends and not sneaking out at night.

  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I can remember my mother locking the phone in her bedroom so I couldn't talk after 10 pm. I'd happily be on the phone all night if I could get away with it. So, I'd say it is not all that unusual. However, I agree that she needs her sleep.

    Since she's a easy child, I assume she'll listen reason. Course, I was a easy child and listened to reason on most things but not talking my best friend and boy friend of the week on the phone forever, we had so many IMPORTANT things to discuss that we'd forgotten to discuss during the 8+ hours we spent together during the day. Maybe have the rule that no chatting after a set time unless it is a true emergency and define exactly what that emergency is.

    For now, I wouldn't worry too much that this means she is going to turn into more a rebellious teen than she already probably is. Some kids are attached to phones like a baby to mom's hip.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, husband thinks 3 is too late, too, and this isn't the first time she's done this. She missed getting a perfect score and a raise at work (she's a lifeguard) because she's always late ... guess why? Because she oversleeps.
    So, when husband and I go to bed, she can stay up and read, but she will have her cell ph, house ph, and Internet line removed.
    She can have them back when her projects are finished. I bet she's finished with-everything by Wed.

    We pay the bills. We make the rules. It's our house.
    So if we decide 8 p.m. or 5 a.m., she should respect us and not argue.

    And yes, those of us who have hotflashes are allowed to use the computer at all hrs! Plus, we still do our chores. Sigh.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    That's why I wish, in retrospect, that I had known to make a rule
    about cell phone use. By the time I found out that "everybody"
    talked on the darn things all night would have been
    WWII to yank the phone.

    Maybe I should write a book on setting rules for teens when they
    are in the nursery. DDD

    PS: Terry, if your kid ends up being a easy child adult everyone will think it is because you made rules and stuck to them. on the other hand if your easy child turns into a difficult child it is going to be because you made rules
    and weren't flexible enough. That's parenting for ya!
  15. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    It's that whole circadian rhythm and teenager thing. Many teens simply don't function on the same schedule as adults do. In this day and age of electronic communication, many teens are awake most of the night online or on the phone whether their parents know it or not. Others are sneaking out, the more common behavior before the electronic revolution.

    When my son was home all the time because of his anxiety/agoraphobia, he was up most of the night talking to people both in our time zone and on the other side of the world. My rule was that he get 8 hours of sleep at some point during the day. I didn't care when he slept, just so that when he slept it was a full "night's" sleep.
  16. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    curious, was it cell or house phone, incoming call or outgoing call? a crisis or emergency or just to chatter? someone she is very very close to or a casual acquaintance? Did the call wake anyone?
    Normally I am a nite person, a nite owl, always have been, worked 2nd and 3rd shift all my life since age 12, but I normally did not talk on phone all hours even then. Aw heck, I never talk on any phone ever if I do not HAVE to, I HATE phones. BUT all those things might maybe make a difference to me. My easy child at age 17 makes great grades, holds a job and is doing well, so I permit her to self regulate her phone calls, especially becuz her cell does not disturb anyone else in the house. - so- IF she IS talking all hours, it is not affecting anything that I can see. She gets herslef up on time and does what she needs to do.
  17. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The rules don't apply to parents who pay the bill. And who happen to be in the midst of menopause. </div></div>

    I agree on both counts, Lisa and Terry (but I'm still giggling! :biggrin:). Five out of 7 nights a week I'm on the computer in the middle of the night, too. The middle of the night phone usage ban for Rob was one of those situations when it was "do as I say, not as I do."

  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    curious, was it cell or house phone, incoming call or outgoing call?

    Cell phone. And she goes way over her limit every month so she has to pay half the bill, plus the overtime $. She has a house line in her rm and I have told her repeatedly to use it.

    a crisis or emergency or just to chatter?

    Just chatter.

    someone she is very very close to

    Yes, one of her close friends.

    so- IF she IS talking all hours, it is not affecting anything that I can see. She gets herslef up on time and does what she needs to do.

    Lucky you. As I said in an earlier note, easy child is late for everything and always tired. Sigh.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Different rules for different households. Certainly, different rules for different countries, because our phone billing system is probably very different to yours.

    Our younger kids have pre-paid phone cards and the phone is for emergency use only. Our mobile charges are ridiculously high, so the kids will use the land lines to talk to a friend on another land line - the mobile phones are used solely to set up a phone rendezvous.
    As they get older, the kids pay their own mobile phone bill entirely. As they feel they can handle it, they switch from pre-paid to a plan system, which is where they can risk a bill blow-out if they're not careful. But it's their choice, their money at this stage. They have to be legally adult to do this.

    The issue concerning late night phone calls often comes down to - can they still function normally? And that's where they have to have consequences. natural consequences. If a kid is sleeping in, I go in and wake them. With a spray bottle of water, if necessary, set on jet and shot straight up the inside of the pyjama leg. I do give a warning first, they know from experience that it's better to get up immediately and have dry pyjamas.
    If they are on a day off, I let them sleep a bit longer, but if I get them up and they're overtired because they were on the phone too late the night before - tough! Even if the call was for a good cause, such as counselling a friend, it's still - tough! You have to live your life and meet your responsibilities. If you find it's difficult, then you might think twice about taking/making that 3 am call next time.

    The problem, as Sara pointed out, is the circadian rhythm. Let them get into the habit of living like a bat is not going to help at all. They are awake in the middle of the night, they are bored, they want to chat. THAT is not on in our household. If they're doing it, the insistence on keeping a normal day-night wake-sleep pattern soon pushes them to make their own decisions in this. And, of course, the other rule - do not wake thy parents except it shall be for a darn good reason.

  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Spray bottle up to pj legs,huh? LOL!

    by the way, she finished her one book and paper and emailed it in on deadline.
    Now she had to finsh two more. She got the computer back to email the paper, but still doesn't have either phone back yet.