cell phone


New Member
My 13 year old difficult child is desperately seeking my approval (and funds) for a cell phone. I think it is a status thing for him..."all my friends have one"... He said he would pay for part of it, but I'm really against it. I said he could use mine (which is a pay-by-the minute type because I don't really use it all that often to justify a monthly service). Anyways, what have others done? My argument against it is that he needs permission to go places and if he is where he is supposed to be, he should not need a phone. If he wants one to chat with friends, he will be spending a fortune every month. I want to put off a phone til he is about 16.

any thoughts either way would be appreciated!


Active Member
What's your concern if he pays for it himself? If you don't have any beyond him spending his own money, sometimes it's good to let them find out about the $ aspect themselves. Personally I think it's good to allow some discretionary spending of money they've earned earned or received for gifts if there's no harm or doesn't clash with your values. I talk through the pros and cons if it's something I'm not all in favor of. We talk about ways they can make their money stretch by watching for sales, using coupons, etc. There's a lot of good lessons here.

What we did is buy a cheapie Tracfone ($20) and put a one year card on it for the times that my son does legitimately need it. Any chatting time he would want to do would be on his own dime. He's not a phone type so it's not an issue.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
We gave in to cell phones when the girls began going out without us being a chaperone or driver. When they went to games or outings with friends or other families, they were each respectively around 15 and that's when they got thier cell phones. Before that, there really wasn't a need and I've never really been a mom who gives in because "everyone else has one". H has difficult child on his family plan and since my cell is covered by my work, I pay for easy child's cell. Does your difficult child have a consistent income that can afford the monthly expense; and what if he downloads ringtones or songs, etc? Will he pay for that extra cost?

I think it's a personal choice and only you can know if your difficult child is ready and responsible. difficult child has lost her cell a couple of times due to her own stupidity and irresponsible behavior and also for downloading ringtones, which was strictly forbidden by H. easy child lost hers twice because her stupid exbf abused the privilege...long story.


Active Member
I know some people are against it...but my three girls have one. I want to know where they are. They don't abuse it, and they answer when I call. We also have code words for when they want to come home. They call us when they are uncomfortable or ready to come home and say, what time do I have to be home. We then reply, actually I was just going to call you. Daddy or Mommy (whomever) is on they way to get you now. It has made my anxiety much less. I guess if they go over on minutes or texts we would have to limit the phone to only when then leave the house.


Going Green
My husband and I are thinking of getting difficult child a phone but it will be very restricted. husband works for a cell provider and says we can get a cheapie phone (or possibly an old one we already have) and program it so it only calls 911, our house and our individual cell phones. We may allow one other number in case he can't reach us but that's it. That way he has it if he needs it, and we can also reach him if we need to. He doesn't really go anywhere either and I think he just wants one to show his friends but we're considering it. For you that sounds like something to check into for your difficult child. According to husband, it's pretty cheap to do (I think you can add it on as a companion line type of thing) especially if you have a phone that no one is using.


Well-Known Member

We put it off as long as we could but finally gave in when she was 14. She had the cell for about 8 months and we took it away due to misuse. She did not stay within her minutes and she used the phone to lie about where she was. mShe broke just about every rule that we gave for the privilege of having a cell phone so it was obvious she was not mature enough.

difficult child finally earned a cell phone last months after being without one for 10 months. She is now 15 1/2 and a lot more mature. We let her know that the minute she goes over her minutes or texts she hands the phone over to us until the start of the next billing cycle. Also if she misuses the phone in any way she will lose it.

I love her having the cell because I can always get in touch with her, but she also has to learn the responsibilities with having a cell.

You may want to start out with a prepaid phone and see how he does, if he handles it well then perhaps put him on a family plan with you. Don't lock yourself into a long term contract until you are confident he will not abuse it. If handled properly it can be a huge incentive for him, especially if he helps pay for it.



Active Member
I recently heard about some easy to use phones with some basic functions and large keys.


I guess the reason it stuck in my mind is because our kid phone has tiny numbers which are really hard to press. I'm hanging onto my old thick tracfone because it's so easy to find and the numbers are raised and easy. The other day I had it in my hand when making an order and the college student who was helping me commented that he hadn't seen one like that in ages and he wouldn't mind having one of those "retro" cell phone models himself. ;-)

Maybe that's the answer. Get your difficult child's old bulky models that they won't be cool enough to pull out unless they're really desperate. :smile:


New Member
My girls got cell phones when oldest bgan o have major panic ttacks and school had no pay phones anymore and altho er IP said she could call ome, none ofthe ofices ever let her. Letting her have ell many times gave her to secure feeling to be able to go back to class after calling me.
Prior o that had only a pay as you go, and I bought the smallest # of mins and never used all my mins....More and more I was running into a problem that lots of families here either gave up their house phones, or were running internet and I could not ever get thru to get to my kids by phone when they went to their friends houses. We were also having difficulties becuz my easy child would stay after school- and there would be no way for her to call when she was ready to get picked up. Again, no payphones anymore at school and the offfice refuses to permit any students to use school phones- even if the kids miss the bus!
SOOooooo we caved when the girls were like 15 and 16 or so? We got a family plan, share our minutes, we can call each other for free.
To my horror, the early bills were out of this world! I threatened that everyone would be permanantly grounded, cuz by then we had become quite dependant on the cells------they DID make life LOTS easier. BUT aw heck, my husband and I are both on soc sec disability and we have been for many many many years------and we got a couple $800 cell bills!!!!!!
With some VERY strong threats- the bills came down considerably. The novelty wore off-------occasionally we get weird charges------but for the most part it has settled down fine. I have heard many people say the same thing-----you do tend to get a coule super shocking impossible to pay bills, but........

My lil guy did NOT get one of the family phones cuz the limit where we got them was 4 and he woulda been #5. But at the time he did not yet go out and about. BUT not the christmas that just went by but the one before, when he was 10, we broke down and got him a pay as you go. ($15) -and like me he is NOT a phone person.......his minutes last till expiration date...and it has been GREAT for Reaching him. The big rule is if you do not answer when mom calls- your phone gets yanked, and if you do not have your phone, you may not leave the house. My dtrs were put out cuz their lil bro was younger when he got a cell----oh I am so mean cuz they were older before I caved in. LOL. BUT------his friends houses seemed to especially not be reachable by phone once he DID begin going out and about. AND it is often becuz of the girls that I hafta call son and change his plans last minute, LOL-----

I did fear kids losing them...or breaking them.......my easy child would lose her head if it were not attached-----and my son well, seems all he has to do is LOOK at things and they break.......but- it has not been a problem.
Forget the kids-- MY peace of mind with being able to reach them ALWAYS has been well worth the cost and then some. Yeah, I choked on the thought and those first bills nearly caused me to die of shock.....
and NO, we are not into lots of gadgets, I still use a VCR and I still use a cassette player to listen to music------I do not have a digital camera, I do not have a computer (I use a 10 yr old lowly Web TV) but the cell has been absolutely wonderful. LOL- my house phone is not even cordless- I am so not into tech and gadgets.....

I am old world, and 47 years old and yeah to me, hey walk over to your friends, and hey go outside and PLAY.....but------I have not regretted biting the bullet and arming mykids with cell phones.


New Member
I know with cingular, you can call and take text messaging and downloading abilities off whichever phones you want. I did that to my kids when they were abusing the text messaging and downloading songs all the time. Now my daughter works and if she goes over, she pays me for it, and my difficult child, now 19, ventured out of the family talk and got his own cell phone and bill, so if he goes over, nobody else has to worry about it but himself :smile:

I like knowing where they are and being able to get ahold of them. Especially my daughter now that she drives. I would take away her car before I would take away her phone.


Well-Known Member
Under the circumstances, if he really wants it, I would let him get his own pay as you go phone. He'll learn how to manage it himself. I wouldn't give a kid a penny for a cell phone, but that's just me. If they want it, they have to pay for it themselves, and that doesn't include bugging me for odd jobs to earn extra money for it. They should be helping around the house without me calling it "employment".


New Member
difficult child was working at 15 and paid for his own "go phone". I wanted him to be sure to learn the value of a minute! every payday, he bought a $30 minute card and I paid for $5 of it as I "owned" that $5 worth of minutes with him having to check in and my calling if he didn't. he was made aware that husband or me could happen by any of the places he said he was at any time and if he was not where he said he was, that would result in phone use being revoked even if he did pay for the phone (we allowed him to have it). after 2 years of paying for his own minutes, we added him to our plan which is cheaper and he does pay for his portion-he definitely learned the value of those minutes when he had to buy them and they are more expensive than plan minutes but there was no way in hades that i was gonna put him on my plan until he understood that minutes were not free.

good luck with this-all kids want 'em-my 10 yr old niece is begging my sister for one and she is having to deal with "MOM says NO!"


New Member
in our case, the whole cell phone issue was what caused a three ton blowout 2 weeks ago with difficult child. he insisted he had to have one. (he's 14). why, we asked. Because everyone has one. Not a reason to have one. But i have the money. Okay, then you buy a go phone and the minutes to learn responsibility. when the minutes run out, it will be up to you to either buy more minutes or earn a new card through chores or whatever. I won't need more minutes. I just want the phone to take pictures. Okay, then buy a camera because you don't need a camera phone. Can't bring the camera phone to school either - its a rule in the handbook. I'm above the rules and they don't apply to my friends either was the response. Okay, squash the conversation for the evening as we are going nowhere fast. difficult child shut down, major meltdown ensued complete with police, ambulance...etc.

Cell phone issue over. difficult child will not be getting one with or without his money until more important issues get resolved.

The whole "everyone has one" line needs to be abolished as i for one am so sick of hearing it :crazy:


timer lady

Queen of Hearts
kt's coming home within the next month or so. I brought up the cell phone issue at our last therapist appointment. We all agreed that, for kt, we were going to purchase the Firefly phone, that can be programmed.

It's more for kt's anxiety level than to keep in touch with friends. There will be no text messaging, camera or music downloads. A basic phone for keeping in touch.

I think that it depends on the level of maturity & the reason for the cell phone. I never thought I'd be looking into a cell for my children until they could afford to buy their own minutes.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
easy child has had a cell for about two years. I like knowing she can reach me whenever she needs to and that I can reach her too.


New Member
MY easy child has the bells and whistles, and she pays for those herself. My son calls only me. (or dad) Oldest difficult child has free nites and weekends....and she is a nite owl- as are her friends-- so she talks but she does so at nite. I pay the base bill.
I think without the cells I would never have been able to keep up with the doctor visits to eye surgeon etc.....cuz I would not have been able to keep as close touch with home.
I toyed with the idea of firefly for son, but- for us for our circumstances, the cheapest pay as you go worked out great, perfect.


Well-Known Member
I have also seen commercials on tv for some cell phone thru disney. Evidently you can program minutes, hours when they are allowed to use them...such as after school and before bedtime, features they are allowed to use, gps tracking, etc. That sounded interesting but I dont know if it would be available in all areas. I think it would be a good feature for a younger kid though.


Well-Known Member
I've seen the Disney phones. They are available everywhere but you have to look for a dealer in your area. They are neat because you can program whether they can receive text messages and who you can call and you can even track them to see if they are where they should be at any given time. I considered this for difficult child but I knew she would be embarrassed. I'm not sure your son would go for it since it is pretty juvenile. I wish they would put those features on regular phones. I would love to be able to track my difficult child or cut off her texts.