What Would You Do? Cell Phone Dilemna

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by LoneStar14, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    Your difficult child has a cell phone and using it past time allowed. Its taken away. difficult child finds it and uses it. Do you...

    a. Cancel the phone and pay the heft penalty?
    b. Suspend the phone until difficult child gets it back 'legally'?
    c. Tell difficult child they can use it until the wee hours of the night as long as they get a job and pay for it?
    d. Something else?

    Am I bonkers or is the other person? Or maybe both of us. I said (b) and an advisor said (c). Am I dealing with these kind of issues correctly in the difficult child world? Am I making any sense?
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Could you take it away and keep it with you so he can't find it? Otherwise I would probably do b.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I have questions about each option:

    With (b), how would difficult child earn back the phone legally? Who would pay for the time used over the limit?

    With (c), how could you ensure that difficult child would earn enough money to pay for the time he runs up on his cell phone talking all night long?

    Who is this advisor (a friend, a mental health professional)?
    How old is difficult child?
    What is his diagnosis?
    Is it possible to buy a cell phone plan that only allows a certain number of minutes per month?
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I've had cell phone issues with my difficult child- but I got him a pay-as-you-go phone and started him with a card I got for him but he had to use his own money to buy the mins., unless I "rewarded" him by buying him one. Anyhow, he has lost his privilege with it right now.
    In the situation you describe, if this is the first offense, I would take it away, pay the fines, not give the phone back until the fines are reimbursed to you by his/her money, chores, etc., then he/she would have to contribute somehow to the cost of the phone in order to get it back and keep it.
    If it is not the first offense and this is an older tennager- sorry, they are on their own with this one, they don't get it back. They can find a way to pay for their own.
    Just my 2 cents!

    Oh, I just read your post again and realized that this is apparently someone else's difficult child. I'm not sure what is meant by "the kid gets the phone back legally" but it appears to me that a lesson would be learned and the kid would be taking responsibility by either option 'b' or 'c'.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We have confiscated Miss KT's phone many, many times for using more than her share of minutes (we have four of us on a family plan), for unauthorized downloads of games and ringtones, and for general unacceptable behavior. Hubby keeps it in his car when it's out of use so she can't find it. We used to take it from her at night because she was up half the night chatting. The chatting didn't bother me, the fact that she was overtired and a major pain in the tookus the next morning did.
  6. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    We took it away and though we hid it where it couldn't be found. To difficult child's credit, it was only used one day when we found out a whole bunch of stuff that was going on with some friends. difficult child was trying to find out how his friend was doing. He hasn't used it since.

    No extra time was being run up. Its same-provider calls and texting covered under one plan. The cost isn't a concern (its all covered under a family plan) as much as him thinking that he can stay up all hours (calls up to 1-2 a.m.) of the night and not getting any sleep. From there it would be he could do whatever he wanted as long as he paid for it.

    difficult child would earn the phone back "legally" by us giving it to versus him just taking it. Advisor is a spiritual advisor we're working with along with the medical professionals.

    difficult child is 15. diagnosis ADHD--emphasis on highly hyperactive. Until the new and disturbing developments over the weekend, I would have said ODD. Since there's but a cut-off with these friends, he's been more like his old self with normal ADHD difficult child issues.

    I was so proud of myself that that I didn't overreact and just yank the line. But then I thought about how he showed restraint and he was trying to get hold of his friend. This was the day that the *@!# hit the fan and a whole bunch of stuff came out. He's back to his old self and we're getting therapy to help us work out through the other issues.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'd give more credence to a medical professional and less to a spiritual advisor, if you find yourself not in full agreement. And I'm not at all anti-spiritual, I've also used spiritual advisors in my time but it's just that in my experience, spiritual advisors can have their drawbacks. They may not be professionally trained as counsellors (I don't count Bible college as counselling training); they may have a spiritual agenda rather than a medical one; the waters in general can be muddy.

    Or they could be brilliant. But it's like a science textbook we had when I was a kid. The text G was a good read, it was enjoyable, but occasionally there were mistakes. Text K, on the other hand, was dry and dull, but always accurate.
    Our science teacher said to us, "I've got you lot well trained. When you notice a discrepancy between G and K, you immediately assume G is wrong. Well done!"

    I'm the same with spiritual advisors.

  8. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    We had the download problem before but we had the phone company block access on this phone. By suspending it, we don't have to worry about hiding it or him finding it. Until we reactivate it, its just a nice paperweight.

    If he could stay up talking/texting until the wee hours, he would. Kids don't realize how it affects them the next morning. They think they can still function but they can't and as you said, a pain in the tookus.

    I just couldn't believe that was the advice we were given. In my experience, if you give a difficult child a cookie, he's going to take the whole batch, eat it in his room and then get upset you didn't bring him milk...and no, he didn't eat the rest of the chocolate chips--how did the bag get in his room?
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Hmmmm... my house, my rules. Here's my 2 cents:

    I'd remove the battery, or the SIM card and lock it up somewhere.

    Then I'd set up a plan for difficult child to earn back the privilege. As well as a moving-forward plan for how to maintain the privilege.

    You might also consider a pay-as-you-go phone. That way when the time has run out, there's no using the phone until someone ponies up the cash for more calls.

    Good luck!
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    We blocked all internet access & texting capabilities from kt's cell phone. She ran over her minutes one month & lost her phone priviledges for 2 weeks along with a bunch of chores. Mind you, we didn't get charged for those minutes (we had plenty on the family plan) however we've been trying to teach kt responsibility. Plus her phone was bought for one reason - to stay in touch with home while she is out in the community, call her PCA if separated while in the community, family & her therapist. She can talk with her friends (the lion's share of minutes) on the land line.

    Having said that, I would, as another suggested, make the phone a paper weight. I'm not beyond that - did it for 2 weeks with kt & will do it again.

    Is your difficult child aware of the number of minutes he has to use? I check kt's minutes daily & make her aware of what she has used & what she has left. Help her work out the minutes per day (it's a good math exercise). by the way, kt sits here & watches me check her minutes - you should see the girl sweat. She hates "the cell check".

  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    If I understand you correctly, it's not a matter of using up minutes but rather using the phone late at night?

    Seems like a pretty easy solution to me. Take the phone at night. When my easy child was your difficult child's age, and perhaps a little younger as well, her lap top and cell phone were placed on a dresser in our hall at 9 every night. Otherwise she would have stayed on myspace. Now at 17 I don't worry about it because she is responsible.

    I would have him earn it back and then set a time when the phone must be placed in a common area of the house or in your hands. I don't think it's unreasonable that Sun through Thur he has a time limit. I allowed easy child to keep her phone and laptop on Fri and Sat nights.

    You set the house rules and he has to follow them. Let him know that here are the rules. You either follow them or the cell phone is gone until you are mature enough to get a job and pay for it yourself. Stick to principles.

  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Ditto on Sharon's answer. Just have a "turn in time" when he gets home or the time that you want the talking and texting to stop.

    If he refuses to turn it over, then he loses a day for every 10 mins. that he runs over the time that you want it back.

    My opinion? There's a phone in the house. Once you come through the door, there's no reason to have the cell phone. Then again, I hate the phone AND I don't have teenagers! :crazy1:

  13. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Kids abuse cell phones. It's the nature of the beast. For a first offense, taking it away for a reasonable amount of time is fair. The second time of overuse would have the child paying for the extra charges. However, your son crossed a major line to me -- he took the phone when it was off limits to him. That would be the end of a cell phone on my dime. If he wanted a cell phone, he could get his own. However, time rules would still apply and if used when not allowed, it would be confiscated no matter who paid for it.

    My daughter managed to rack up quite a bit in charges in downloads. Downloading was made unavailable on her phone. Then texting came along -- she went over the allotted texts. The first time, I paid it, carefully explained how our plan worked and let it go. The second time, we had a garage sale of HER things to pay for the bill and texting was blocked. So, she presently has a very nice, expensive phone that has every capability imaginable but can only be used as a phone and a camera. The nice thing is I know exactly how much my cell phone bill will be monthly.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have had to deal with this issue several times. I have done both a and b. The first time I cancelled the service and paid the termination charges. But that was probably not smart because eventually we got her another cell phone and it would have been cheaper to just suspend it. The second time I suspended the service but found they still charge you the monthly service charge even during the suspension. This last time I just took the phone away and locked it up and left the service on. We just gave it back to her Sunday after two months but we took texting off.

    You may want to check into your provider to see if they have the service that allows you to turn off the cell or at least texting at a certain time of day. AT&T has that feature for a monthly service charge. I wish my provider had it.

    I have found that the kids text far more than actually call each other. My difficult child had 6,000 texts in a little over two weeks. She was texting all night long and then falling asleep in class. I'm not sure if she will ever get texting back and if she does I am seriously considering switching to a provider who has the suspension feature that I can control.


    P.S. They can go into any target or walmart and buy a cell phone for $10 and then buy a phone card for minutes and they have access to a phone and texting that you don't even know about. There is no monthly charge or contract to sign. My difficult child did that and spent over $50 in a two week period before she learned that her call and texting habits were too expensive. It was a good lesson for her.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's a good point about there being a phone in the house. I'm not sure how phone calls get billed for you in the US, but for us, the house phone is cheaper, we get unlimited time on local calls, one low flag fall charge per call. The kids (older ones) have their mobile phones handy but only use them at home for sending and receiving text messages. Frankly our mobile reception is poor and voice calls aren't always reliably connected with mobiles. We generally can only take a mobile voice call while standing in the middle of the driveway, or worse yet - the street.

    I like the turn-in time idea. I wouldn't punish for going over the minutes time (unless there is a penalty fee). Going over the limit brings its own consequences. But talking past curfew - I'd definitely withdraw phone access time in response, as suggested.

    difficult child 3 checks his own phone credit, to let us know if it's about to expire or run out (we have time limit on phone credits - I'm not impressed with our phone companies). He has the phone with him when he goes out, but once he's home it goes back on the charger and isn't used. He's responsible because he's so obsessive.

  16. dirobb

    dirobb I am a CD addict

    weve had to take away the phone on more than one occassion. It stays with us during the day. she was texting at school. When we first got it they phone service didnt have the plan they have now. ATT have 'smart limits' for a fee lets you go online to manage limits on time and texting and whom they can call and receive calls from. I will be adding this soon. Exactly what I wanted to begin with. We have the pone blocked. but if some one knows her number they can text her, she cant text back but not the point.
    I am not in agreement with a pay as you go, for ours at least. she was used to begging people to buy her extra minutes when she lived with biomom. And as for a teenager purchasing their own phone. For us I think it would open a whole can of worms. Entitlement..my phone i can use it whenever, however. Personally not a battle I want to fight. If you can enforce your rules without the battle then that could be a good solution.
    I just think we as parents are damned no matter what we do. But you know your difficult child best. out of your suggestions what would instill the responsibility of handling the consequenses best. He did take the phone when it was off limits (even if he was checking on his friend). Trust is a big issue in our home. Lots of setbacks. But I think it is more than just a phone issue. it is directly disobeying. He had lost the phone for misusing it to begin with.
    but I thing that is a big difficult child issue anyhow. Why should I be punished I dont think I did anything wrong. None of that applies to them. So they do what they feel like because?????
    Man, am I a ray of sunshine. Sorry for the rambling. These pesky battles just drive me crazy. Hopefully you can find a solution that works for you. We keep trying.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I want to make clear, I am not in favor of the pay as you go plans. I was shocked when I found difficult child had purchased one and that there is no age limit. We wanted to confront her and take it away but I found it from snooping and she did pay for it with her own money that she made working so we dicided to wait and see what happened. As it turns out she discovered very quickly that her whole paycheck was going to buy minutes so it was a natural consequence that we couldn't teach her ourselves. The whole pay as you go thing worried me because we could not track her calls if something happened. That's why it was better for us that she earn hers back. It's just good to know that those phones are out there and our difficult child's can get their hands on them if they want.

  18. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would definitely insist he give you the phone each night when he goes to bed. Keep the charger in your room, even. I had to do this with Youngest for awhile, as well.
  19. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    Wow! I didn't know about this. We have AT&T. When he gets his phone back...Thanks! You guys are great!!!!! There are so many good suggestions.

    We did (a) before and he paid the charges for cancellation. We ended up getting him another one for the same reasons you did.
  20. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    He knows I do this also. Whenever he gets caught with things like this he says he knows he's going to get caught but he does it anyway. He knows he shouldn't but doesn't know why he does it. One of the things we're going to work with the docs once we get to see one.