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#1 of 104 Old 08-22-2007, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my almost 14 year old (who is a full on teen) has a cell phone we pay for. He knows he is NOT allowed to use it when it isnt free except important reasons and NO text messages ever (too difficult to moniter and they cost a small fortune).

So this month's cell bill on his number is $322. 56. ALL text messages. All of them. 2200, to be exact. He also downloaded AIM and something else on his phone which he was not only instructed NOT to do, but we had to go in and remove it once already.

He basically blamed me, saying that I wouldn't pay the extra whatever to get him text messaging. Is totally and completely belligerant which I know is age appropriate so I am certainly not rising to the occasion or getting visibly upset.

But I dont really know how to instigate consequence. The money thing is HUUUGE, as we have almost double our normal bills this one month, coincidentally. And more importantly, he willfully and intentionally betrayed our rules (again!) and is nonchalant about it.
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#2 of 104 Old 08-22-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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Can he pay for his portion of the bill? Fourteen is old enough to have a job, in this state - you might check the labor laws in your state.

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#3 of 104 Old 08-22-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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Can you call and turn off the text messaging?

If he doesn't want to follow the rules, then maybe he doesn't need a phone. Make him pay for the overage on the bill.
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#4 of 104 Old 08-22-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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Can you work out something where he can pay for a text messaging package. These packages are usually only $15 per month for unlimited texting.

Is there a reason why you would NOT want to do this????
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#5 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 01:53 AM
 
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If you don't mind him having text messaging but don't want to pay for it, would you consider allowing him to cover the cost?

You may have very valid reasons, and if that is the case, I would probably take the phone away and allow him to have one of the phones that only calls certain numbers (parents cells, home, emergency etc) or make him responsible for the entire bill.

I don't have teens, but I was a teen not so long ago (I'm 28) and I believe some things are privlages and not rights. A cell phone seems to me to be a privlage in the social sence, but also a safety thing. By having a phone that only calls certain people, he has the safety part but not the social part.

Over all though, if he is a pretty respectful kid and this is the only real issue, maybe it would work to let him pay for the text package which might cut the bill dramatically.

Cell phones are hard in that you get billed when people call or text you, even if you don't initiate it. Also, it is hard to know when you go over your minutes since there is nothing keeping track other than the bill you get at the end of the month.
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#6 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 01:54 AM
 
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We had a similar issue, though it was a misunderstanding as opposed to defiance. I took the phone away with the exception of nights/weekends when it was free, and I had the text messaging disabled. Since most of the charges (but not all) were the result of misunderstaning, I only made them (dd and ds share a phone) pay for the calls and downloads that they knew they weren's supposed to do. After a month, I gave the phone back, and they know that if they do it again, the phone will go away completely for a month (including nights and weekends). No problems yet.

If I were you, I would remain very, very calm, and let him know the problems you have: the disobediance and the money issue. Don't argue, though he will try to engage, if he is like mine Stay strong and calm. Before talking to him, decide on what you want to do about the situation...do you want him to pay it or work it off? Lose the privilege of having the phone? And yes, a cell phone is a privilige, which most teens don't seem to understand. It isn't an inherent right.

Good luck!

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#7 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AbigailsMomSarah View Post
If you don't mind him having text messaging but don't want to pay for it, would you consider allowing him to cover the cost?

You may have very valid reasons, and if that is the case, I would probably take the phone away and allow him to have one of the phones that only calls certain numbers (parents cells, home, emergency etc) or make him responsible for the entire bill.

I don't have teens, but I was a teen not so long ago (I'm 28) and I believe some things are privlages and not rights. A cell phone seems to me to be a privlage in the social sence, but also a safety thing. By having a phone that only calls certain people, he has the safety part but not the social part.

Over all though, if he is a pretty respectful kid and this is the only real issue, maybe it would work to let him pay for the text package which might cut the bill dramatically.

Cell phones are hard in that you get billed when people call or text you, even if you don't initiate it. Also, it is hard to know when you go over your minutes since there is nothing keeping track other than the bill you get at the end of the month.
We have Cingular and can check our minutes and such online at anytime. As for texting, someone can text you but it will only charge if you read it...it's totally possible to not read/accept them.

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#8 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 02:23 AM
 
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Since you have talked to him about this, told him NOT to do it, make limits and boundaries, had past issues (had to take AIM off already), and he is being belligerent and blameful of you; take the phone away? : Try again in 6 months?
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#9 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 03:16 AM
 
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I agree with embers. Take the phone away. My daughter doesn't have texting either. She has been told that if she texts we are taking her phone away. She is also 14 and while no perfect angel by any right, she at least uses her phone wisely. If friends text her.. she tells them she is not allowed to text. She only calls people on her cell phone after 7 or on weekends. She has had it for almost three years now and we have never had a problem with her regarding the phone.

Your son has basically told you that if you don't buy him texting he is going to do it anyway. He doesn't care about the extra money and he thinks he is going to bully you into getting him a text plan.

I would say something like, "Son, I can see you aren't ready for the responsibility of a cell phone. This is a tool and not a toy. We will try again when you are ready to follow the rules."

Hey embers.. Where have you been?
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#10 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 08:47 AM
 
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I would take the phone away until he has paid off his portion of the bill. I would also disable the text feature until he is able and/or willing to pay to have texting in the future.

Kim , mom to Amanda (16):, William (13), and Annie (5)
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#11 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 08:52 AM
 
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I don't understand why texting in and of itself is bad. If it was me I'd put the kid on one of the pay as you go services and then tell them how many minutes they have and how often you will refill the minutes. If they use it up, oh well.
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#12 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 09:12 AM
 
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I'm another vote for taking it away - my daughter is 13 and has a prepaid cellphone. She is only allowed to use it to call me or her grandparents (it works out well that we live in a dead zone, so she couldn't use it from home to call her friends anyway!) and she knows that if she abuses it in any way it will be taken away immediately.
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#13 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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My two (13 & 15) have tracfones. I've told them that they need to show their responsibility with that cell phone access before I'll consider a family plan. I simply can't afford to have them run amuck with texting, paid calls, etc. They've been responsible, and I'm looking at the best deal I can get for a family plan at this point. My son has offered to pay for texting for the both of them if I change plans.

They both know that the consequence for cell phone abuse is a phone restricted to certain callers. Very not cool.
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#14 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by maya44 View Post
Can you work out something where he can pay for a text messaging package. These packages are usually only $15 per month for unlimited texting.

Is there a reason why you would NOT want to do this????
Yes....he has a *habit* of talking to people he doesn't know. We had to take away his Myspace account for that reason...just total refusal to follow any rules. But then he would just take numbers of friend of friends and spend half the night on the phone with So and So from Wherever, whom he does not know. Texting is impossible to track. If he deletes them, they are not retrievable and frankly, I don't think he makes great decisions in that regard. We let him have the IM on the computer (we do have ability to track that if we need to).
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Your son has basically told you that if you don't buy him texting he is going to do it anyway. He doesn't care about the extra money and he thinks he is going to bully you into getting him a text plan.

I would say something like, "Son, I can see you aren't ready for the responsibility of a cell phone. This is a tool and not a toy. We will try again when you are ready to follow the rules."
Yes, this is what I am afraid it comes down to.

It just feels so CRAPPY to not be able to trust him not to abuse privleges. And of course he spends all his time complaining that we never let him do anything...which is SO not true.

He 100% insists this is all my fault and he has no blame, because I didn't get the text package like he *told me to*. He takes no responsibility for his actions and that's been a problem for a long time.

My thought was to tell him that I am disappointed and dont feel he is ready for the cell phone. He will have a schedule of work to do to pay off the bill (yard work, trash, etc). Once he has shown diligence and responsibility with paying it off, he can get the phone back with texting disabled (if verizon does this) and he will sign a contract about the rules and rights of the phone use.

?
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#15 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:25 AM
 
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I would take away the phone. When he pays back eveything he owes you, then you can have a conversation about whether he is mature and responsible enough to get the phone back.
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#16 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:36 AM
 
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You can have texting blocked for that phone - with AT&T you can log in to your account online and do it, or you can call and have it blocked. My ds pays for his own unlimited text package ($20/month). In your case, with his blatant disregard for your rules, I would simply take the phone away. It is a priviledge, not a right.
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#17 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh you have 3 boys, too!!

Yes, i agree with you all. I know the phone is being taken away. We've tried to be more lenient on him recently due to other issues and some recognition of room for better parenting on our part. But this is just not one of those things that has a lot of wiggle room once you have abused it like this.

THe phone has to go.

And on to the next issue:

I KNOW he will say that he is not going to do anything to pay back the money unless we give him the phone first. He makes terrorist-like demands when he doesn't like how things go. "You give me what I want first". Ugh. So I'm thinking this might get into a pissing contest. Ultimately, he is not getting phone until I am satisfied that he will agree to follow the rules AND he has worked off the $322 bill he created. And that's all I can do.

We'll survive this teenager thing, right? Right? Right??
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#18 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:51 AM
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We'll survive this teenager thing, right? Right? Right??
I'd say the odds are in your favor

I originally was going to post to say just get the silly $15 text package- OIY. I see why that is not a good idea with your ds.
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#19 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd say the odds are in your favor

I originally was going to post to say just get the silly $15 text package- OIY. I see why that is not a good idea with your ds.
Just posting a reply to save you from killing one more thread.
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#20 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 11:45 AM
 
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This is why my 14 year old daughter does not currently have a cell phone-I personally think she does not have the maturity for it. My nearly 17 year ole-uses it to aoccaialnly text freinds and to check in with me. Sallie
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#21 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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OK, after reading more of your posts, I'd say the phone must go away.

Seriously, I'd look into having him get a real job (where he works for someone other than a relative, gets paid, has to be at work at a certain time, etc).

And I'd have him pay you back for the text bill a certain percentage of his paycheck at a time (20%? 50%? 10%? you decide what is best for your family).

I think that being responsible for actually earning the money to pay the bill might go a long way.

When he's paid back the bill, then I'd allow him to get a phone again. With texting disabled.

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#22 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, after reading more of your posts, I'd say the phone must go away.

Seriously, I'd look into having him get a real job (where he works for someone other than a relative, gets paid, has to be at work at a certain time, etc).

And I'd have him pay you back for the text bill a certain percentage of his paycheck at a time (20%? 50%? 10%? you decide what is best for your family).

I think that being responsible for actually earning the money to pay the bill might go a long way.

When he's paid back the bill, then I'd allow him to get a phone again. With texting disabled.
This is what I basically sent to DH in an email a little while ago. The problem is that he is not old enough to work and we have exhausted all family jobs this summer. I'm going to send out a mass email to family, as long as he agrees to it. I bet for really cheap labor they can come up with something.

Unless he refuses. Grrrrr.
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#23 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 12:22 PM
 
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I don't know about 'forcing' him into a job for a long-suffering family member, which he then does, if at all, with a very bad attitude.

I'd take the phone away, because of the blackmail (get me what I want or I'll take it) and because of the safety issue.

I'd say I would 'consider' a phone again if I saw a change in the behavior that concerned me, and describe the change I wanted to see, i.e. finding a way to pay for the unexpected bill and demonstrating responsible behavior including safe internet and phone usage. One step towards that change would be him coming to you with a plan as to how he will earn the money to pay you back for the bill. But he has to come up with the plan - that's not your job.
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#24 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 12:33 PM
 
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I'd take the phone away too.

With my older boys the only phone we ever got them was a prepaid one. I wasn't going to get into any trouble that way (and I remember being a teen too and know how easy it is to get into problems ). My oldest son (now 19) just got himself a "real" cell phone as he calls it and when the bill came he was shocked (not my responsibility anymore, he'll have to deal with the bill himself) and was complaining about all the "hidden charges".

I know now I made the right choice with the prepaid.
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#25 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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So this month's cell bill on his number is $322. 56. ALL text messages. All of them. 2200, to be exact. He also downloaded AIM and something else on his phone which he was not only instructed NOT to do, but we had to go in and remove it once already.
I'm fond of texting myself, but 2200 messages in a month??! That is over 70 a day! That sounds pretty obsessive to me...

Take away the phone, and when you are ready to let him have a phone again, get a prepaid fo which you both agree on a monthly allowance of minutes.
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#26 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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So my almost 14 year old (who is a full on teen) has a cell phone we pay for. He knows he is NOT allowed to use it when it isnt free except important reasons and NO text messages ever (too difficult to moniter and they cost a small fortune).

So this month's cell bill on his number is $322. 56. ALL text messages. All of them. 2200, to be exact. He also downloaded AIM and something else on his phone which he was not only instructed NOT to do, but we had to go in and remove it once already.

He basically blamed me, saying that I wouldn't pay the extra whatever to get him text messaging. Is totally and completely belligerant which I know is age appropriate so I am certainly not rising to the occasion or getting visibly upset.

But I dont really know how to instigate consequence. The money thing is HUUUGE, as we have almost double our normal bills this one month, coincidentally. And more importantly, he willfully and intentionally betrayed our rules (again!) and is nonchalant about it.
I haven't read any responses, so I may repeat others.

The phone would disappear. Gone. He would be doing extras around the house to help pay for the bill. The fact that this isn't the first time he has abused the phone rules show he isn't mature enough to handle the resonsibilities that go along with a phone.

You can call the cell phone company and have all media features removed/blocked. We have a cell for our kids to use when they are out without us and the first thing we did was block the media package. They can't download from the website, text, or anything media.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#27 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 01:07 PM
 
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I KNOW he will say that he is not going to do anything to pay back the money unless we give him the phone first. He makes terrorist-like demands when he doesn't like how things go. "You give me what I want first". Ugh. So I'm thinking this might get into a pissing contest. Ultimately, he is not getting phone until I am satisfied that he will agree to follow the rules AND he has worked off the $322 bill he created. And that's all I can do.

We'll survive this teenager thing, right? Right? Right??
Honestly.....he would lose all priveleges if he pulled that tactic at my house. He would be confined to the house and school....nothing else.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#28 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm fond of texting myself, but 2200 messages in a month??! That is over 70 a day! That sounds pretty obsessive to me...

Take away the phone, and when you are ready to let him have a phone again, get a prepaid fo which you both agree on a monthly allowance of minutes.
Well, he downloaded the AIM for the phone so he "chats" in text. And he was not only told NOT to, but he did it before and we deleted it from his phone and gave him a second chance.
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#29 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 02:27 PM
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Just posting a reply to save you from killing one more thread.

OMG- I do kind of have a bad reputation in that area And I try so hard not to!

Thanks for noticing- really it made my day that at least someone on here knows at least something about me :
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#30 of 104 Old 08-23-2007, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well, THAT went horribly. yikes.
:

I waited until he was in a good mood and offered him the opportunity to earn the money to pay us back.

ha!

He laughed in my face and told me the only way he would pay us for the bill is if we gave him his phone back AND pay for the extra text messaging package. I told him I don't give into "terrorist-like demands" (which was, admittedly, HORRIBLE wording that I apologized for). He wanted sooo badly to argue with me about irrelevant and abstract things because I simply would not take the bait for an argument. He was livid.

So he stormed upstairs and began calmly and methodically putting holes in the wall in his room. Nice. At first I went to confront him and tell him to stop ruining my house but he was very sarcastic and calm and told me it was stress relief so I realized he was trying to bait me some more.

So I went downstairs. Called my BFF for advice (he's a mental health counselor for troubled teens...lucky me!). And here we are. Phone is being shut off, bill will be paid, and if he wants a phone or $ for the movies or the mall or anything else, he'll get it when he pays us back.

And YES I am making it easy for him to do that (a list of chores and yardwork with a $$ amount attached to each, he can do it as he pleases).

So, what? 2, 3 more years? Aye-yi-yi.
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