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DS broke my phone :(

(30 Posts)
bidibidi Sun 09-Dec-12 16:33:46

Apologies for stupidly long story:

It was my favourite although not often used because iffy reception on its network (couldn't unlock to put it on another network).

DS 13: I forgot he wanted to go to Games Workshop this morning. At 9:10 DH says to DS:

"I guess you're not going since you just missed the train? I think it just went at 9:08."
DS panic, gets DH to look up time, DH thinks it's 9:20.
I quickly drive DS to station, he didn't come out after a few minutes so I assumed he had caught train, drove home.
DH says "Did he really catch the train? I was confused when I told him 9:20, it was really 9:08."
Ten minutes later DS rings (having borrowed my phone in the rush out the door) to say train not appearing, he then asks me for lift to city (35 miles roundtrip). I say no because I think he has to learn to organise himself and I don't want to set wrong precedent. DS hangs up & 2 minutes later rings again to fume at me & DH, then tells me he will smash the phone.

It was smashed up & broken beyond repair by time he got back home. sad.

It's not a special phone, would cost maybe £20 to replace.
If he had smashed up his own phone I would merely dock his Christmas gift pile by £20 and forget about it.
But since it's MY FAVOURITE phone my first impulse was to refuse to get him anything else for Christmas, so about a £60 loss for him.

DH wants to stop DS from having any electronic game/device access for 2 weeks. Which sounds like an absolute fanny to police. I think if I was being objective I would just dock him £20 of Christmas gifts. And forget about it. But I was in tears, I quite liked that phone.

DS is quite remorseful now, asking how he can make it up to me instead of losing all Christmas gifts. He is trying to give me his phone instead but that's not a solution, because I don't want him going places far away without a phone (like his school, 10 miles away).


Loshad Sun 09-Dec-12 21:02:53

That is a horrendous thing for him to do, i would be beyond cross with him.
Quite frankly i would be implicating way more consequences than many have suggested. He smashed your phone in a premeditated act. Really worrying.
It would be a definite long term removal of gaming privileges, way more than 2 weeks, and i would stop him going to games workshop for a bit - he has to realise that actions like his are totally unacceptable, and without wishing to scare you if replicated could end him up in the criminal justice system.

SavoyCabbage Sun 09-Dec-12 21:15:07

I agree with BigTilly. All of it.

He shouldn't need homework incentives. It's his job to do his homework in the same way as he has to brush his teeth and you have to go to work to pay the bills.

Astelia Sat 15-Dec-12 09:50:58

The wilful destruction of family property is dreadful behaviour, which must never happen again. The punishment needs to be decided and policed. He is young so a week's punishment will seem like six months.

FWIW I do wonder why you don't have train times up in the kitchen if DS is using the train regularly. Also why set off with him without checking the times, or getting DH to check them and ring DS while you were driving (to save time)? Why not call him to check he is on the train before driving home?

Is there a family organiser up where DS can write down his plans and see what everyone else is doing? More family organisation and communication would save some of these small annoyances from escalating into big problems.

sashh Sat 15-Dec-12 10:12:44

I think the value of the phone is irrelevant tbh. Deliberately breaking someone else's possessions because he couldn't get his own way is just atrocious.

I'm shocked no one said this earlier.

This is not about a phone, this is about willfull destruction of property.

This is about totally innapropriate behaviour.

He needs to get his temper under control before he gets hurt.

Not sure what I would do, I'm tempted to say wait until Xmas, then after he has opened his presents pick one and smash it. But that is petty and mean.

flow4 Sat 15-Dec-12 11:21:10

And also counter-productive, because you'd be demonstrating exactly the kind of behaviour you want to show is unacceptable! I can imagine his comment (or internal 'logic') next time he feels inclined to break something of yours "Well, you did it to my Christmas present, so I can do it now" sad

I have been thinking (dangerous, I know!)...

Breaking someone else's possessions IS atrocious; but I think it's quite common for young teens who haven't yet worked out how to express their anger. They often don't have the verbal skills to make an argument satisfying effectively, and they have very little power and control in many situations - especially in conflicts with their parents. They're not happy, they're very angry, they feel powerless, they have a surge of adrenaline and testosterone, they want to DO something to let it all out... And oh shit that thing there is suddenly broken. sad (That's a description of what I think happens, btw, not any kind of justification).

It is really tricky to help young people learn to manage their anger, because anger is not rational, and what is needed to 'manage' it is to make rational thought and self-control to 'overcome' or 'outweigh' raw emotion. IMO, you to help them by...

- Keeping yourself as calm and rational as you possibly can be, even when provoked! Demonstrating or 'modelling' the behaviour you want.

- Showing that the 'pay offs' for being calm and rational are greater than the pay-offs for losing your temper, including praising and rewarding calm.

- Showing that losing your temper has negative consequences - i.e. if you get angry, bad things happen. This might not necessarily be punishment; it might be highlighting/pointing out the effects of their behaviour. IME young people are much more affected by/care more about 'natural' consequences than punishments, because they don't see punishment as an effect of their behaviour, but as you being mean/unreasonable/etc. There are lots of natural consequences of anger (people don't like you; they avoid you; they are less likely to do you favours; you break things and you don't have them any more; you have to replace them; you're short of money; you get kicked out of college or arrested or lose your job, etc...) Teens don't always make the connections, so it helps them understand if you can point these out.

- Describing what is happening really helps, because they are not always even aware of their anger, and if they are not aware, they can't take control. IME it is very effective to say simple things like "You are getting angry now, please calm down"; "You just kicked the door, that is not OK"; "You are scaring me now, please stop"; "If you break that, I won't be happy, put it down"... I think phrases like these work because they make them aware and give them a clue about what they can do to take control, which they are not always very good at working out themselves! You can prevent some losses of temper this way.

- There are various other 'prevention strategies' IME, that are often particular to your own DC, and pretty much the same as the things that worked to head off toddler tantrums! So for example, my DS used to tantrum at aged 2 if he was hungry, and did it again (big time) at 15. hmm You can't quite deal with it in the same way (handing them a banana and putting them to bed aren't possible any more! wink ). But we can develop similar tactics...

So in a situation like this, there may have been some things the OP could have done to prevent the situation (hindsight is annoying not much good maybe useful for next time!), like when DS said he was planning to smash her phone, saying "You are losing your temper. If you do that, you will make me angry, you will have to buy me a new phone, and I will not want to take you anywhere for a very long time".

And now, after the event, the OP needs to focus on the negative consequences, and highlight them: I am still angry and upset. You have to pay for a new phone. I don't feel like taking you anywhere right now. Any 'artificial' punishments will be more easily dismissed by a teen (IMO) than natural consequences like that. I'm not saying don't punish (I think most people would) but I'm saying natural consequences will be more effective.

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