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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).


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

flow4 Sun 09-Dec-12 20:57:28

Actually, I'd be tempted to ban him from the next couple of Warhammer sessions. It seems appropriate, and sounds like it will matter to him.

bigTillyMincePie Sun 09-Dec-12 20:45:59

trueblood, mine toowink

trueblood1fan Sun 09-Dec-12 20:43:47

i must be mummy hitler as if my son had beem THAT bad he would be fast asleep in bed by now not telling me what punishment he should/shouldnt recieve.

bigTillyMincePie Sun 09-Dec-12 20:41:47

Re the punishment, I think that you need to completely remove his gaming stuff for a period of time and tell him that in order to earn it back again, he will have to meet your daily requirements for every day of that time, ie all homework done, chores you ask him to do done, polite to everybody, etc. Every day he fails to do this, another gets added on to earn his stuff back.

If you don't draw a line here, it is a slippery slope down.

It sounds to me like his Warhammer/gaming is incredibly important to him (that he places it above thinking about how his family will feel if he damages something precious ) and that he is not very good at organising himself. Some children/teens need more help than others to get organised.

As his DM, you must know how much he was looking forward to his workshop and also that he might struggle to get himself there on time. In future, if he was my DS, I would explicitly say "do you plan to go to the Games Workshop tomorrow? Then you need to look up train times. This is the website. What time do you need to be at the station? So what time will we need to leave/will you need to get up, etc, etc," until he is able to manage this himself.

Homework incentive? Does he get detention at school for not doing it? If he does, then that's his incentive for doing his homework for the next couple of weeks.

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. It doesn't matter that it was cheap. He also doesn't get to negotiate the punishment (not much of one if he gets to pick it is it?)

trueblood1fan Sun 09-Dec-12 20:32:03

it sure is - damn phone & predictive texting. my son earns his xbox & doesnt by right have it. if he was that naughty it would be sitting in my room.

bidibidi Sun 09-Dec-12 20:26:46

I think the word you want is reprobate.

trueblood1fan Sun 09-Dec-12 20:21:41

erm who is the parent here? he will never learn :-\ if he doesnt do his homework he loses his xbox for a further period of time.please dont negotiate with him. he was damn right naughty and broke your phone (whether £20 or £100) & was premeditated. but if you dont want to teach him right from wrong then so be it, another retribate in the making.....

bidibidi Sun 09-Dec-12 20:09:21

DS is countering with the suggestion that instead I dock all his Feb pocket money (more than £20). I won't accept that, btw, but it's true I need to calm down before I can think straight.

GWorkshop run special Sunday sessions to teach how to play Warhammer, that's what he wants/needs to do. Trains only run every 2 hours so he missed it completely by paying no attention to times, this morning. I think he had been looking forward all week to going to Workshop today. If only the stupid little sod had asked me to help him remember to catch the train, if nothing else i would have looked up the time & lectured him about when to get ready. But then, I am trying to teach him to organise self etc.

His Minecraft time is tied to doing homework, so if I ban all gadgets I have a problem with "What is the homework incentive?" for next 2 weeks.

Oh well, at least DS2 is happy. Had best mate around for 6 hours. He's normally my miserable child that spreads the misery around (sigh).

Startail Sun 09-Dec-12 17:46:11

I think I'd only manage to Friday keeping DD2 off SIMs.

As you say OP, it is in danger of becoming a punishment for everyone if you do it for long, but he isn't likely to grieve greatly for £20 and having him miserable at Christmas is again no fun for you.

ViperInTheManger Sun 09-Dec-12 17:44:26

I think what is really concerning about this is that he threatened to smash the phone before he did it so this was not a spur of the moment action followed by an "OMG what have I done?" realisation but was a calculated action that he knew would upset you. I'm afraid my DS would have lost all his privileges for that type of behaviour whether it was a pain to police or not.

trueblood1fan Sun 09-Dec-12 17:37:30

erm, he is 13 & knows right from wrong - doubt he would have smashed his ipod/phone or xbox?! he smashed YOUR phone. disgusting behaviour & my 14 year old ds would lose his gaming privelages for at least a week - not hard to police - take the whole box away. teach him now before his anger gets him in possibly criminal trouble.

bigTillyMincePie Sun 09-Dec-12 17:19:38

I agree with the other posters. If it was my DS, I would stop any gaming, etc for at least 2 weeks, plus he would have to pay to replace the phone. He was completely out of order.

However, more importantly, I would want to examine why he was so angry that he smashed the phone in the first place.

Was he angry because he couldn't get to Games Workshop because he is so into his gaming (seems to link with it being a PITA to stop his gadget access for 2 weeks) or because your DH told him the wrong train time and then left him at the station and then refused to run him into town?
- Was there not another train later?
- He is only 13 and if you know he is not great with timings, then why didn't you "help" him to be ready at the right time?

QuickLookBusy Sun 09-Dec-12 17:11:08

Yes I would go with the no Xbox and payment of broken phone.

I'd also want a calm sit-down talk with him, you and Dh.

I'd want to know what was going thorough his head, when he thought he should phone you up, tell you he was going to smash your phone, then actually do it.
He needs to understand that that kind of decision making will lead him into huge trouble in the future.

flow4 Sun 09-Dec-12 16:59:50

That's horrible bidibidi. It's upsetting when they're just mean, isn't it? sad
If I were you, I wouldn't make a decision about sanctions tonight. I'd tell him you are very disappointed, upset and angry, and you need some time to make a decision about what you're going to do about it. That way, he can sweat for a bit grin... and you can make a better, fairer parenting decision when you're not still caught up in the emotions of it...

bidibidi Sun 09-Dec-12 16:59:29

Okay, so consensus is (?) he pays for it (£20 dock from Xmas spend) and i punish him by withdrawing all access to electronic devices for 2 weeks? Except his phone, which actually I want him to have because he could do something like lose his rail pass with no lift home (etc.)

If I thought he was upset already he'll be a raging devil for next fortnight with no iPad (his iPad he paid for). It's as much a punishment for me as for him.

But then so is seeing his sad face on Xmas day if I go with Plan A.

Startail Sun 09-Dec-12 16:50:05

I think he will have to loose electronic devices, now rather than suffering at Christmas.

I accept that may be a pain, DD2 bounces between several laptops, my desk top and her and her sister's DS's and always claims to be doing HW. Not playing SIMs or watching iPlayer.

I've come realy close to a ban, but given bith DDs wire their sodding lap top in to the mains and fixed Ethernet it's a bit difficult to just grab them and tuck them under my arm.

MikeLitorisHasChristmasLights Sun 09-Dec-12 16:48:41

Just take the games console away. Problem solved.

I had to do the same with ds.

Just unplug the wires and hide it away, boot of the car is always a good place.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 09-Dec-12 16:44:33

Punishment isn't about ease, it's about teaching a lesson and sometimes that means parents have to put themselves out a bit.

bidibidi Sun 09-Dec-12 16:40:30

but he doesn't have any cash right now, and didn't want any for Christmas so not likely to get any before Feb (when his pocket money next comes).

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