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Lies, lies and more lies!(7 Posts)
DS is 13.5 and still very young in lots of ways - quite immature and silly generally! And with very poor impulse control.
Anyway, he, like most boys his age, spends lots of time on his mobile phone and tablet, particularly playing games like Clash Royale and Pokémon Go.
About 3wks ago, when checking our bank balance, it was clear that he'd been buying lots of in app purchases for these games, clocking up a bill of around £70 in the space of a fortnight! We were horrified as a) we'd forgotten that our bank acct was linked to his Google acct (I know, I know, but we'd set it up ages ago for some reason and then forgotten to remove it) and also because when he started gaming online we had a long discussion about not clicking to purchase things. He has, previously, asked if he could buy extras for X box games and we've given permission, and he's paid us the money.
So, we were obviously furious and once he'd had an initial rollicking for his behaviour we removed the bank details from his Google acct and had a good chat about making sensible choices with your money, not spending money that isn't yours etc, etc, etc. He agreed with us to pay us back just over half of what he'd clocked up, from his pocket money and paper round earnings. He paid a certain amount, then said he'd pay me the remaining £20 when his paper round money got paid to his bank acct. Fine, I thought .
He got his paper round money last week and with life being generally busy, I forgot for a couple of days, to chase him for the £20. When I did ask him to send payment over, and to see his online bank balance, I saw that he'd withdrawn the £20 he was supposed to be giving me, from his bank account. He told me that he had two friends with birthdays coming up, and he'd taken it out to buy them gift cards. I wasn't entirely convinced about this, but he seemed very genuine. So, had another conversation about paying debts off FIRST, and then choosing what to spend your money on. And reminded him that if friends' birthdays weren't till the end of this month (as he told me), then he shouldn't be buying / giving them gifts until then. And even then, they'd have been happy with a big bar of chocolate - £10 gift cards each seemed a bit excessive.
Again, ok, I thought.
So, today, I logged onto his Google acct (as I've done once or twice since the major spending disaster) only to see that on the same day as he says he bought gift vouchers for his friends, he purchased (via a Google Play voucher) just under £10 of in app purchases for his phone game. So, I can only assume he lied to me about the vouchers for his friends and probably spent the other £10 on sweets and chocolates for himself and his school friends (he has form for this too).
I'm beginning to despair. It's not so much that he's spending his money on pointless gaming stuff (though that's bad enough). It's that he lies, and lies. And that he does so, knowing that he still hasn't paid me back for his last lot of spending.
He's not due home for a while yet and currently am thinking of the following as punishment...
Confiscation of phone and tablet for a week, as he clearly can't be trusted.
Deletion of the games that he seems totally unable to resist spending money on.
Making him pay back the total amount owed to us from September, on the grounds that we'd been reasonable in just asking for half of it originally, but he's betrayed our trust in him by continuing with the same behaviour, so now he'll need to pay it all back.
At the moment, I have access to his Google acct so can monitor his activity and can step in, but I won't always be there to see what mess he's getting into and step in to stop it getting worse.
Am I actually going to be helping the situation by punishing him like this - will it stop him being willing to confess to future screw ups?
Or should I come down hard on him having given him chances to change his behaviour once already?
I should also say that I've talked to him about how normal it is for teenagers to make mistakes and that whilst we're cross at what he does sometimes, if he screws up, he needs to come and tell us before we inevitably find out and he says all the right things when we're talking about it. But then he goes and does it again!
Should I go with all three punishments mentioned above, or just 1 or 2 out of the three?
Really value others' opinions on this please? And sorry for the length of this
I think confiscating his phone and tablet for a week is a great idea. I wouldn't bother with making him pay back.
The idea is to show him that he is stronger than the things that he is addicted to. Explain to him your goal behind the punishment so he knows that you are not trying to "ruin his life", but in fact is trying to make his life better by showing him that video games don't control him.
You have to stay strong though and stick to one entire week. I think it's ok to show him a lot of sympathy during this week (you are in this together. You both want him to free himself of the control video games have to him). You can even offer him rewards for when he finished the one week because it's an accomplishment! The important thing is for you both to stick to that entire one week.
Don't worry too much about the lies. All teens lie, sometimes for no good reason. At least you can see why he feels the need to lie to you.
I think longer than a week, actually.
I'd be moving his SIM card into a crappy non-smart phone so he still can stay in contact with people through text, but no gaming.
Ghen saying that he can 'earn' back the tablet by paying you back the money he owes you. He doesn't get it back until he does, so you can sell it if not.
And then supervising his tablet time and checking what he's spending his money on regularly.
If he can make it x amount of weeks after regaining his tablet without making unauthorised purchases then he'll have earned his phone back.
I wouldn't insist on deleting the games he has been making purchases in - it could be counterproductive, but I would be talking to him seriously about whether he needs to choose delete them, at least for a while. Wait and do that when he earns it back, when he's had a few weeks break.
Also, keeping him busy and distracted while he doesn't have a tablet is a good idea.
Old fashioned fun - board games and anything outdoors. Cook with him or have him help make Halloween decorations or anything really. Taking up new habits can help with breaking old ones.
He may have forgotten that he owed you the money or hoped that you'd forgotten as you hadn't asked for it. Taking £20 out of his own money to spend on stuff he wants to spend it on is presumably the reason that he has a paper round. If he wants to piss it up the wall on in-app purchases and chocolate then that's fine really, other kids will be spending it on similarly valueless stuff.
It's obvious why he lied - you don't approve of what he spends his money on, and it just saved you banging on about his frivolous purchases again.
Just add some interest (£10?) to the money he owes you, make sure he gets it to you on time next time (He doesn't want to be paying even more interest with Xmas coming up.
And get off his back about the in-app purchases. It was only £10 this time, of his own money.
Some interesting comments above, thank you.
We are toying with the idea of moving his Sim card into his old crappy phone, but not made a decision on it yet.
Just to add to the list of misdemeanours... yesterday he got fired from his paper round! Since July, apparently, he's been "dumping" a considerable amount of papers in nearby parkland, rather than delivering them. This has eventually caught up with him and he's been sacked! I was horrified and embarrassed to say the least. He's emailed the company to apologise, and apologised in person to the distributor today, when she came to pick up his delivery trolley.
So now, other than his weekly pocket money from us, he has no means of paying off his debt.....
Good ideas re. keeping him busy and doing other stuff, so as to help break the old habits. To be honest, he's busy a lot of the time anyway, with clubs, sports and homework, but think that making him earn back the smartphone and tablet is a good idea.
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