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Do I give her the phone - or not?

(26 Posts)
unlucky83 Fri 23-Dec-16 14:57:17

This is DD1 -nearly 16 and has ADHD.
She has had a couple of cheapish smart phones and tends to wreck them (cracks the screen, breaks earphone sockets, seems to wreck batteries in no time...think they overheat left in bed with her) -she also goes through earphones at an incredible rate.
Anyway after she destroyed her last one in September she has been using what was my 'spare phone' - a £40 smart phone. It worked fine when I was using it, has a decent battery life. (I used if for about 4 months after my old one had died). I have seen her drop it etc and now she is complaining that it freezes and the battery life is terrible (but it wasn't when she first had it). She wants a new one - which I understand - I got frustrated with it when it was working properly as it is so slow.
She knows she won't get a really expensive one and she is fine with that - because of the carelessness and she also used to lose her old one all the time but to be fair that has improved.
As part of her taking responsibility for herself she is learning to regulate her own phone use - she isn't very good at it will still be awake and using it at 12.30am and later... the deal was I wouldn't interfere as long as she gets up for school in the morning. She is struggling and misses the bus a couple of times a week. If I try and take it off her at night now she creates a huge fuss and wakes everyone up...
So I said I would take her phone off her for the day if she missed the bus -but that's really difficult for me to do as she was bullied (isn't really now) but they still make comments to her etc and I know she has her earphones in to make out she can't hear them - when I did take her phone off her for a day she wore the earphones connected to nothing...
So I tried a different tactic - I told her I would buy her a new one if she could be on time for school every day for a month....she hasn't made it and now is saying it is impossible. She has tried for eg a week and then messed up - to be fair the bus did go early - but then she leaves at the last second.
I also know things are harder for her because of the ADHD.
I was going to give her a new phone for Christmas. On the basis that we then 'worked together' to get her on the bus...
However the last couple of weeks she has turned into a nightmare - not letting me know she is going to be late etc, messing around not answering her phone/texts. When I have told her off says her phone is in aeroplane mode cos the battery is so rubbish.
Doing things like missing the free school bus home and phoning up stuck because she doesn't have the fare for the normal bus. (Her school is 10+ miles away) -more than once...
Or telling me the day before she is going to visit a friend (10+ miles away) with local friends, doesn't know how they are getting there - there are virtually no buses there but they want to catch the bus. I helped her by looking into it and found and told her I would take her and her friends to somewhere they could easily get a bus from. She didn't message them etc - ignored her phone - at the last minute one of her friends turned up asking if she wanted a lift with their parent (she hadn't replied to their message)...Then on the way home we had similar drama and I ended going to pick them up - not late at night but they weren't were they were supposed to be when I got there and she was ignoring her phone.
She isn't drinking etc - is actually quite well behaved for her age... apart from this. But my patience is wearing very thin with her.
We have a rule no showers after 10pm - as it might wake her dad (works early shift) or her sister up. The night before last she asked if she could have a shower at 11pm - I said no - it was too late and she should be getting to sleep - she would have to get up early in the morning. She said I knew she couldn't do that and went into the bathroom running taps for ages etc and making as much noise as she could. She missed the bus in the morning.
Last night she asked at 10.30 - I said no. She went into a rant saying I wasn't letting her wash and she hadn't had a shower for days etc and it was horrible and I was being unreasonable etc etc. I told her no - get to sleep early and get up early.
She said how are you going to stop me? I said I'd turn the hot water off. She said I couldn't make her wash in cold water -it was abuse - and got in the shower...
She'd left her phone in her bedroom -I took it and locked it away. She then argued with me for 40 mins saying as she hadn't woken her dad or sister up I had nothing to be cross about apart from she had proved me wrong (typical teenage logic...) And I couldn't take her property off her etc etc.
She did make the bus - just - this morning. She finished at midday and said she might be going to a friend's -but hasn't let me know...
I am thinking I can't really give her the new phone for Christmas in the circumstances ...but then she won't have much cos it was her main present And her younger sister is getting her first phone for Christmas...I can see major strops and a terrible atmosphere.
(And we still do Santa - the younger one (9) probably doesn't believe any more but hasn't yet let on that they don't...obviously DD1 doesn't believe)
I really can't decided whether it will be better to stick to my guns -or to let it go and then work on everything from a more positive relationship.

thethoughtfox Fri 23-Dec-16 15:07:22

I can't imagine how hard this must be because some of these issues are not her fault but her attitude is. So far though, it looks like all boundaries you have set have been moved. Set rules and stick to them ( I know this won't be easy). I don't think you should give it to her. She knows that your word means nothing. I read somewhere that when kids are in charge, it can be quite frightening for them. It will take a while but she will eventually get it. Remember: it is not her property unless she pays for all bills/ top ups herself. It is yours and can be removed at any time. My sister was like this ( not the ADHD) and would just nag, argue and fight till my mum gave in. She is now unhappy, hasn't grown up and still behaves like this.

Oblomov16 Fri 23-Dec-16 15:55:14

This is a really tricky one. Needs delicate handling. Generally. But the phone for Christmas is almost impossible not to give now, surely, because there's no alternative.

LIZS Fri 23-Dec-16 16:01:18

Make her leave her phone downstairs at night. Batteries do fade but can be replaced and she simply sounds careless.

SheSparkles Fri 23-Dec-16 16:12:02

She needs to learn to take responsibility for herself, but you need to help her to do that.

She's only 15, still a child (and will continue to be one after 16), she needs boundaries and for them to be kept.

Leaving her with her phone at night as long as she gets up for school clearly isn't working, therefore she needs to lose the phone at night.

Give her the phone for Xmas, but make her understand that it comes with conditions-she doesn't have it overnight-and STICK TO IT.

Never mind the 10pm shower rule, she should be in bed and settled at that time during the week, she's getting way less sleep than is healthy. I don't know what if any bearing the ADHD has but maybe her getting more sleep would help with the forgetfulness and being unreasonable. I know I'm far from reasonable when I've not had enough sleep!

I've managed to get my eldest to 19 and working full time with her not having her phone or laptop in her bedroom overnight and she's a pretty well adjusted, sensible(ish), party loving and popular girl. They don't die of not having their phone overnight!

unlucky83 Fri 23-Dec-16 17:04:03

Thank you - it has given me something to think about and get things clearer in my head.
The ADHD causes the carelessness and forgetfulness- also getting distracted and being late....and it does make her oppositional. It is pick your battles x 10...
I spoke to her consultant/psychologist (with her) and we talked about the phone overnight thing and it was a see how it goes thing. And I agree it isn't working. It started with her having a phone overnight during holidays and she was doing well - on school nights it really isn't...
Some of the problem is she is on medication for school - it wears off at 8.30ish - she doesn't really want to eat before then (side effect of medication) and also she goes hyper...so getting her to feel like going to sleep by 10 is difficult. And I'm a night owl too - I go to bed at midnight if not later...
(You can deal with the hyper at bedtime thing by giving them other medication (eg melatonin)- but from talking to other parents what seems to happen is then they go super hyper when they aren't on medication at the weekend - and become harder to deal with - unmanageable and they end up on ADHD meds at the weekend too...and then you get problems with them losing too much weight etc...)
I think I am going to get her to sign a contract - she can have her new phone but gives it to me at 11pm on school nights and if she doesn't without a fuss it will be taken off her and she will get her old one back for a month... if she doesn't agree to that she won't get the new phone.

SheSparkles Fri 23-Dec-16 17:20:33

The written contract is a great idea, then you can wave it under her nose as and when you need to 😄
(And completely understand about the medication)

Mehfruittea Fri 23-Dec-16 17:23:16

Agree with PPs you can't give her the phone. I personally would wrap up a promise of a phone with a really nice list of what she needs to do to earn it, with dates and tick boxes. I'd also write what support you will give her to achieve the goals.

Make it more grown up than a reward chart. It sounds as though she needs support with communication- a small part of it will be tech letting her down, but without her understanding the consequences. And the big part is attitude. Normal teenager stuff. Maybe when she sees what she has missed out on she will put some effort in.

Best of luck xx

lljkk Fri 23-Dec-16 18:01:03

You do have a soft case for each phone she uses, right?

lovelearning Fri 23-Dec-16 18:08:53

she was bullied (isn't really now)

unlucky83, are you sure the bullying has ceased?

unlucky83 Fri 23-Dec-16 18:46:10

She's had phone cases in the past but not recently. I haven't bought her one for her new phone cos I want to get her a shock one and there isn't one yet - newish model of phone...and also better if she chooses it herself - she has had one she didn't like and wouldn't use.
She has had screen protectors - she did a fantastic job on one screen - she dropped the phone when she was running (for the bus) and dragged it along the pavement with her earphones ...wrecked the screen protector but phone screen was only slightly scuffed... and they keep cracked screens together (and I have become quite good at replacing screens...)
The bullying has definitely stopped - two of the worst culprits have left the school, one no longer gets the same bus (where most of the problems happened). The one girl she still sees was a real stirrer, the instigator but without her cronies on the bus now she leaves DD (and her friends) alone. They used to be mean to DD's friends too - her friends ignored them but DD used to rise to it...sad. That girl, if in a group of friends, will still make nasty comments to DD if she sees her but only if DD is on her own...and DD isn't intimidated by her any more...thinks she is pathetic. But still better if she can pretend she can't hear her.

lovelearning Fri 23-Dec-16 18:50:25

they still make comments to her etc and I know she has her earphones in to make out she can't hear them

This sounds like bullying to me.

lljkk Fri 23-Dec-16 18:54:48

Can she contribute part of her pocket money towards phone purchase? Mine have to pay for most of their phone purchase cost.

I think I'd be insisting on a nice flip case. She can choose the case, or several to swap between, maybe.

lljkk Fri 23-Dec-16 18:54:56

ps: I buy the cases!

OzzieFem Fri 23-Dec-16 19:39:33

Sorry OP - 11pm is still too late for her to have a phone. I would aim for 9.30pm or 10pm at the latest for school nights and longer on Fri and Sat nights only. Phones to be handed in at set times (earlier for the younger one, when she gets her phone) and recharged downstairs. Showers should be taken before 9pm, no later.

Like the idea of a contract but you need to come through with the repercussions if the contract is broken.

unlucky83 Fri 23-Dec-16 23:29:01

ozzie if I take it off her before then she still won't go to sleep - or if she does she will wake up at crazy o clock and go for a walk or something...or come bouncing in my room to talk to me... she did that when I used to take it off her at 9.30 - she'd be bouncing until midnight anyway.
A few weeks ago she was bouncing on her bed at 4am singing Christmas carols. She doesn't seem to need much sleep...
As for the younger one - yes she will have strict rules about when she can use it and no she won't have it overnight. She is a very different child - does occasionally mess around at bed time but will also say she is tired and wants to go to bed... I don't think I've ever heard those words come out of DD1s mouth (I have not had her not wanting to get out of bed ...but never wanting to go to bed...)

19lottie82 Fri 23-Dec-16 23:45:33

Get an otterbox for the new phone you can get them on eBay or Amazon for less than £20...... my husband is a mechanic and his phone is always getting dropped and when you take it it of the case it still looks brand new

SheSparkles Fri 23-Dec-16 23:49:00

I'm in agreement with Ozzie about taking the phone away at night-I thought this was supposed to be about setting boundaries and responsibilities?. If she's still bouncing late on due to medication then she needs to find something else to do other than using the phone.
Phones are a powerful bargaining tool with teenagers-use it

notquiteruralbliss Sat 24-Dec-16 08:32:23

We have never had rules re phones at night, bed times etc. Pre mumsnet I had no idea that it was usual to do so. Our DCs have sleep patterns that suit them. One prefers to have a nap when she gets home, Netflix / work for a few hours when she wakes up and have another sleep from 3 or 4 am until she needs to be up for school. It seems to suit her as she much prefers to work at night.

SVJAA Sat 24-Dec-16 08:35:48

The big silicone cases on eBay are pretty good until you can get a shock one.

unlucky83 Sat 24-Dec-16 10:37:07

Shesparkles I mean I will take it off her at 11pm -just not earlier -not that I won't take it off her at all! smile That's what I've put in the contract...but I have to discuss it with her first and see if she will agree to the contract or if she would rather not have a new phone.
And when she is bouncing the medication has worn off ...she is worse at the weekends and in the holidays it takes a week or so for her to go back to being normally bouncy.
I intend to get her a silicone shock case but at the moment there isn't really one for her phone - it is a Wiley Fox Swift 2 + (I have a Swift and love it -could go on about them being British etc - and dual sim - I give one number to delivery people so I know by ring tone etc if is a spam/non urgent text/call and I can put in a local sim on holidays to get cheap calls etc and still have my main number if someone needs to get in touch with me -I'll stop boring you!)
Anyway I want to get her a case that fits properly and they are already coming out now - so just need to keep an eye out (wiley fox do one now but want to check with her first and see if more rugged ones come out). I definitely need one with the right cut outs for speakers etc - she just took the phone out of the case before when she had one that didn't fit properly.

butterfly990 Sat 24-Dec-16 10:52:22

A friend told me about this app for phones. It limits the internet use to certain times.
play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.screentime.rc&hl=en

Also I found reading this book very informative regarding teenagers
www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Get-Out-Life-bestselling-teenagers/1846680875

AndNowItsSeven Sat 24-Dec-16 10:56:39

Yes give her the phone, does she receive dla/pip . My dd has asd and this causes damage and loss of property. I use the dla to replace items. Before that I would get upset and stressed.

unlucky83 Sat 24-Dec-16 13:28:49

No dla or pip - didn't know you could get that for ADHD if they are functioning ok -ish? Ie getting to school (albeit late often) and passing exams -
I suppose she does cost me more than a NT child eg I currently end up giving her extra money for bus fare as if she misses the free school bus and catches a normal bus she has to pay. When she is flying out the door and says she doesn't have the fare I tend to give her a couple of pounds and then forget I have...
She has a bank account and a card but leaves the card with me mostly cos she is worried she'll lose it. I should probably get her to take money out and put it in a 'bus fare' pot... (I have ADHD too so struggle organising things like that...)
I know from other parents that you can get 'good' insurance for ADHD children's phones -but not sure if it is worth it unless you give them very expensive phones - iirc it was £20+ a month for a certain number of repairs and replacements a year.
I figured if I got her a £100 phone and she managed to keep it in one piece for 5 months that was the insurance covered. She has lived with cracked screens for months and when they got too bad I bought new screens - usually cost less than £20 - and fitted them myself (although once she broke it again within a week!, another time the earphone socket broke a few weeks later -I swapped phones with her as I don't care about earphones...)
Anyway I've told her about the contract and she is thinking about it - not really very happy. She wants it to be midnight -I've said I won't move on the time as that is late enough. She said she doesn't need to sign something - I've said she does. She has made comments about how will I take it off her if she refuses etc etc. Also mutterings about blackmail. She also said I've obviously already bought it so what am I going to with it if she doesn't sign - I explained I can easily sent it back. I think she will sign but what happens afterwards -whether she sticks to it - will be interesting...

Sadik Sat 24-Dec-16 15:38:18

I would second the ScreenTime app that Butterfly has linked to. You don't have to use it to limit usage (we don't have any restrictions turned on) but it is on dd's phone non-negotiably and she knows that if she doesn't use her common sense re usage then we will do so.

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