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Who's telling the truth - what to do?

(31 Posts)
cricketmum1 Thu 18-May-17 19:55:28

We have 2 ds's, one is 16 (doing GCSE's) and the other is 11. My husband and I left them alone for half an hour this evening (had to go and jump start my car!) When we got home the 11 year old was in tears with a totally smashed phone. He said his brother took it from him and threw it down the stairs, his brother (16 and has another exam tomorrow) said that he had his brother's phone and was sending me a joke email (God knows why!) they struggled and the phone fell down the stairs. To be honest, I don't believe either of them, the truth is probably somewhere in between - I'm probably leaning towards believing my 16 yr old, my husband our 11 year old. I don't want to go too hard on the 16 year old because of his exams, but my husband has different ideas. As you can imagine - happy families tonight!

How do I get the truth and how should I deal with it. Right now, I've said that I'm not talking about it until it's all calmed down. BUT.... what to do. The 11 year old's phone is my old one, so it didn't actually cost me anything to get it, he doesn't even have a phone number yet! But now probably needs a new phone which will cost me money. I'm thinking of getting them both to contribute an amount to the replacement unless the truth is told??? Any suggestions gratefully received!

BrexitSucks Thu 18-May-17 22:26:31

Interview them separately then compare which parts of the story both agree on before you tackle the differences.

I would want to know why the 16yo had the 11yo's phone, and why didn't the 16yo give the phone back as soon as asked for it? I can't see the 16yo did anything right here.

In long run, I strongly suspect 16yo is paying for the phone & owes his brother an apology. But you may want to wait 4 weeks to announce that.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Thu 18-May-17 22:37:18

Ultimately it doesn't make any difference. Either way, the 16yo is responsible IMO.

I don't see how it should affect his GCSEs to be told that he will be paying for the replacement.

Voice0fReason Thu 18-May-17 23:42:46

I agree with Goody, Either way it's the 16 year old's fault

swingofthings Fri 19-May-17 07:28:17

Agree too. The incident wouldn't have happened if he hadn't threatened to do something that clearly upset the 11yo. He is in the wrong and should contribute towards cost of repairs of phone.

Oblomov17 Fri 19-May-17 07:36:39

16 yr old does seem to be getting a hard time here.
And whilst he is older and yes, what was he even doing with the phone? Let's remember that (with my 2 at least, similar age difference, here's what happens with my 2 occasionallysmile

the younger one can appear all innocent but can be a bit of a drama queen and irritating and babyish, yet even whilst being so very young, he is very good at pressing older ones buttons, and we need to be aware that he , younger, too is not entirely innocent in this? Possible?

Ceto Fri 19-May-17 07:51:12

Why would the 16 year old use his brother's phone to send you something rather than his own? It does sound as if he is the one in the wrong.

BrexitSucks Fri 19-May-17 08:12:57

16yo being manipulated by an 11yo? I know 11yo may be annoying git, but most 16yos deal successfully with annoying classmates & peers all day long.

Oblomov17 Fri 19-May-17 08:20:19

I know Brexit, but I was just saying that 11 year olds can be very annoying. That's all.

BrexitSucks Fri 19-May-17 08:58:26

I guess that's why I would stop short of loudly bollocking the 16yo.
Instead go straight for emotion-less compensation plan for the financial damage done.

I had 16yo with 11yo little brother who didn't get along, and I could see both sides of why they didn't like each other, & how both usually made it worse when they could have walked away from conflict. So am sympathetic, but bottom line is you expect better of the 16yo. OP's 16yo confessed he wrestled over the phone (which he shouldn't have), which is the clincher.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Fri 19-May-17 09:28:51

...*I would stop short of loudly bollocking the 16yo. *
Instead go straight for emotion-less compensation plan for the financial damage done.

This.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Fri 19-May-17 09:29:59

And I wouldn't even investigate. He said...but he said...no he said... it would just lead to greater resentment and rivalry.

BrexitSucks Fri 19-May-17 09:36:45

You need to give them an opportunity to each tell their story, though, it's part of good communication that at least they know they were listened to. Whether you believe one side or the other or ask more questions, is different.

As a rule I tended to punish both sides after a spat because I always said to mine "Either of you could have stopped this from happening." But OP's story starts with the 16yo picking up the other kid's phone. Even though Teenagers know touching another kid's phone is potentially a serious infringement of boundaries & personal space.

If the phone was high value to replace I think I'd lean towards a solution that involved more of the 11yo paying towards replacement, but since it's low value & 16yo started the mess, burden goes on 16yo. They can pay in installments.

ps: all easy for me to say. I don't have to deal with any fall out.

Oblomov17 Fri 19-May-17 11:02:24

I agree. And I particularly like Brexit's 'non emotional way of dealing with it'.

I too think you should give them both opportunity to have their say. It's important. That's part of the healing process. If You aren't allowed to tell your version, it would fester and resentment builds. Don't let that happen.

Best of luck!! Teenagers eh? Who'd 'ave em? wink

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Fri 19-May-17 12:55:04

I'm assuming from the OP that each has already told their story. If not, then certainly give them the chance to do so.

Tanaqui Fri 19-May-17 13:03:55

If it's an iPhone you can get a new screen for about £40.

mummytime Fri 19-May-17 13:10:45

Older one should pay/contribute to the fixing of the phone - new screens aren't that much. If it's old then get the battery checked while you do it, as when they get old they can shatter screens. And get a tempered glass screen protector.

cricketmum1 Fri 19-May-17 13:52:19

Thank you for all your suggestions. In answer to some of the questions, it's a sumsung phone, so cannot be repaired! The 16yo has admitted to me that 'he was bored, so went into 11y/o room to annoy him'. However, 11 y/o has a history of totally over reacting to situations. I think that there was a struggle and it got dropped and broken. I've decided to leave it for now (half term next week) and I'll pick it up next week once we've got next weeks' exams over and the whole thing is further away from us and therefore much less emotional. The 11y/o is going to write out for me tonight exactly what he thinks happened, I'll then be able to pull out the similarities to the other version of events. I'm also thinking that it's a case of 6 and half a dozen route and get them both to compensate by contributing to a new (but cheap!) phone. I don't think that I can safely rule out the 11 y/o breaking the phone - he's quite clumsy!
Having said this the 11 y/o is now trying to press my buttons on exactly what phone I'm going to buy him. I'm sticking with my 'not doing anything about it now, not while it's all so emotional'.

I guess I'm upset that they seem to want to do this sort of thing to each other, also that it only adds fuel to the fire of my husband seeing only bad in the 16yo, whereas I think he's just a normal 16yo. Lovely most of the time, but horrid when it goes wrong!

Ceto Fri 19-May-17 17:31:53

Sorry, but if your 16 year old deliberately went in to annoy your 11 year old, how on earth is that is a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other? And if your 11 year old was trying to recover his property which the 16 year old had no right to take and was refusing to give back, how is it his fault the phone got broken?

I know you think your husband only sees bad in your older son, but it really looks to me as if you're overcompensating and going too far the other way.

Bufferingkisses Fri 19-May-17 17:54:45

Your 16yo deliberately inflamed a situation where his brother was keeping to himself.

Your 16yo is very nearly an adult, your 11yo still very much a child.

Even your 16yo can't bring himself to say little brother caused it.

A 16yo shouldn't be tussling with an 11yo for something they shouldn't have had in the first place.

Exams don't give a pass on bad behaviour!

I don't understand why on earth you've not read a riot act tbh. Whether it was thrown or dropped the whole thing wouldn't have happened if your 16yo hadn't behaved so badly.

Voice0fReason Fri 19-May-17 18:20:11

The 16yr old went to annoy his brother
Took an item of his to cause trouble
Refused to give it back
In the struggle, it got broken

Your 16yr old is responsible for the breakage. I don't understand how your 11yr old is taking some of the blame here.

corythatwas Sat 20-May-17 16:55:21

Ceto Fri 19-May-17 17:31:53
"Sorry, but if your 16 year old deliberately went in to annoy your 11 year old, how on earth is that is a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other? And if your 11 year old was trying to recover his property which the 16 year old had no right to take and was refusing to give back, how is it his fault the phone got broken?

I know you think your husband only sees bad in your older son, but it really looks to me as if you're overcompensating and going too far the other way."

This. With the hint of a possibility that what you call "your husband only seeing the bad in the older ds" is his attempts to compensate for what he sees as the older ds being the golden child.

Noeuf Sat 20-May-17 17:39:41

God I have four children and if I conducted an investigation every time something like this happened I'd be tied up all the time.

Best advice - don't speak to either of them about, give them an hour to come up with a version they both agree on and then decide the punishment otherwise they both get something much worse.

CatsInKilts Sat 20-May-17 17:48:02

The 16yr-old shouldn't have had the phone in the first place.

There wouldn't have been a struggle if they'd given it back when asked.

Even the 16yr-old's own version of events doesn't cover him in glory. I would be making him contribute to the cost of repair or replacement.

corythatwas Sat 20-May-17 18:16:08

Noeuf, the problem with that is that both accounts as related by the OP show that the 16yo went into his brothers room and took his phone and that he had it when it fell down the stairs. The only difference is whether the elder did it on purpose or not.

So how and why would you punish the 11yo for that? What message does that send?

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