How would you punish this?

(46 Posts)
thedeathofme Thu 04-Oct-18 00:23:41

Today was the last day of a punishment that DS13 was on for getting caught on his iPad late at night at his dads house (ipad is usually here, neither of us even knew he had taken it). He'd had a phone ban apart from for school, ipad ban, xbox live ban and a delay on getting the new fifa. All was to be back to normal tomorrow.

Reason his dad was so harsh (in my eyes - I felt bad about the fifa ban as it was the day he was meant to get the new one) was that he has form for using his phone past bedtime when he knows he's not to, but, my hands up, I am not good at keeping on top of it i.e. removing it from his room at bedtime. Sometimes he does it without even being reminded though.

Tonight he happily placed his phone in my room. Hour and a half later I saw the flash of the screen under his door. At it again. But lied and lied and lied, even wanting to pinky promise me he had "only checked the time". Turns out he was on his Snapchat.

So what's the punishment now? He was getting fifa tomorrow, waiting on new football boots being delivered. had asked to go to a sleepover at the weekend, and we've just forked out £100 deposit for an almost £700 school trip. I went off on one and basically said none of that's happening, because I'm actually quite hurt by the bare faced lie and attempt to manipulate me. So whats the reasonable reaction here? Apart from this he's actually a really good kid! And the trip can't be cancelled anyway, I shouldn't have even said that.

And trust me, I won't be taking my eye off the ball with the screens at bedtime again.

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thedeathofme Thu 04-Oct-18 00:26:04

And thanks for reading. I know in the grand scheme of things it's just trivial teenage crap. But the lying to me has got really under my skin and I think that stems back to my dads hatred for lying when I was little. But I'm talking 6/7 for scribbling where I shouldn't kinda thing, or accusing me of lying when I wasn't.

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SpoonBlender Thu 04-Oct-18 00:29:45

Cancel Fifa and the sleepover. Boots and school trip you should relent on, because they're positive non-screen things.

Lweji Thu 04-Oct-18 00:33:16

Punishments and imposed rules only lead to kids trying to push boundaries and avoidance (by lying).

They are becoming adults at this age and should start getting some responsibility over their choices.
You're not teaching him self control, but defiance of authority.
What I do with DS, also 13, is to encourage him to make the best choices for himself. Such as going to bed at a reasonable time, and some limit on screen time. We discuss the reasons for this, rather than it seeming arbitrary.

thedeathofme Thu 04-Oct-18 00:36:23

Yeah, I've tried that last time (and got slated on here for expecting him to be able to manage that) and it hasn't got us anywhere, clearly.

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thedeathofme Thu 04-Oct-18 00:37:55

Good reasoning @SpoonBlender

I feel awful at the thought of sticking him into to his dad and getting the fifa ban extended. Which I know is ridiculous!

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Lweji Thu 04-Oct-18 00:39:15

They aren't supposed to be able to manage it, but we are supposed to encourage them and guide them and remind them.

I really don't see the point of endless threats and punishments, which are clearly not working either. Where do you stop?


Sundance2741 Thu 04-Oct-18 06:01:30

Turn it round and offer a reward for x days compliance. Eg he can have football boots or sleepover if he manages it till the weekend. My 13 yo dd tries to sneak hers into bed too - think knowing friends are online is too much of a temptation. I don't punish it, just try to be more vigilant near bedtime and put it in a different place everyday so she can't find it!

TitsalinaBumSquash Thu 04-Oct-18 06:06:13

Our kids screens go off and in a basket in then living room at bedtime so sneaking it back would be tricky.

Agree with above. Phone and Xbox/FIFA ban but boots and trip still allowed.

I have teens that don't/can't/won't self regulate screens. The elder one is getting better but I am still their parent and fair boundaries must be put in place.

FinallyHere Thu 04-Oct-18 06:12:46

Just a thought while you decide, to remind yourself to not spout the threats of punishment in the heat of anger when you catch them out lying etc. Going quiet and saying only 'I will deal with this later' is more effective, and gives you space to decide what is most appropriate rather that threaten all sorts of sanctions only to rescind some of them later.

starryeyed19 Thu 04-Oct-18 06:19:03

I don't know what kind of phone he has but the new screen time controls on the iPhone are really good. Could you look at installing some kind of app that restricts his usage?

Also, I think the basket idea and the "I'll deal with this later" suggestions are good ones.

You have my sympathies, OP

thedeathofme Thu 04-Oct-18 07:50:51

I will look into the usage apps, thanks.

I won't be turning it round into a reward. The lying and manipulation is the bigger issue for me here and I'll never reward that.

Okay, no fifa and no sleepover and screen ban extended. I feel really shit about the first two. I know he'll be miserable about those.

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Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 04-Oct-18 09:18:48

I'm not sure why you feel so shit about the first two, or the fact that there are consequences to his behaviour - he sounds really spoilt to me! It's a good thing that you're banning the FIFA and the sleepover - he'd only be on games all night at that too, so use the time to create some positive non-screen based fun times. Then something really positive can come it. It would seem to be that he is unable to manage his screen use and sounds pretty addicted to be sneaking off at night with his phone. Going forward I would have a BIG chat about this and tell him why you are concerned - there are loads of suggestions for managing screen use and behaviour that you can research online (family media plan, leading by example, the new iPhone app, etc), but you need to be really consistent and also find alternatives to fill up the downtime at home a bit more.

CarolDanvers Thu 04-Oct-18 09:21:12

I wouldn’t punish this at all. I’d just make sure the screens were no longer in his room. It’s not the end of the world it really isn’t. I can’t be arsed with constant dramatic punishment and the stress they bring. Prevention is better than cure.

Lweji Thu 04-Oct-18 09:25:11

It's not the same when they're 3 or 13. I think parents get in a rut of rules and punishment and forget to engage children, particularly when they become teenagers.

Do you want your teenager to make the right choices or to obey you?

BooMare Thu 04-Oct-18 09:42:12

Don't cancel the sleepiver! I think that's really ott and embarrassing and mean. Just get on top of being in control of his phone (must be kept downstairs at night). It's really not a big deal, including the lying.

QuantumGroan Thu 04-Oct-18 09:48:44

Punishments and imposed rules only lead to kids trying to push boundaries and avoidance (by lying).

They are becoming adults at this age and should start getting some responsibility over their choices.
You're not teaching him self control, but defiance of authority.
What I do with DS, also 13, is to encourage him to make the best choices for himself. Such as going to bed at a reasonable time, and some limit on screen time. We discuss the reasons for this, rather than it seeming arbitrary. I completely agree with Lweji

You sound like you are out of control and panicked, ban everything, take it all from him, lock him in a room, punish him till he see sense. Your behaviour is encouraging the lying and the manipulative behaviour and it will get worse, if punishment is the only thing in your toolbox life is going to get very unpleasant in the teenage years, the make teenagers resentful, more sulky, less grateful, less engaged with the family and teach them to be more careful about getting caught the next time.
All teens lie - well in studies they reckon maybe 97% of them - even over stupid stuff that doesn't matter - it part of the break they need to make from their parents, try not to take it so personally. If I catch my kids on their phone I will talk to them about it, ask if there is anything I can do to help them stay off it - that way they are making the decision.
You need to encourage your teens to make the right choices because as an adult that is what he needs to do, so best get practicing be cause he will make a lot of mistakes and you will be there to talk through those mistakes and make sure he faces the consequences.
So I would stop banning clearly hasn't worked either, or you wouldn't need to ban more - it's a bad habit to get into.

SerenStar0 Thu 04-Oct-18 11:34:30


Some great ideas - I like your way of thinking and absolutely agree about treating teens as young adults and encouraging them to make good choices.

I think I have fallen into the trap of worrying so much about boundaries and rules that it has back fired on me. My son (13) has completely rebelled against authority and I worry he now feels stifled.

I tried completely backing off and encouraging him to make good choices, but he seems too immature to foresee consequences and keeps making bad decisions such as hanging around with the wrong crowd- playing truant, smoking and so on. I guess as he doesn’t respond to ‘punishment’ unfortunately he’s going to have to learn the hard way.

Op good luck with what you decide- parenting teens has got to be by far the trickiest time of bringing up children.

LittleMissMarker Thu 04-Oct-18 13:06:54

Reason his dad was so harsh (in my eyes

So, even you thought the punishment was too harsh? Bummer. You do have to tune punishments very carefully or they lead directly to lying and deceit.....

Tonight he happily placed his phone in my room. Hour and a half later I saw the flash of the screen under his door. At it again. But lied and lied and lied, even wanting to pinky promise me he had "only checked the time". Turns out he was on his Snapchat.

..... as you have now found out.

I don't see any point in all this punishment either. There are things you can trust teens to do and things you can't. Imagine someone interrogating you about whether you scarfed that sneaky box of chocs at bedtime. You know you shouldn't have eaten them all, it's greedy and it'll make you fat. What punishment would stop you picking from another open box by your bedside? And wouldn't it be easier all round if the chocs were put away and weren't lying around where you could get them?

Gadgets are just very tempting. It's harder with two houses but now his Dad knows he needs to check for tech and get it parked out of the way at bedtime.

thedeathofme Thu 04-Oct-18 13:06:57

He only asked me about the sleepover last night, (for him to go to one, not him having one), so he hadn't had a definitive answer anyway.

I have discussed the reasons why being on his phone/iPad so late at night is not good for him, more than once, and it used to be that these things were left in his room for him to be trusted with, but he couldn't. So neither approach seems to be working, it seems. And I've told him how telling the truth even if it means trouble, is far better than lying and getting in the shit for both.

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wannabestressfree Thu 04-Oct-18 13:18:31

Honestly i have three teenage sons and I tend to stick to boundary first eg off fortnite and showered by nine (for ds3), if he goes over time I am disappointed and I cold shoulder him. I find this works far more effectively. I then give it half an hour and talk to him about why I have the rules and boundaries. Clean sheet the next day.

I also am not a fan of draconian punishments - fifa would have finished them off!!! I don't 'share' punishments with my ex. If it happened there it stays there- particularly as I have them 95% of the time.

Good luck though!

Lweji Thu 04-Oct-18 14:32:29

Don't get me wrong, I also use punishments, but only as a last resort and pre-warned. So, he knows what to expect if he breaks the rules (that we have agreed on). I don't decide on punishments post-breaking rules.
Maybe it's DS, but I haven't had to really use punishments for a long while. I don't remember when I last did. But I tend to be somewhat tolerant, for example if he asks me to finish a conversation/game. And it rarely requires much more than a reminder or a raised eyebrow. Or the occasional rant about banning the bloody PS4.

Having said that, there was one time when I asked him which punishment he thought he deserved. After the initial shock, he came up with something worse than I would have. grin

But we have to remember that we, adults, sometimes also stay later and glued to some conversation on MN or FB. We don't abide by strict bed times or screen times. I don't think it's fair that we try to impose rules on teenagers that we don't impose on ourselves. So, have a general rule (one that has a good reason for it), do our best to stick to it, but have some leniency regarding the occasional exception.

spacefighter Thu 04-Oct-18 14:40:48

No FIFA and definitely no sleepover.

QuantumGroan Thu 04-Oct-18 15:34:17

Nothing really works for this kind of thing - and the chocolate temptation example is a good one. The thing about punishment over talking is that it has a negative effect on your relationship and that makes it more difficult to be an effective influencer, creates an unpleasant atmosphere , the punishment has to be upped every time it doesn't work - till it's so over the top it's ridiculous - I've seen parents on here getting to the point where they have threatened to ground their kids for a year - I'm sure they couldn't have gone through with it - but you can see where this can lead! You are experiencing the beginning stages of teenage behaviour and you are treating him like a toddler, this will only get worse until you understand that you can't parent a 13 year old the way you parent a 5 year old.
Go read a few parenting teenager books and reset your thinking. "How to talk so teens listen" is pretty good, as is "Get out my life but forst take me and Alex to town" - they really helped me adjust to the new stage and my change in attitude caused a ripple effect - our house is a much nicer place to live now.

MargoLovebutter Thu 04-Oct-18 15:46:52

I'm really with Lweji on this. You have to encourage teens to make the right choice because it is the right choice and not because they are being forced into it through bans, rules etc.

We all lie and anyone who says they don't is a liar! If you have an autistic spectrum child or know someone ASD who can't lie, then you will see the kinds of difficulties that gets them into.

The lying is not the issue here, it is why he feels he has to lie and how the two of you haven't been able to communicate a compromise that you are both happy with.

Talk, talk and talk some more. Get him to argue his case for why he should have access to his phone / screen / whatever. Tell him he has an opportunity to put his case across and really listen to what he has to say. Then you put across your case, your concerns and so on and tell him he has to listen to you. Tell him you're going to talk this through with him like he was a grown up, so that you can both come to a conclusion you are happy with. Arrive at something that you feel you can both work with and agree to trial it for a week and then review it.

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