12 Year Old Texting to Girls Way Too Much!

Updated on January 25, 2009
T.D. asks from Fort Worth, TX
11 answers

Hi, I have a 12 year old son that goes to a small private school. The middle school class between 7th and 8th grade alone is only 30 kids. My son is in 7th. We have a double minute tracfone for him for emergencies. He buys his own minutes. BUT for Christmas I bought him minutes. He had 300 minutes the week before Christmas, today he is down to 16 minutes! Here is my question, he has a 9th grader talking about asking him out. Our son will not go out until 16. He and 2 other girls were going on about this "going out" thing until 11 pm tonight! I went and took the phone from him and text the girls back, stating he will not be "going out" until he is 16, AND do not call after 10, which is his bedtime. My husband thinks I will embrass him, but at this point I don't care. It isn't time to be his best friend, we are his parents AND he is only 12!!!! What would you do in this situation? I am not a super strict mom, like it sounds but I have boundaries, and those girls crossed the boundaries. If you don't agree with me, please be nice or don't say anything at all to me. If you have any suggestions or what you do with your 12 year old please let me know. Thanks!

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answers from Dallas on

Hi T.,
Your son is at a hard age and I agree, you want to be firm and consistent, but you don't want to be rigid. This is the beginning of tough years and you want to encourage mutual respect. I would not have texted on his phone. However, I would have told him he had 5 minutes to get off the phone, and then taken it away if he didn't do what I asked. When my son first got his phone I did not want him on the phone late and so he had to turn it off and leave it in the kitchen after a certain hour. My son was older than yours and so we made the time 10pm. I think 8:30 or 9pm is reasonable for a 12 year old.

I would say not to start a battle over the texting the rest of the time if he is getting homework and chores done. If you don't pay for any more minutes he will run out soon enough and the problem will be resolved without you becoming the bad guy. He won't be able to afford it. If he gets the money somewhere and the problem pops back up, then you can talk with your husband and come up with reasonable limits.

I'm going to tell you that you are in a transitional time. Sweet little boy is coming into hormones and rebellion. Avoid humiliation and keep him open and communicating with you. Yes, set the limits. You aren't his pal, but encourage him every time he does the right thing. If he turns off the phone on time tell him how much you appreciate him following the rules. If he tells you his friend did a dumb thing........don't panic. Tell him his friend is lucky to have him as a friend so that he can show him a better way. If he remembers to call you that he arrived safely at his friends house, tell him Thank You and that appreciate his consideration. If he forgets, don't yell, tell him why you want to know if he arrived.....you worry and love him. If he forgets again, then the next time he wants to go tell him "not today. Last time you didn't call and I just don't want to worry about you today." Next time let him go and try again. Make your consequences natural to fit the crime. Pick your battles and try to make the positives outweigh the negatives because you will have battles you will have to fight. Last.......you will make mistakes. We all do!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Hi T.. I totally see where you are coming from. My son will be 12 in a few weeks too. The most important thing is that they FOLLOW the rules you have set--which by the way I don't think you are too strict. Just remember to keep the lines of communication open to where he can talk to you and/or your hubby. If they think we are going to be angry, then that can sometimes be hard for them. Although these kids are too young for girlfriends/boyfriends, I think most parents will agree that if our kids have questions or issues, we want them coming to us--their parents--to talk to. You are doing everything right--hang in there!! :) C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

To some degree, I know what you are going through. I have a 13 yo daughter who texts all the time. At first, it got out of hand, where it interrupted dinner, family time, etc. I had to put a stop to it, and lay down defined rules for the cell phone. Initially there were to be no calls or texts to boys, nor were they allowed to call or text her. I have relaxed a little and let her text a couple of boys, because they are friends with no romantic feelings on her part.
I know it is difficult to know what to do, and your gut reaction is to text the girls back. Although I'm not quite there yet with a boy (my son is 10), the experience with my daughter is teaching me how to handle it. She knows that her phone is a responsibility, she abuses that and she knows her phone will be taken. For your part, perhaps if you talk to him and explain why you are upset and lay down rules, as well as consequences that would help. I'm learning how to handle the situation myself, so please do not think I'm judging.
As far as the "going out" thing, I think that a previous post pretty much summed it up: it is really pretty innocent, restricted to hand-holding, etc. If you suspect that it is not innocent, of course that is a whole other issue. My daughter (thank goodness) is still uncomfortable with that and seems to like boys from afar rather than up close. Good luck, I know it is not easy.

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answers from Dallas on

I would treat texting as if it were the phone when we were younger. We had rules that I think were just common sense- no calls (texting) after a certain hour. We were also only allowed to be on the phone for a certain amount of time each evening. Also, as girls, my parents really didn't care for us to be calling boys. It may sound a bit old fashioned, but like you said, you are his mom and he is only 12.
I can say that after teaching middle school for 10 years, it would be wise to put some boundaries on it now. It was kinda' scary how middle school kids try to be very grown up- especially in a not so great way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

Call me crazy - I turn off the texting on their phone and everyone (me and husband included) deposits the phones in a keeper from Dinner time (5 o'clock) until 6, then for bed from 9pm to 6 am. Any messages will keep until then. It's just the way we do it.

I'm positively draconian, though - imagine that. I work with pregnant teenagers, and am determined that my daughter will not be one - my sons will not cause one - without me putting up a fight in the beginning of the process.

Good luck

I have to speak to readers who think going out is only sitting together at lunch. My youngest girls were not yet 12 when they got pregnant. I routinely have 14 and 15 year olds DELIVERING. They're not all from "bad families" or the "wrong side of the tracks". These are good kids making big timing errors with sexual behavior.. at friends' houses, at movie theaters, at their own houses with parents gone. I'm not encouraging paranoia - just serious caution. Teenagers are inherently untrustworthy where hormones are involved.. it just is the way it is.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have AT&T and I have smart limits on my girls' phones. It is $5 per month per line and you can put limits on who they can text and call (for ex, my 11 yr old daughter proved herself unresponsible with her phone so she can literally only call my husband and me and the same with texting). She can call 911 and unfortunately they cannot limit who can call IN bc of 911 but it has REALLY helped. My 13 year old can only text/call during certain hours. HTH

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Do not EMBARRAS your son, and you should CARE! You can set the boundaries without the embarrasment factor. Not sure how those girls crossed the boundaries?? Do they know know your boundaries? Set the limits with your son and be done with it. I have a daughter age 13, and yes we have limitations of usage regarding the phone. Best of luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't have advice, sorry. I did want to tell you I think you are on the right track, and I don't think you are too strict at all. I have an 11 year old who doesn't have a phone (and I teach high school), and you seem to be doing a great job!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Don't have anything in the way of advice, but wanted to say that I agree with you and definitely feel you did the right thing!! Keep those boundaries set and visible to him or he will push them and push them until you're all in real trouble. I do not believe you "humiliated" him at all- possibly embarrassed. I think all kids who step over the line need to be embarrassed sometitmes- it's a good deterrent. If a pre-kindergardener pees in his/her pants, sucks thumb, uses binky, whatever... before going into school, people always say "wait 'til he/she gets in school- it will stop", because he/she will be embarrassed. People know it works to stop bad behavior, so what if you were the cause of the embarrassment? You are looking out for his best interests, so you are doing a great job! We are not made parents to be their friends, but to parent. Keep it up!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My nephew is 12; my niece is 14 - here's what I can tell you about "going out" at this age, as well as texting.

"going out" that his age doesn't mean the traditional dating (and how could it - they can't drive themselves anywhere). It basically just means maybe they sit together at lunch or in class, that they talk on the phone (or text) a lot; maybe they buy each other little gifts for Valentines day or for their birthdays. That's all that means (usually) so it's fairly harmless. If it starts to interfere with his academic performance, then you should definitely intervene.

As far as the texting goes, I don't see why it's an issue if he's paying for it. This is a great opportunity to talk to him about saving/budgeting/spending. If he gets low on his minutes, then it's his responsibility to either tell his friends that he can't text for a while until he gets more minutes or to go buy more. And, no matter how few minutes he has, all cell phones are programmed to allow calls to 911. Those never count against your minutes on a prepaid phone (even phones that aren't on an active plan will call 911). So, if you're afraid he'll run out of minutes and won't be able to contact emergency services, don't worry about that. And, if you don't like how he's using his minutes, then don't buy them for him anymore.

My sister-in-law prohibits her teens from using their cell phones after a certain time of night (if it gets to be a problem, she confiscates the phone at night). Their school does not allow cell phone use in class, so she doesn't have to worry about that being a distraction. No cell phones are allowed at the dinner table or during family time (i.e. watching a movie together). Also, they are not allowed to walk & text or ride bikes & text, etc. (That rule was started after my nephew tripped and fell while texting)


answers from Dallas on

My daughter (14) is a texter as are most of her friends. They have unlimited texting on the phone plans, as I do.

She was talking about "going out" the other day and I reminded her that she is not dating and going out at 14. She told me that "going out" term is simply....Will you be my girlfriend or boyfriend?" I do think 9th grade girls calling a 7th grader is a questionable.

There are some girls so boy crazy it is scary. Fortunately, we don't have one of those right now. Ours is very social and as she said "I don't want to be tied down", LOL

I'm with your husband on this one. I would not get on my daughter's phone and text anyone for her. Yes, we have boundaries but I am not going to humiliate her. Yes, we are the parents but to get respect you have to give respect. I know..you pay for the phone, etc. I want to keep the lines of communication wide open and I don't do things that will make her shut down toward me. There is a line between best friend and parent and we walk that line carefully. Right now everything is going well...she knows no phone calls or texting past 10 on school nights and she has respected that.

IF she were to break those boundaries, instead of texting her friends, I would just put her phone on silent and let it charge in my room.

Hopefully this is not offensive to you.

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