Appropriate Punishment - Westerville,OH

Updated on July 17, 2012
T.M. asks from Westerville, OH
20 answers

Hi moms and dads. I'd like your opinion on a punishment for my 15 yo daughter. Last night when she was supposed to be in bed she was on her cell phone. Dad heard voices and asked me if she was on the phone. I went to her room (the light was out) asked her and she said no. A few minutes later back in our room, dad says, she's on the phone, come listen. I do and hear her on the phone. Back to her room, I ask if she's on the phone.
I turn on the light and ask "Who were you talking to?"
"I wasn't talking."
"Where's your phone?"
"In my hand."
"Give it here."
She hangs up and gives it to me. "Why did you lie?"
"I didn't want to get in trouble."
As I'm leaving the room she asks if she can have it to call back and say she has to go. I say no. She asks if she can answer the call when the girl calls back. "No." I go to my room and turn off the phone.

So, I'm thinking is a week without the phone. Is that too little? Should I also suspend ipod and internet use for the week? (She doesn't watch tv) Does anyone have a better punishment?

Thanks for your input.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everybody. We decided on one week with no phone. And I will have her start surrendering the phone at 10pm and getting it back after her morning chores are done…great suggestion. It is because of the lying. It was a little after 11pm; she was supposed to be in bed and I could have dealt with an admission of being on the phone and an apology.

Kate L. – yes I was more pissed because she had the audacity to lie and then stay on the phone.

SuzanneL - I am with you; all kids (in my book, 15 is still a kid who typically doesn’t yet know what’s in her best interest) have a bedtime in my house and that isn’t going to change. I don’t think it’s healthy to stay up all night and then sleep until noon. It’s a bad habit that I don’t want to encourage even in the summer.

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answers from Cleveland on

Lying is BAD NEWS in my house. I hate it. If you do something wrong and you lie along with it, punishment doubles. She should have just been honest and told you "Yes, I'm on the phone, sorry". If she was smart she would have gotten off the phone after she almost got caught the first time! lol
However, I agree with the posters below about her getting in trouble for being on the phone. She's 15! It's summer! It's Friday night! She was at home in bed talking on the phone, not sneaking out of the house. I understand if you have house rules, rules are rules, but I think these sound more like rules for a 10 year old, not a 15 year old.
Remember, in three short years she will legally be an adult! She should be able to start making choices about when she can talk on the phone. If she's too tired in the morning to take part in family activities or whatever, then she will learn her lesson by sucking it up and being tired, but it might be time to think about giving her some more freedom.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If this were me, I would be more upset about the lying than the phone call. And yes I would take away all of her electronic PRIVILEGES. And for longer than a week. Lying is NOT tolerated in my house!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Grand Forks on

I also don't get a 15 year old having a bedtime and phone restrictions on A Friday night in the summertime. Of course lying isn't OK, but you are kind of setting her up for failure by not allowing her a certain amount of age appropriate freedom.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Ok, I realize she lied to you (twice), and that cannot be tolerated, but I find it very odd that you said she was "supposed to be in bed" and that it sounds like there is a certain time that she is not allowed to use the phone.

When I was that age the only people who had cells phones were quite wealthy, and the phones were the size of a shoe box.

My parents would not have appreciated the house phone ringing, but if I were already on the phone they would not have told me to hang up by a certain time, and I'm pretty sure that if we all had cell phones they would not have cared if I was on the phone at 2:00 in the morning, as long as I wasn't disturbing them. Also, I did not have a bed time.

I just find it very unusual that a 15 year old would have those kinds of restrictions, especially on a Friday night in the summer when there's no school.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I'm with the other mom's. At 15 she should be monitoring her bed time, especially in the summer and on the weekends. I get the need for it during school time, but not any other time.

At that age mine had to go to their rooms, but when they went to sleep and what they did was up to them. No computers in their rooms so they stayed up on the phone, watched movies and so long as it was no interfering with the rest of the house I didn't complain.

They did know though that no matter what time they went to sleep, they would be up by 10 am. Sometimes earlier depending on what needed to be done.

Her need to lie was telling you something. I don't like lying, it's a pet peeve of mine, but sometimes we have to look past the lie and find out why they felt the need to do it.

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answers from Charlotte on

It's one thing to be thumbing her nose at your rule. It's another thing to lie about it. Her punishment for going against the rule is a week without the phone. Her punishment for lying is that she surrenders the phone to you by 10:00 at night (earlier than that if you have bedtime hours.) The next morning her chores have to be done before she can have the phone back.

Don't give her other punishments. This is about the phone. However, she shouldn't have a computer in her room. If she does, she'll just IM with her friends when she is supposed to be sleeping.


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answers from Detroit on

If you don't want her using the phone after bedtime or a certain time at night, than have her hand you the phone, and it gets put away somewhere else until the next day.

I kinda agree that while lying is really not cool, and lying typically earns a harsher punishment than whatever the orginal offense was, it seems like you are being a little too strict with her in the first place. Unless there is more to the story, I don't know why it matters that she was on the phone in her room instead of just going to sleep if it's a Fri night in summer, and there's no school or anything else going on the next day that she needs to be up early for. At that age, we would be sending our stepsons to their room by 11 at the latest, and telling them it was time for bed, but not really caring if they were listening to music on their iPods, or talking, or whatever. As long as they were in their rooms and being quiet. If they slept until noon the next day, so what - it didn't impact us in any way.

I think you need to let her know that lying is totally unacceptable, but in a way, I think you set her up to lie, if she knew she was going to get in trouble for being on the phone. Maybe it's time to lighten up about the rules a little, or like I said before, just not let her have the phone in her room after 10pm or whatever - it gets put away on the charger in the kitchen instead, for example. You can take away the phone for a week, but let her know it's for lying, not for talking on it in the first place. I wouldn't take away anything else.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

When we were little my mom made a deal with us.
"No matter what,happens if you tell me the truth I will not be mad. I may be hurt or upset, but I will not be mad at you."

To this day she has kept this promise.

Listen to what your daughter said. "I did not want to get in trouble"

Ok, so a week without the phone for talking on the phone late at night during the summer is appropriate. Fine. Since you have a rule about this, but begin to consider, she is young, it is summer, 15 year olds can stay up late and still function the next day.

Is your daughter overall a good kid? Does she make good grades, involved in outside activities and keeps up with her responsibilities? If so consider allowing her some privileges.

In our home when our daughter was in high school, we did not have a bedtime, we had an agreement. Stay up as late as you want, but you must be awake and functioning for the next day by.... 9:00am in the summer and in time to be ready for school and functioning in the mornings.

This meant she could talk on the phone, read, be on the computer.

During the school year, gasp, same rule as long as her grades stayed up and again she could function for the full day.

Your daughter is now old enough to figure out how much she can handle without sleep. When our daughter was in college, there were many, many nights of no sleep, not partying, but studying and writing papers. She knew what she could handle and was mature enough to make these decisions, partially because while in high school, she had learned her limits.

Time to take a step back and begin making the rules, with your daughter. Each can state their reasons, but if your daughter does not keep up with her promises, you start pulling back on some of these privileges.

My nephew will be a senior in August. He is a huge athlete,varsity quarterback, , belongs to clubs, volunteers and makes good grades. He does not have cell phone hours, but he has learned he has to be asleep by a certain time to be at his best to be able to keep up with his responsibilities. When he makes a poor choice, he takes responsibility, this is something he has learned by testing him self. No one to blame but himself.

Hang in there mom, she is growing up, needs guidance, but she also needs to win her own choices. Allow this now while it s safe and at home, not when she moves away and you are not there to make suggestions or observations.

I knw this is hard. But it is part of preparing her to be without you un a very few years.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have a teen. I'd ground her for the week for lying, and from now on, I'd give her a phone curfew and have her turn the phone in at 10pm or whenever you go to bed, if you don't want her to use it after a certain time or are afraid she'll be up calling/texting til all hours. The real trouble here is that she is lying to get out of trouble, and if you let that slide, it's a habit she'll continue with.
However, I would wonder what time it was when she was on the phone. I don't know why a high schooler needs parents listening outside her door. Are your rules a little too juvenile for a teen her age? If she was on the phone at 2 a.m., I'd say it's unnecessary but if you're talking about 11pm on a Friday night and she has no school/work the next day, I don't find being up and texting with friends unreasonable.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would ground her for a week as well. From now on the phone gets checked in with you at bed time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

i like lovin m's response. take away the phone for a week. if you happen to hear it ring, answer or text back saying your daughter will not have access to the phone for a week, and be done. no need to punish her more. a week without a phone for a teenager is the end of the world :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think a week without the phone is too much. 24 hours should do the trick. When you give her phone back, say that there are new rules. She has to turn off her phone and give it to you by 10pm every night. She can get it back in the morning as soon as her bed is made, chores done whatever.

Tell her that she needs to earn back your trust since she lied to you. Having a phone is a privilege, not a right. The new rules could be in place for a long time.

Yes, and definitely no computer in the room.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I must be the only one who feels bedtime is bedtime no matter what the age unless you give permission. I don't see a need for kids to be talking on a cell phone all night, which it sometimes ends up being. I would take the phone for a week, then have her give it to you at night when you decide what is the proper time for all to sleep at your house. Kids that are 15 are just that, fifteen years old. As for the lying I would tell your daughter that regardless of the crime or punishment or not there is no excuse for lying in any form and if she does there end will be much worse than she sees this time.

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answers from Kansas City on

i do think grounding from the phone is appropriate, and a week sounds fine to me. but then i don't know her history. just don't back down. i would also be more concerned about the lying. mine is only 5 but i have always said, you'll get in trouble for misbehaving, but you'll get in double trouble for lying. but at 15 i don't know how you have handled lying in the past so that is a tougher one. good luck.

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answers from Chicago on

I recall when I was 15 a worse punishment than having the phone taken away was my friends knowing I was in trouble or that I wasn't in control, but my parents were - don't we all like to believe we are in control at 15?

While the phone is taken away for the week, if it rings or gets a text answer it yourself letting the caller know your daughter is unavailable on this for right now because she was not following the house rules for the phone. When the girl called back in the instance she was caught, I'd have answered the phone then too.

For me, as a teen, would have been way worse than just having it taken away, and I'd think again before I'd want Mom answering my calls.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

In response to your SWH, I will say that now is the time to start training her to make decisions and allowing her more room. She is going to probably be dating in a few months and if she can't even decide when she can talk on the phone she isn't going to have very good decision making skills when a boy pressures her to have sex or try some weed.

I think you are doing a good job, I am not saying you're not. Just suggesting that you might start integrating some ability to make decisions so she is better at it. Lying to not get into trouble is rather immature for her age and that tells me she isn't allowed to make good choices yet. At 16 she needs to be making major choices so she needs the practice in her home life where she is well protected from the world and has that safety net.

Also in a year she'll be planning on college and other adult things. She has a lot of growing up to do in that time frame. That's all I'm saying. She needs to chances to made wrong choices and have the natural consequences.

I would have grounded her from the phone too. My hubby would have let her do it then got her up early the next morning and not let her rest all day so that she would be really really tired all day> the natural consequence from staying up too late. Then if it happened again where it effected her school or other activities she would have had it taken away. Just our different parenting styles.

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answers from Redding on

The phone is an awesome bargaining tool for you.
I like Dawn's answer.

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answers from Washington DC on

I think I'd let her have her phone during the day, but at 7pm it would become mine - for a while.. I'd talk with her about the lying, but I'd not take her phone for a week for lying -- She'd have to give the phone up at 7 every night for lying...
It would hurt more to have to give it up so early in the evening, than to give it up for a week... I know this. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would go at least a week and see how she reacts, then when you give it back, it's under the new rule that all phones are docked in a family space (kitchen, office, wherever) at bedtime.

My 14 year olds like to have their phones at night because my son listens to music while falling asleep and my SD uses hers as an alarm, but they know that if they're texting or talking after 9PM on a school night or bedtime on a non-school night, they lose that privilege and the phones will be docked on my desk.

FWIW my kids routinely have their phones taken away and it takes more than a week for them to really miss it.

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answers from Cincinnati on

I too would have said a week without the phone since that is what got her into trouble in the first place.

One thing my mom started to do when I would get into trouble and I was a teenager was she would let me pick my punishment-within reason.

She would ask me what I should have taken away and for how long and then she would either agree with me OR add to it (which had happened before depending on what I did and what I choose to ground myself from).

I remember once lying to my parents about who I was spending New Year's Eve with. I said a girlfriend-and I did. What I didn't mention was that I would be there with my boyfriend (the girl friend was his sister). So I tried to ground myself from tv and internet, my mom agreed and added no phone on top of that so I couldn't communicate easily with him since I lied over him. Let me tell you it sucked but I learned my lesson.

Your daughter thinks she knows everything but it may not be a bad thing for her to choose her own punishments because in doing so she is taking responsibility for her actions.

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