How Long Should I Take My Daughter's Phone Away for Sneaking Her Boyfriend in Th

Updated on January 01, 2019
M.M. asks from Willow Spring, NC
11 answers

My 15 yr old daughter has been told many times that her boyfriend is not allowed at the house when myself or my husband are not at home. I took her phone away ((which is her life) for breaking the rules. This is the first time that it has happened and I'm really not sure on the time I should keep it from her. When looking at other articles on other sites it was said that no longer than 24 hours would be sufficient. What do you suggest?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your advice. I took bits
and pieces from most. I just needed to make some corrections. First of all this only happened one time. He and she told how it all happened from how and when he got there to what they did. They both were very respectful when i asked the questions. Also he comes to the house ONLY when we are there. Of course except this time. We and his parents are on same page. He did not get blamed alone. Also just to add to the one who responded by saying she might try to sneak out of school, really she is not a bad kid she just made a bad decision, got caught and is being consequence for it. For those who questioned "why the phone" that is her life and is how she communicates with this boy. So no communication with him, and she is att home until school starts back up. A total of 8 days for a first offence sound sufficient to me. Thank you all.

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answers from Orlando on

I say a week. It was wrong; a week will be hard for her as it should be, (it will be hard for you too). One week is plenty; she made a bad decision she needs a consequence but it’s as simple as that from what I hear. Best of luck!

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answers from Denver on

My personal opinion is that you shouldn't take your daughter's phone away at all.

Now, if she had been using the phone to send nude or suggestive photos of herself to someone, take the phone away. For a good long time. Like a year. If she used all the data and cost you extra money for extra phone time, or if she used the phone to text a friend during class, or kept losing her phone, take the phone away. For a good long time. Like a month.

But your daughter's phone really had nothing (or little) to do with sneaking her boyfriend in to your house. She opened the door, allowed the boy in, and knew she was breaking your rules.

So you have to make the consequences fit the punishment, you have to make it make sense. How?

Take away her freedom. She had freedom (freedom to be alone in the house) and she violated the terms of that freedom.

So, for the next month, she cannot go to movies with friends, or go to friends' houses after school. You double check that she's in school, at her classes, and if she wants to visit a friend, that friend can come over, but your daughter and another girl will find out that Mommy or Daddy is RIGHT THERE, as if she were 4 years old again. If they want to chat, they can, in the family room while you knit or read or pay bills. If they want a snack, they can make one, but you'll be in the kitchen too. No dates, no nothing except school and home.

And you don't make it cruel. You make it logical. You calmly tell her "honey, we let you be home alone. You knew that we have house rules. And you broke them. You basically told us that you can't be trusted with freedom and independence, so for the next 3 weeks you will have no independence at all. You have the opportunity to show us that you can be trusted, because we know that you understand our rules, and we know that you want trust and independence. But trust has to be earned. We'll start over and you can earn our trust. Remember, soon you'll be old enough to get a driver's license, but that won't happen unless you demonstrate that you're trustworthy. Let's start now." Keep your word. Plan on her being angry about it, but stay calm and hold your ground.

Yes, it will be inconvenient. Yes, it will be a pain for you. But it's a small price to pay in the long run.

And be sure to tell her those rules just once. And help her figure out what to do if she's alone and a boy shows up. Help her develop the inner strength, and the words, to tell the person, "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to have guests over right now". No debate. No long discussions or negotiations at the door. And help her develop a plan to call you if a person at the door won't take "no" for an answer.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

This may have been their first time. It will be very RARE if their sexual relationship stops. Once that horse is out of the barn, it’s very hard to put back. I’m not being ugly. My daughter is 19 and each of her friends who became sexually active in High School remained active with every boyfriend they had.

I would put her on some kind of birth control pronto. Also continue conversations regarding STD’s. Annual check ups are mandatory when someone is sexually active to protect her as well as her partner(s). I worked in urology for years and watched the doctor treat multiple young men with STD’s. If my son chooses to become active, he will also be visiting a urologist

Again, not judging at all. Just trying to reiterate the importance of taking good care of her now that she’s crossed this bridge.

BTW - I told my daughter I knew I could not prevent her from having sex if she chose to. What I wanted her to know was if she were going to make “adult choices” she needed to be responsible for her decisions and not further complicate her life with an unplanned pregnancy or STD. If she chose to become active she only needed to let me know and I would take her to the doctor, no lecture no problem. Worked well for us.


How did you find out? Did she tell you or you know because of evidence?

Elena’s answer is spot on. I don’t have anything to add to it. I’ve used that method for other offenses and it works beautifully.

I asked if she confessed or you found out because that speaks to character. If she confessed because it was bothering her to be dishonest, that’s positive. If she confessed because you caught them or there was undeniable evidence, then the consequences for deceit are in place with Elena’s advice.

She needs to understand that trust is the foundation of every relationship. When it’s fractured, forgiveness is offered but that doesn’t mean trust is restored. Behavior brings restoration.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Did a teenager write that ridiculous 24 hours comment? Now really, mom, what would 24 hours without a phone accomplish? The answer is NOTHING.

You should keep it for a week and have the carrier change the settings on the phone so that she can ONLY call you and 911 for a minimum of a month.

You should take her to the GYN (female only) and get her Norplant or something comparable. If you don’t, she’s going to end up pregnant. She has shown that she can’t be trusted, so protect YOURSELF from having to be a grandmother to a 15 year old. And call the boy’s parents and talk to them about the issue. Do not act like this is their fault. Both these kids are responsibile for their behavior. All the parents can work together to make the kids responsible, at least to a degree.

You cannot prevent her from having sex. You can prevent pregnancy. You cannot prevent std’s. You can educate her. You can demand showing responsibility along with his parents demanding it from him.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

The only time I ever took a phone away was for a phone related issue and it was for a month and that was younger, and the kid was just immature (a learning lesson for us parents).

I don't get how the phone is tied to her sneaking a boyfriend in?

I think consequences should be tied to the 'offense' or that's what a counselor would tell you is most effective if that's helpful.

When my kids have been jerks, with friends (like haven't been responsible with their friends, or making sure kids have followed rules here etc.) then they don't get to have friends over, period.

If they haven't been responsible themselves - then they don't go out.

That's far more effective, we've found. Cut off their social life, if they aren't willing to abide by your rules.

As for your house rules, I wouldn't allow her to have him over. While you're there. He's not allowed over period - until she respects the house rules.

Sorry -that doesn't answer your question, but two days of not having a phone? She can borrow a friend's, go to a cafe, use an iPad, etc. It's too easy for kids. When my kids leave one at home, they still find ways to get online easily.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

When I first started driving I was told to be home at a certain time. I broke that rule. I lost the car for a week. I broke 3 more major rules that same night and lost the car for the whole month! After that month was over I always checked the time and made sure that whatever I was doing was worth losing the car for..
If it was my phone I wouldn't care so much because I was not as attached to that as I was my ability to go wherever, whenever I wanted
My point is I hope the punishment makes her think twice before breaking the rules again

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with Doris Day that 24 hours makes no sense at all for a 15 year old. It's more appropriate for a 7 year old, for whom 24 hours seems like an eternity. For 15, there has to be a much more long-lasting punishment that is really inconvenient.

I think Elena makes excellent points, that the phone has less to do with your daughter's offense than the other things she suggests. The issue is one of trust, of breaking rules, of being able to be unsupervised. So, while taking the phone does, in some ways, say "You are irresponsible and too immature to have an adult item like a phone," it doesn't relate as much to her transgression of disobeying about who is allowed in the house or other social things. I think not having friends over, not being allowed to go to friends' houses, and so on make more sense - as well as you being incredibly visible and in the room constantly if she does have someone over. Making her understand that she acting immaturely and therefore will be treated as such will have an impact. But you absolutely have to be willing to be inconvenienced yourself to make this consequence last and have an impact. If parents cave in after 3 days or 7 days because it's a hassle, the kid learns she can just outlast you.

I'm not sure I agree with the "need her phone for school" principle though - surely she can manage without it and not every kid in the school has a fancy phone. Having her use the office phone to call for a ride (or even better, to have to take the school bus) is plenty "humiliating" for a 15 year old. If you let her keep it, then do restrict it heavily - no internet, no texting friends, just call 911/parents/grandparents.

And you haven't addressed the sex issues here, so we don't know what you're thinking about those. I'm not sure if you are looking for any input on that, based on your prior question and comments, and I see that several people have questions for you in that regard. If you put her on birth control, you'll have to figure out how to justify "you're too immature and you make poor decisions" with "you're going to keep having sex, so let's get you on contraception." So you need to figure out a way to reconcile those things - certainly Norplant as suggested below is a way to say, "I don't want you pregnant and you're too immature to use any other methods that require a memory and a sense of responsibility." As is a solid appointment with a health counselor who will teach her about methods, side effects, proper usage, and what does (and doesn't) prevent sexually transmitted infections. Remind her that people who are too immature to take precautions the first time are often too immature to do it on subsequent occasions. And her boyfriend may well have been with other girls or get tired of her and move on - so she's got to be protected and so do the others.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

One week is our phone privilege loss time for our 15 year old. 24 hours is not enough to drive home the point. good job momma!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

how is taking her phone away punishment for her "crime"? She broke a SERIOUS rule. The phone needs to be set for calls only - no internet. No picture texts. I'd keep it for AT LEAST 30 days.

personally? Your daughter needs some serious punishment for continually breaking the rules. Get cameras and start having them in your house. Tell your daughter she has effectively LOST YOUR TRUST and in order to get that back? She needs to be punished.

You drive her to school. Hell - if you don't work - stay in class with her so she doesn't try ditching school. You take her home from school. You tell her that if she can't control herself - you obviously need to be with her every second of the day so she CAN CONTROL HERSELF.

I'd say one week. And she MUST earn it back - you tell her HOW she has to earn it back.
You stand FIRM - your daughter wants to behave like an adult? Well - guess what?? Adults make GOOD DECISIONS and FOLLOW RULES!!

Am I extreme? Yeah - I would be LIVID. Absolutely FREAKING LIVID. Your daughter needs rules, boundaries and consequences. Get sensors on ALL THE DOORS AND WINDOWS. Get cameras in the house. Tell her that she will be monitored 24 hours a day since she can't follow the rules. Once she proves she can follow the rules? YOU MIGHT loosen up. But until then?? you ride her EVERY DAY.

You get her boyfriends family involved. They are allowed to visit each other - WITH SUPERVISION - NO ALONE TIME - on "X" day from "X" to "Z". Tell her boyfriend's family they need to get on board or you will both be grandparents by next September.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

I agree that one 24 hours is not enough. I would say 1 week so the message is understood. You are the parent and if you decide it's a week....Then, its a week. I am so glad that his parents are on the same page. Not letting this go is a learning experience for your child-- and how a parent should guide..... Remember that 16 and 17 are still coming your way. Setting limits is so very important.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I would take it away until I felt comfortable she understood what she did was wrong and I was quite certain it wouldn’t happen again.

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