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WWYD situation with my dd who is 14yo


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So last night I was going upstairs to watch TV right before I go to bed, it was about 11:15. I heard something coming from my dd's room, so I go to listen at her door. And I hear this clicking sound at her door, she has a history of staying up late, so I try to open the door quietly and it is lockedSo I go and get the implement and dd is indeed up in her bed reading, even though her bedtime was more than an hour before.

 

Ugh so I tell her to go to bed and that I am very annoyed with her, End of Story, right? I go to my bed across the hall after I close her door. I walk to turn on the TV and look at the phone and she is one the phone I pick up the phone, because I am not quite sure what is going on (I am real tired at this point) and hear the music from her room and nothing. THAN SOMEONE HANGS UP So I go to her room and she claims that the phone was off the hook (which I believed at the time because I was so tired) how can it be off the hook, and be hung up when I coincidentally pick it up That hit me about 2:00 am this morning

 

So then after we deal with that her brother comes down and says to dad, " You know she talks on the phone almost every night after you tell her to go to bed. " I am so irratated. WWYD? We grounded her from the phone for 2 days but that was B4 we found out she has been doing it for weeks. And it make sense why she sleeps so much later some days than other. UGH UGH UGH!

 

Any suggestions? She is 14yo and her bedtime is 10:00, honestly a lot later than when I was that age. The point is she was disobedient and had been on the phone off and on all day!

So WWYD?

thanks

lori

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So last night I was going upstairs to watch TV right before I go to bed, it was about 11:15. I heard something coming from my dd's room, so I go to listen at her door. And I hear this clicking sound at her door, she has a history of staying up late, so I try to open the door quietly and it is lockedSo I go and get the implement and dd is indeed up in her bed reading, even though her bedtime was more than an hour before.

 

Ugh so I tell her to go to bed and that I am very annoyed with her, End of Story, right? I go to my bed across the hall after I close her door. I walk to turn on the TV and look at the phone and she is one the phone I pick up the phone, because I am not quite sure what is going on (I am real tired at this point) and hear the music from her room and nothing. THAN SOMEONE HANGS UP So I go to her room and she claims that the phone was off the hook (which I believed at the time because I was so tired) how can it be off the hook, and be hung up when I coincidentally pick it up That hit me about 2:00 am this morning

 

So then after we deal with that her brother comes down and says to dad, " You know she talks on the phone almost every night after you tell her to go to bed. " I am so irratated. WWYD? We grounded her from the phone for 2 days but that was B4 we found out she has been doing it for weeks. And it make sense why she sleeps so much later some days than other. UGH UGH UGH!

 

Any suggestions? She is 14yo and her bedtime is 10:00, honestly a lot later than when I was that age. The point is she was disobedient and had been on the phone off and on all day!

So WWYD?

thanks

lori

__________________

 

Take the phone out of her room or if its a cordless that she brings in there with her take them to your room at night and maybe an early morning wakeup call with a chore list or other consequence.

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Yes, I think I would make sure she didn't have a phone to use at night.

 

Mostly I think kids should deal with the consequences of their own desire to stay up. If she stays up all night reading, she can deal with the exhaustion the next day. I've been there, done that. Sometimes I can't put a novel down.

 

But phones are different. I think I would eliminate the late night phone calling.

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BTDT. . .she loses the privelege of having a phone in her room PERIOD! Every night before you go to bed you have to disconnect all the wired phones and take all the cordless phones up to your bedroom with you so that she can't talk in the middle of the night.

 

DD went through this phase too. The temptation is just to great to say no so we had to eliminate the temptation (hence taking all the phones to our room every night.) and she didn't get a phone back in her room at all. She permanently lost it.

 

Good luck, I know this is hard b/c I have walked this road!

 

shell

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I think that the first thing I would do is remove the phone from her room. It'll be easier for you to moniter that way. We have a sneaky child, and have to deal with this kind of thing more often than we care to. It is difficult when they are teenagers and you want to allow them more freedoms.

 

We don't allow locked bedroom doors at our house (our children are younger than your daughter). I might even tell her she isn't allowed to close her door for a certain time period. That there has been a violation of trust and the consequence is that she has to earn that trust back.

 

When our oldest was a teenager his bedroom was upstairs; it is a second master bedroom and the only room on the second floor. He withdrew from the family too much and violated our trust/rules and we made him move downstairs for a period of time and removed a lot of his privacy and freedom.

 

Cindy

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I'll send out a group hug.:grouphug:

 

I'd go over the rules with her very thoroughly along with the consequences. Then I'd remove the phone from temptation. :toetap05: Let her know you will be monitoring the phone and doing bed checks.

 

I would also as a mom, wonder who she was talking to so late at night. Those calls are pretty late, and the fact that she hides them would cause some concern in me. Talk to her again.

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I'd take the phone out of her room immediately. Also check your phone bill to see who she is talking to. It's most likely a friend, but you never know.

 

As for the staying up late, there's been a lot of research about how adolescents' internal clocks are different from adults, and they are at their most alert late at night. I remember trying to go to bed at 10 or 11 and just laying there for hours, unable to go to sleep, so I was surprised when I learned that there are many studies that say this is true for most teenagers. So punish her for disobeying you and secret phone calls, but it may not be her fault that she's unable to fall asleep at 10.

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I would question whether or not my rules were reasonable for her age. No matter what, she should not have disobeyed. However, talking on the phone late at night is completely normal. Maybe the two of you can come to a mutual agreement.

 

 

It may be "Normal" but that doesn't make it right. There is no reason for a teen to be up till 4 or 5 in the morning talking on the phone. If we let our teens stay up all night talking on the phone we're condoning "night owl" behavior. Teens still need lots of rest and staying up all night and losing sleep is NOT healthy for them.

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This is why none of my kids are having a phone, period.

 

I think it's a really good idea, if kids do have cell phones, to make them turn them in at a certain time at night - like 9:00 was the rule here. Otherwise, you really can't control how late they stay up talking, and usually those middle of the night phone chats aren't the most edifying.

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Regarding her being up late:

 

What time does she HAVE to be up in the morning? Not what time do you routinely roust her out, but does she actually need to be up for school/church/inflexibly scheduled activity?

 

To me one of the prime reasons to homeschool is to keep a schedule suited to everyone's internal clocks. Around here, that means night owls, mostly.

 

Is there any way you can be flexible about this bedtime? Let her stay up late, in a productive way. If she'd rather stay up until eleven or midnight because she has trouble falling asleep at 10, great, let her sleep in in the morning or have a quiet time/nap in the afternoon, and have her do some of her independent schoolwork or reading in the quiet of late evening when everyone else has gone to bed.

 

Regarding the phone use:

 

Clear rules about what is and is not allowed for phone use are important, mostly for courtesy to other people in the house, safety, and courtesy to those who might be on the recieving end of a call. When I was that age we weren't allowed to call anyone after 9 PM. That was in the days of house phones, when no kids had their own lines or cell phones, and a call would disturb a whole family. Also it would tie up the phone so no one else could use it, so we were limited to 15 minute calls.

 

Does your daughter have her own line or cell phone? If so, is she only making local calls that aren't disturbing the households of the people she's calling? I still won't call my mom after 9 PM, but I'll call my sister at midnight because I know she's a night owl and will be up.

 

If it's a cell phone, does she keep in her allotment of minutes?

 

I will certainly have a different set of rules for the phone for my DD than my parents did.

 

If she's just calling and talking to a friend, and the friend's parents have rules that allow it, might you consider doing the same, especially if it's not costing extra, is at hours where she's not tying up the phone line for other people, and isn't interfering with sleep or meeting responsibilities? Negotiating some new rules over it that your DD agrees to (or better yet comes up with; if it's her own idea it's that much easier to hold her to it), then enforcing those with taking away the phone, etc. for not sticking to the deal.

 

My mom's usual method with teen foster kids who try to call people they aren't supposed to (like a parent who's only authorized supervised calls, for instance), is to arrange things so that the only phone in the common part of the house is a wireless, and taking the phone into her bedroom at night, along with the cell phones. That way there's no opportunity for the girls to break the rules, short of sneaking out of the house.

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And now for something completely different.

 

I've got a newly teen. I remember, vividly, being one.

 

My parents would have done best to allow certain privileges and chosen carefully the restrictions.

 

In the absence of risk factors, concerning behavior, extreme or out of normal range issues, I'd allow select common teen behaviors. I think it's counter productive not to.

 

She is 14yo and her bedtime is 10:00, honestly a lot later than when I was that age.

 

My children's bedtimes has been 10:00 for a few years. I've noticed over the last year that my 13 year old has naturally stayed up later and slept longer. At first, I wanted to change this. But, upon consideration, I thought "why". As long as he is up and reasonable for school (I'd be even more flexible if my school weren't my income), what does it matter?

 

I would question whether or not my rules were reasonable for her age. No matter what, she should not have disobeyed. However, talking on the phone late at night is completely normal. Maybe the two of you can come to a mutual agreement.

 

I agree!

 

It may be "Normal" but that doesn't make it right. There is no reason for a teen to be up till 4 or 5 in the morning talking on the phone. If we let our teens stay up all night talking on the phone we're condoning "night owl" behavior. Teens still need lots of rest and staying up all night and losing sleep is NOT healthy for them.

 

OK. I see this is a firm boundary and opinion in your situation. I respect that it's something you feel rises to the level of needing boundaries and limits. But it's not fact. Plenty of productive adults keep traditional hours even though they were once teen night owls. Even more, night owl activities, work and "people" are needed.

 

I look at it this way. My teens and emerging teens are seeking time and space to be their growing selves. If I can grant it, with limits and mutual agreement, we are better off than if they seek it inappropriately and without consent.

 

As a teen, I would have found not having a lock or not having a door a huge violation and "food" for resentment.

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I was talking to a boy in high school. he was talking me into skipping drama and going home with him that day. And I did. We talked for weeks all night long before I planned to go to his house.

 

TAKE THE PHONE AWAY!

 

She doesn't need a phone that late at night. She can only get into mischief that late at night. So take the phone away or hide the main house phones and enforce a strict bedtime. But then again, after my craziness at that age I do plan on being very strict! :tongue_smilie:

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I agree with removing dd's access to phones at night (and during the day, if necessary).

 

As someone who has always struggled to fall asleep, I know firsthand that laying in bed unable to sleep is frustrating, which only makes it harder to fall asleep. I also know that just because it's bedtime doesn't mean I can fall asleep. My 14 yo dd, who is also a bit of a night owl, has a light wedge and is allowed to read at night. She usually wakes up on her own at a reasonable time, but if she's not awake by 8:30 or 9:00, I wake her up. If she's tired and cranky, too bad. She'll sleep better that night!

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well we talked again and she flatly refuses she was on the phone, honestly I don't believe her.

 

I also checked her email and found in one where she tells a girl to email her on the other one (what other email??) because she doesn't want to find out about facebook or myspace. I checked our computer history and found nothing. I called her down and demanded the other email and got it and there is nothing on there.

 

In addition to the 2 days of no phone, she has given me her phone in her room. She will go to bed at 9:00 for the next two days and will have to leave the door open at night for the next two days. The next step is to take the door off the hinges. UGH

 

Did I do everything to trace if she is on myspace or facebook? She can't delete that from the history can she?

ugh

lori

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I can't agree that talking late on the phone is 'completely' normal. What do you mean by that? I never talked on the phone that late when I was 14.....and nor have my kids...and the oldest are 17 and 15.

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I'm not sure how keeping the door open/having no door is any different than tomato staking to a point. If they are not behaving behind your back they need to be supervised so you can correct any bad behaviors. If you have kids that you trust behind a closed door then good for you. Those of us that don't know what's going on behind closed doors are the ones that will leave them open/take them off. I was a teen also, and I would have considered no door a violation as well, but if that was the consequence for my actions so be it. Of course a kids gonna resent a consequence/punishment, that's no reason not to do something.

 

In our situation, the all night phone calls led to "let's just meet somewhere" and so on, and our intervention made all the difference in the world. I'm the parent of an early grad. that has turned out much better than she would have had we stayed on the path of "It's no big deal to let her stay on the phone all night", and I'm so glad for her sake that the intervention worked.

 

If you give a teen an inch. . .they'll take a mile.

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I can't find mine on my old it was on the desktop, where would it be:confused:

 

Found it, it is the recycling bin. I searched it and did not find anything abnormal. In fact I don't think it has been emptied at all in the year we have had this computer. I check dd's deleted file on her email and read everything

ugh I am so not prepared for this

lori

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I can't agree that talking late on the phone is 'completely' normal. What do you mean by that? I never talked on the phone that late when I was 14.....and nor have my kids...and the oldest are 17 and 15.

I talked on phone very late, and was at school NLT 7am. Not all kids need a lot of sleep and some people require a lot of socialization. DD (age 10) is already on phone until 10pm. Our exchange students are allowed to talk on the phone or stay up as late as they like, but are expected to awaken themselves for school early (6:30am track is harsh). Novelty quickly wears off and normal routine follows.

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Each computer is going to be a little different. Recycle bin, trash bin etc. Easiest way to find out is to call the computer 800 number and ask.

 

You can take the power cord off most computers with very little effort if you need to. My hopes and prayers are with you. Teen parenting can be hard some days.

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It sounds like she has a lot she is hiding from you. Having trust violated by your child is very hard, and I, having been there in a major way, really feel for you.

One thing that helped me is realizing that you and your daughter have entered the stage where you parent by relationship. A friend explained that, when they are little, we parent our kids largely by control. When they get older, it switches over to parenting by relationship. We can no longer control as much about their environment, behaviour, or the behaviour of others around them (friends). So we depend upon the relationship we have slowly built over the years. Trust is a major part of the deal.

 

If she is breaking trust right and left by having secret conversations, lying about them, lying about email accts and facebook/myspace stuff, etc., (and she is giving every indication that she is) then you need to work on repairing the relationship she has damaged.

Start there.

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Each computer is going to be a little different. Recycle bin, trash bin etc. Easiest way to find out is to call the computer 800 number and ask.

 

You can take the power cord off most computers with very little effort if you need to. My hopes and prayers are with you. Teen parenting can be hard some days.

 

I can disconnect the internet upstairs at the router :) Just figured that out :)

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Found it, it is the recycling bin. I searched it and did not find anything abnormal. In fact I don't think it has been emptied at all in the year we have had this computer. I check dd's deleted file on her email and read everything

ugh I am so not prepared for this

lori

 

I would only allow her supervised access to internet or no internet at all. We had these similar problems with my step-daughter (yes, I know there are other issues to consider there). We found out she was coordinating skip days from school, who would bring the lighter for the joints or to sterilize the needle to do self piercings. She was also talking to a boy on the internet that she had never met. She gave him all kinds of personal info.:001_huh: We cut all internet for her, of course, she still had it at school, even though we revoked that priviledge with the school. That helped for awhile. But, then she had a friend stay the night and they had drugs. We took her door off the hinges for 1 month(we put up a curtaint that could be closed when she was changing and sleeping). She had been warned this would happen if she ever brought drugs into the house (CPS told us we couldn't invade her privacy in that way, they also told us that we couldn't check her email or IMs!). Not too long after that she ran away, made false allegations of abuse against her dad and we were investigated by the CPS. About 6 months after that settled down she quit going to school; she was just using the school bus to get to town and then taking off with her friends. She also had her provisional driver's license by then so she would take the family car to go to the store, shoplift alcohol and then drive around partying with her friends.

 

She did all of this behind our backs. Everytime we caught her we'd tighten restrictions. We'd losen them when we thought she was sincere and behaving properly. She'd immediately do this again. She went to live with her step dad and did this with him for a year, then her mom and did it with her for 2 years and now she's living with her boyfriend and we're hoping she won't quit school before she's supposed to graduate in 2 weeks!

 

From the time she was 7 years old she'd look you in the face and lie to you. You could have proof and present her with the proof and she would cry and claim that she was set up.

 

Sometimes I think we should have spent more time talking to her and trying to figure out ways to meet her halfway. But then she was always lying to us. We never knew what we could believe. I sometimes think we were too strict and that caused her to act out. But even after we losened up on her she still acted out.

 

I don't have any answers for you. I just wanted to share my story because maybe you can glean some help from it. I don't know.

 

I do feel for you and hope you can find a way to reach your daughter. Try talking to her and showing her you care. I like what others have said about re-structuring her rules. Maybe she does need to stay up later, but she can't be sneaky or disobedient. Sometimes, though a cry for help is just that and not manipulation. I would be worried most about her lying about being on the phone!

 

Good luck! Stay strong, but listen to her.

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I talked on phone very late, and was at school NLT 7am. Not all kids need a lot of sleep and some people require a lot of socialization. DD (age 10) is already on phone until 10pm. Our exchange students are allowed to talk on the phone or stay up as late as they like, but are expected to awaken themselves for school early (6:30am track is harsh). Novelty quickly wears off and normal routine follows.

 

 

I think it kind of depends on the kid. When I saw a doctor about my sleep issues, the biggest thing she emphasized was not having the tv or computer on in the evenings. She was very adament about not allowing teens to use either late at night and suggested that some of the teen "night owl" stuff is reduced when they don't have the brain stimulating effects of tv, computers, and other electronics. I'm not sure if a phone would fit into this or not.

 

But to me, a 14 year old still needs some guidance on good use of time. Talking on the phone occasionally at night could be a reasonable use of time. But a teen who talks on the phone hours every night is probably simply wasting hours a night. And I think that could become a really sad abuse, and would restrict that in a child of 14.

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I think I'm going to go a bit against the grain on this one, and really ask: what are you trying to accomplish, and what does she think that you're trying to accomplish?

 

First of all, let's say that she, like most teenagers, cannot fall asleep at 10 (or at 9, as is her punishment). As I said earlier, there is research that shows that young people all over the world, in every time of community, have different internal clocks than adults and often cannot sleep at night. For this reason, many public high schools are even making their opening times later. So by making her lie in bed in a dark room, wide awake and unable to sleep, what is she supposed to be thinking? That she's sorry that she disobeyed something that she cannot obey by staying up late? That she's sorry that she wants to talk to friends? In all likelihood, she's just going to be thinking not very nice thoughts about you and your rules and how she can circumvent them.

 

There's a stereotype of teenage girls talking all night on the phone, and while of course one should never believe stereotypes, sometimes there is some truth to them. Many teenage girls are very social creatures, many teenage girls stay up late. I used to spend all night talking on the phone to my girlfriends, and I was about as good a kid as it got. I have no idea what we talked about, but there must have been something very interesting!

 

I know that bringing up the "s" word is a very touchy subject with homeschoolers, but it is something to think about. No, not that "s" word (get your mind out of the gutter ;)) the other one. How much socializing does she get to do with girls her own age? While some people are naturally introverted, others are happiest when surrounding themselves with lots of friends all the time.

 

To be totally blunt, I think you're going about this the wrong way. Your reaction to something that I have to agree is very normal (talking on the phone all night) seems like it might explain why she went behind your back. You're treating her like a very young child, when she's at an age where she's trying to gain some independence. While there's an obvious argument to be made that she has to earn it, I think she's going to take it whether you let her or not. The kids I know who really went wild in high school usually had the strictest parents. And besides talking on the phone, which honestly I think is a really minor transgression, what has she done that she DOESN'T have your trust?

 

I'd suggest that you sit down and talk to her and lay down some ground rules that take the realities of being a teenager in mind. Let her have a MySpace: be there when she makes the account, and you know the password, and explain to her that you're not there to monitor her every move but just to make sure that she's safe. Figure out who she's on the phone with, and let her talk so long as she makes the call: then you can check the phone bill each month. Make sure she has plenty of opportunities to hang out with girls her age.

 

I know this goes against what pretty much everyone else has to say, I guess I just don't really understand how her talking on the phone is such a big deal, or why you are so stuck on a 10pm bedtime.

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Personally? I think 14yos, for the most part, should be self-regulating a bit more on their own. I would drop the bedtime and give her the freedom of controlling herself in that regard.

 

As for the phone? I am mixed on this one. One thing would be to allow her to self-regulate on this also. The other would be to have specific rules such as "no phone calls after 9pm" and then enforce those.

 

I'm wondering if this isn't just another kid rebelling because they are being over-controlled though. A teen that is given more opportunity and freedom, AS WELL AS THE RESPONSIBILITY that comes with, will more easily self-regulate into healthy patterns AND follow what rules that are in place.

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I know this goes against what pretty much everyone else has to say,

 

I should have read your post first. I think you're RIGHT on....

 

Epecially when you say:

 

You're treating her like a very young child, when she's at an age where she's trying to gain some independence.
and
The kids I know who really went wild in high school usually had the strictest parents.
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I should have read your post first. I think you're RIGHT on....

 

Thanks, I think you are right too. I think I stopped having a strict bedtime at some point in late elementary school. At some point, kids have to start exercising some control over their own lives, and I think bedtime is a pretty minor one.

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What is concerning to me is that it sounds like she's hiding things from you. Do you have any idea who she is talking to? Who does she hang out with? She may already have a facebook page or myspace page. Perhaps you can find it. She's at a vulnerable age, an age where she could be so easily influenced by her peers and influenced in not so good ways. I just know I would be trying to ascertain who she is socializing with.

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I"ve been thinking about this all day. I guess having a child that age, being immersed in the behaviors, thinking and attitude of that age. It was also a turning point age for me, more so than others I can remember.

 

Here's what *I* would do. I'd be honest - representing my feelings which clearly might not be yours. The secrecy and behind my back aspects would bother me. But I'd look at whether honest, authentic and valid communication was offered over having a Facebook page, a My Space, phone use. I'd evaluate if I knew who was actively in my child's life.

 

"Son, we half to talk. As you know, I've always been more of your mom than friend. I want to keep that. But I know you are not a little kid anymore and in less time than what I've already had you for, you'll be able to be on your own. I can't control or be privy to every part of your life. We need to work together giving you earned privileges that we know upfront can be revoked if you don't honor the rules associated with them. I think I may have not been giving you some normal for today teen expressions. I'd like to know what "things" are important to you so that - maybe - we can establish rules around them. It's possible I'll say "No" completely, but I'm open. I don't want our relationship and your character compromised by you continuing to make choices behind my back".

 

Yes, I get that kids need boundaries. Yes, I get that (Christian content) we are supposed to be in the world but not of it. Yes, I get that I don't have to let my kids do "X" just because all teens in 2008 do "X".

 

But I firmly believe that we must allow our kids to *be* and express in ways important to them that are consciously and knowingly allowed by us. And we have to accept that the ways they want to be teens will sometimes anger, scare, baffle (what's UP with not pulling your pants up correctly??) us. But in the context of a deliberate, open and mutual relationship, those things are managable.

 

Anyway. I'd consider this not only needing intervention as a parent but as a sign that maybe I needed to revisit my parenting of this stage. Maybe as a sign that the arrangements and standards we had were not for everyone's best in the increasingly autonomous years to come.

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I agree with taking the phone out. After "family conversation" with both parents in agreement, explain to her what the offense is. She is old enough to know this. Have her earn it back in time...not weeks or months, maybe quite some time down the road IF you feel she is responsible.

 

Additionally if there were to be a medical emergency...the phone would be tied up.

 

HTH! Sheryl <><

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I think I stopped having a strict bedtime at some point in late elementary school.

 

For me it was going into jr. high (6th grade). And I was even institutionalized as a young teen but the upper limits were pretty high allowing each teen to figure out what worked best for them.

 

At some point, kids have to start exercising some control over their own lives, and I think bedtime is a pretty minor one.

 

Yeah, I definitely tend to be on the early end by what I read on this board. I taught my kids life skills and tools and such really early on and have given them ample opportunity to practice since they were preschoolers with the "reign" loosening a little more every step of the way. Kids will actually live up to HIGHER standards if you give them the chance to figure it out. Good thing about doing that when they are kids rather than just letting go sometime in their late teens is that they have their parents as a safety net, sounding board, etc.

 

BTW, my mom wasn't surprised in the least when I stayed up "late" the first time. Neither was she surprised when I was out for the count at 7pm. In time, I figured out what worked best for me :)

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Haven't read the other responses. My almost 14dd is behaving similarly.

She just lost the privilege of having her own bedroom. She is sleeping in her brother's room (he has bunk beds) until she can learn to keep her room in some sort of order. We had guests use her room and it took me 3 hours to get it ready for them AFTER she tidied it. It was a pigsty but most of it was under the bed, under everything, behind things, so a quick glance didn't show anything too bad. It was gross, and she needs motivation, because she doesnt care.

However, what we now also realise is that she was also staying up really late. Now she is in her brother's room, she tries to stay up later and it annoys him to have the light on.

 

Our solution. She still has to get up at 7am, to be ready for school by 8/8.30.

 

It sounds like really normal behaviour to me. I tend to trust my dd too, she is very easygoing and has never been a naughty kid. But lately, I need to realise, she is not completely honest and straight, she will nod and agree and say she will do something, and then just not do it, and say sorry instead. Ha, but I am onto it!

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She just lost the privilege of having her own bedroom. She is sleeping in her brother's room (he has bunk beds) until she can learn to keep her room in some sort of order. We had guests use her room and it took me 3 hours to get it ready for them AFTER she tidied it. It was a pigsty but most of it was under the bed, under everything, behind things, so a quick glance didn't show anything too bad. It was gross, and she needs motivation, because she doesnt care.

 

Oh I can hear the frustration. My kids aren't as neat as I wish they'd be.

 

Generally, I see it as their space and as long as it doesn't encroach on my space, I'm trying to give them the opportunity to learn to manage it. Certain "givens" make that a little easier.

 

But occasionally, it just needs to be done...for example, someone staying over a few days. A teen that has allowed her room to become out of control now has to take a LONG time to pick it up "to par" instead of doing what she'd rather do. That is the logical consequence.

 

Now, if I just couldn't STAND it at some point, I would have minimum ground rules like I did when they were little. Every 2nd and 4th Saturday, by noon, your room must be picked up to MY standard (spotless, Grandma is coming over). Whatever happens inbetween is their business but if they keep it half decent inbetween, it'll make it so much easier to clean. If they happen to have something to do that morning of the check, then they better have it done the day or two before so all they have to do is a once over before leaving.

 

I think the goal is to have it as loose as possible so they can find their way now rather than having a whole apartment flooded with roaches and an angry landlord. Also, they may NOT do things well without our guidance somewhat, but us controlling A LITTLE may help them get into a good habit of doing it at least every so often, not having food in the bedroom, or whatever.

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Resorting to restrictive measures like door and phone removals only served to create feelings of being overcontrolled and led to deep resentment on the part of our teens. In our case, it also caused them to look back on their homeschool years in a less than favorable light.

 

In hindsight, we focused too much on external control and not enough on relationship building.

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