The Cost of Teenage Romance

United States
February 27, 2010 12:11pm CST
Let me start off by saying that a less rational woman would have killed their first born and paid the cell phone company in pounds of flesh. I just grounded her. The story goes like this: For my 13 year olds birthday in April of 2009 I bought her a cell phone and added her to my calling plan. It only cost me an extra ($40 more a month) and that gave us 1000 text messages to people not on Verizon and 700 airtime minutes to people not on Verizon. I thought this would be plenty considering everyone in the area I live in is on Verizon. Fast forward through 8 months of perfect cell phone harmony. Not a single charge over my basic monthly amount on any bill. I was so proud of my daughter for being so responsible with her cell phone that I gave her her very own laptop for Christmas. But I gave it to her in November because I was just that happy with her. In December my cell phone bill was a little bit higher than usual. About $17 more then I was used to paying. I checked the number that was giving me the charges and it was on my daughters cell phone. I asked her about it and she explained that it was her cousins number who lived in Virginia. I told her that it was Okay (her and her cousin are very close) but to please call her from the house from now on so I don't have to pay extra for it. She said Ok. January 2010. I wake up New Years Day to find that the laptop I gave my daughter is broken. She said she was up all night on facebook and around 4:30 in the morning it just shut off on her and she didn't try to turn it back on. I used to work with computers so I knew she was lying when I turned it on and I got a blue screen then error messages about conflicts on the hard drive. She managed to turn a $400 laptop into a paperweight. Then two weeks later I got my notification that my cell phone bill was due to be paid. Amount Due $717.91!!! It turns out that the number she was calling in November to give me the slightly bigger bill belongs NOT to her cousin as she said, but to her FACEBOOK boyfriend. A 14 yr old boy who lives in OREGON!!! Naturally I took her cell phone and grounded her from going any where or doing anything that remotely resembles fun until the end of April. That is how long it will take her to work off this bill. And by work I mean doing 1 extra chore a day and babysitting for no pay for 8 hours every other weekend. I also called her father and explained to him what she had been doing and he agreed that she needed to be punished. This was all in January. Last week she came back from her fathers with a new cell phone and couldn't wait to tell me all about the movie she had just gone to see. (so much for her punishment) I called him and talked to him about it and he said that I am being unreasonable. He grounded her for a month and that was long enough for her to learn her lesson. So he added her to his family plan and she was no longer grounded when she was with him. He thinks I'm unreasonable. So my question is, Am I?
7 people like this
14 responses
• Regina, Saskatchewan
27 Feb 10
"Let me start off by saying that a less rational woman would have killed their first born and paid the cell phone company in pounds of flesh." Ditto for me! Still time to do it..........lol Your ex is an idiot and I'd be killing him and paying the cell phone company with HIS pounds of flesh. When parents are living in separate households, but actively involved in their kids lives, they MUST back each other up when it comes to punishments like this, and not undermine each other the way your ex has done to you. Of course, that would be a perfect world and if the ex was so cool that way, he probably wouldn't be the ex. lol At least HE'LL be paying the cell bill now though, so I'd encourage the romance and then sit back and laugh myself silly when HE finds himself in the position you are now in! ROFL
3 people like this
• United States
27 Feb 10
I know this is just his way of kissing her butt because this summer we are moving out of the school district and he is trying to persuade her to stay with him instead of moving with me but that is for the next discussion I write. Thanks for stopping by my return to the lot :-) I'm waiting to comment on your Canada discussion until after the US has more gold medals than you
3 people like this
• Regina, Saskatchewan
27 Feb 10
"I'm waiting to comment on your Canada discussion until after the US has more gold medals than you" Good Luck on that one! ROFL
1 person likes this
@patgalca (14557)
• Orangeville, Ontario
27 Feb 10
As you'll see by my response, I would NOT encourage the romance. 13 is too young. Neither one of you will be laughing if your daughter gets raped or comes home pregnant. As for the parenting, yeah, you have to work together on that. You'll see that in my discussion as well. My husband can be a softy and we are together. Both my girls know I will take their cell phone away in a heart beat if they don't follow the rules. And finally, Eh, Oh, Canada, Go!
3 people like this
@sk66rc (4261)
• United States
27 Feb 10
Few things. #1. She was 13 years old. Like a lot of 13 year olds, they don't have full concept of money yet. There's always an excpetion, I know. I myself have been supporting myself since I was 10. But that's not the point. She has to learn the consquences of her actions & that's how kids learn responsibilities & compromises. #2. I understand about children's safety. Now that cell phones are becoming more affordable, I don't see anything wrong with getting a 13 year old a phone. I personally have a daughter that just turned 11. But, refering back to the point #1, I would've gotten her a pre-paid phone. That way, she can't really rack up so much on your bill. Of course she's gonna go through it in few days. More strict you're about it, she'll start learn to manage it better as times goes. Even make it a trade thing. More chores she does, more money you'll put on her pre-paid phone. #3. Well, more like #2.5. Now a days, there are pre-paid phone companies that will give you unlimited talking & text messaging. For example, there's a company called Cricket wireless. $40/month plus tax, basically same amount you've paid for adding her onto your plan, would've given her unlimited talk & text messaging. http://www.mycricket.com/cell-phone-plans. Or another company called boost mobile - http://plans.boostmobile.com/monthlyunlimited.aspx - They charge $50/month for unlimited. I'm just saying there are options out there. As for her laptop goes, I'm not sure what to tell ya. As far as your ex goes, yes he is an idiot & being unreasonable. You guys have already agreed on her punishment. He shouldn't have backed out.
3 people like this
• United States
27 Feb 10
My daughter had a pre-paid phone for emergencies from the time she was 11 until I bought her this phone. She never ever used all of the monthly minutes I bought for her and I made the decision to go with Verizon rather than Boost (cricket isnt available at all where I live)and the Boost coverage is spotty at best and she would have ended up costing everyone she called or texted money or minutes because she would not have been on verizon. Ultimately I'm angrier now because her father is kissing her butt and making me out to be a monster. But as was said in the first comment....I can sit back and laugh my butt off when he ends up with a bill like this.
2 people like this
@Hatley (164507)
• Garden Grove, California
28 Feb 10
hi cynicalandoutspoken no no no. Your ex is the one who is unreasonable, he did not get the idea that 717 dollars in a cellphone bill was just completely out of this world outrageous and to a fourteenyr old boy in Oregon yet. It looks like to me your ex did everything he could to undermine your necessary punishment. she sounds a bit to old to spank so your punishment is just and good as far as I can see. I do not know how old your daughter is but if she is old enough to get a part time job now may be the time. good l uck and God bless.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 10
Hi Hatley! I can't believe how much I have missed mylot. lol Unfortunately she can't get a job until she is in 9th grade which won't be until September 2010. But that's okay. Her birthday is going to happen before her bill is paid off. She isn't having a party and she isn't getting any presents. I know her dad and grandparents will still get her things but it is the party she is going to freak out about because she isn't allowed to have more than one friend over at a time at her dads and I always let her invite up to 7 other girls to spend the night. That and her friends love me. We do cheerleading mounts in my living room and I make the most awesome chocolate chip cookies. lol So yeah, she is going to suffer for this long after the punishment is served.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Feb 10
Awww I wouldnt take her birthday away from her! Thats such a important day. but, hey thats just me I am pretty soft hearted!
• Canada
28 Feb 10
Well, the fact that her father undermined her Mom's authority and reduced her punishment, has to be paid back somehow. And besides, how is Mom supposed to pay for a party when the daughter has just spent $718 of Mom's hard earned money? The way I look at it, she has already spent her party money.
@patgalca (14557)
• Orangeville, Ontario
27 Feb 10
There are a couple of issues here. First, I don't allow my children to have boyfriends until they are 16. My 13yo tried it this year. I happened to be driving by when she was embracing this boy. A bunch of her friends were there. I confronted her about it. She was well aware of the rule because she pointed it out when her older sister was asked out when she was a couple of months shy of turning 16. My daughter denied it, I followed up with her friends and their parents. Not only did my daughter get grounded for breaking the boyfriend rule, she got grounded for lying. I spoke to my husband about it, who has been very lax in his disciplining, but he totally agreed with me. We talked about it and her punishment was to take away her cell phone for a week. I made HIM tell her since I'm alway the bad guy when it comes to parenting. She understood. She also understood the rule about boyfriends and why. Her 16yo sister (17 in April) has her first boyfriend now and my 13yo is cool with that. She's actually crazy about the guy herself because he is an awesome kid. Anyway, that's my first issue. I do not believe a 13yo should have a boyfriend, home or long distance. They are not mature enough to understand what "love" is or that boys want more than just a hug, etc. My girls were given cell phones a couple of years ago when they were both playing rep soccer. We needed to be able to keep in touch because I could not be in two places at once and invariably they would be playing in the same tournament at different parks. The cell phones came in handy. I had a lot of trouble with my cell phone provider at first, I was phoning every month with complaints about the billing and they ALWAYS refunded me. They eventually bumped me up at no cost to unlimited texting, and unlimited browsing on my phone alone. The browsers have been locked on my girls' phones. Our cell phone bill is the same every month. We have a family plan and some people say other providers or pay-as-you-go are better. I beg to differ. I get no surprises. As much as my children want their own computers (they share a PC), they probably won't get one until they can pay for it themselves. My parents were upper-middle class but they never gave me anything I didn't need. When I got my first full-time job I went out and bought my own little television set. My 16yo is a clothes hog. She wears a uniform to school but they have a lot of dress-down days. She continually complains that she has nothing to wear for dress-down day because she CAN'T wear the same thing twice. Well, she has a job now, and her own money. She knows that means she pays for her own clothes and guess what? She hasn't been buying new outfits everytime a dress-down day comes along. She knows the value of a dollar and is saving her money for something big. She bought her own Christmas presents this year and will pay her own way to the movies. If you give your kids everything they want, they will not learn to manage money properly. I hate hearing these parents say they want to give their kids what they didn't have as kids. How are they going to learn if you keep handing them everything? They've wanted tvs in their rooms but I never EVER caved to that. I have to keep any eye on my husband though because he can be a softy. Well, you've heard my thoughts and opinions on the subject. Take it or leave it but my kids have turned out to be really good kids so I know I'm doing something right.
2 people like this
• Regina, Saskatchewan
27 Feb 10
I'm the mother of two boys, 3.5 years apart. They are as different as night and day and it soon became clear that the rules for them could NOT be the same. So we differ in our parenting skills there, but then that's the crux of the matter really. Different people elicit different responses and reactions from us, and as parents we need to remember that especially when dealing with discipline issues with our children. Right and wrong are a given and the same for everyone, but how we deal with enforcing the 'rules' surrounding that learning process, for me, was different for each of my boys. And they are both over 21 now and young men to be extremely proud of. So I did something right too. I raised my sons alone, without their 'couldn't care less' father undermining my authority, though he did and still does everything he can to undermine my value as a mother. The boys, as a result have no respect for him. Sad. I set the best example I could in terms of responsibility, accountability, and work ethic (you earn what you get from your own sweat, was our house mantra), but through it all I never forgot that humor was just as important a teaching tool also...
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 10
I'd pat you on the back there mom, but your hands are in the way. If I had any idea my daughter had a "boyfriend" I would have put a stop to it long before I ever got the phone bill. There weren't any indications on her facebook that they were together. They only communicated using the cell phone (thus the bill). She is my oldest child and I didn't think I needed to lay down a "no boyfriends" rule because she never spoke of any interest in boys. She is your typical teenager. She comes home from school, does her homework, eats dinner where she claims she learned nothing at school and nothing interesting happened to her that day, and then she goes to her room to listen to music at an uncomfortable level and text her fingers to the bone. She babysits her younger brothers and sister for the money she earns, and she gets a portion of the child support her father pays depending on how much extra work she does. She also gets money for her grades and she is always on the honor roll. She pays her own way into the movies and buys anything she wants for herself with her own money that I don't think she "needs". She has been purchasing her siblings christmas presents out of her own money for the past 3 years. She knows the value of a dollar. As for the computer....she does need her own computer for her homework. The "family" computer always has someone else on it and I won't let my 7 or 8 year old use a laptop because they are too hard on the keys. Giving her my 2 year old laptop did not seem like a bad idea. She knows how much it will cost to fix it and she can choose to pay that price if she wants it completely fixed or she can continue to fight her brothers for the family desktop. Everyone (including my 3 year old) has a 26" LCD TV in their bedrooms. Not because they are spoiled but because the kids are only allowed to watch 2 hours of TV everyday before bed. There is no fighting if everyone is in their own rooms watching whatever it is they want to watch. All of this has absolutely nothing to do with the question I asked. I wanted to know if I was being unreasonable for grounding her until May 1st for the phone bill she created. I did not ask you to dissect and compare this post to what you do with your kids. But thanks so much for taking the time to comment.
1 person likes this
@patgalca (14557)
• Orangeville, Ontario
28 Feb 10
Sorry, I do tend to get carried away when responding to something means a lot to me.
1 person likes this
27 Feb 10
No, no, no - you're not unreasonable at all! She's lucky you haven't grounded her until she's 18! The joys of having teenage children - awkward, selfish, inconsiderate, irresponsible. But somehow we still love them. Don't worry too much, it'll soon all blow over. At least your ex-husband is now paying for her calls. Let's see how he likes it when she notches up another $700 dollar bill. Boy, won't you be laughing!
• Canada
27 Feb 10
What a jerk! Sounds like he is trying to 'buy' her love and make her love him more than you, by being the 'nice guy' and portraying you as the 'b1tch'. He should have discussed it with you first. The united front and all. But since she likely begged and begged and gave him the puppy dog eyes and "I love you Daddy" stuff, he is obviously softer than you and she knows it. So, she blew $400 on a laptop for 2 mos use, and $735 in phone charges. Hmpft! Plus lying to you, to boot! I would be really p1ssed, too. That was extremely irresponsible of her. I think you should step up her payment schedule and she should be doing more chores, to pay it off quicker, then she won't be grounded as long, but still put in the hours, but they will be a bit more gruelling and more like punishment. I think it is being dragged out too long. But I would keep the cell phone ban on her (on your plan) for as long as you feel is appropriate. Until you feel she has earned the trust back.
• Canada
27 Feb 10
WHOOPS, that should have been a after the work jerk.
• Regina, Saskatchewan
27 Feb 10
Way to use the smilies Annie! LOL
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Feb 10
I got a bit back asswards, eh? LOL
1 person likes this
• India
28 Feb 10
No you are not. No matter what others may say, I think mother is more attached to a child than its father. And for centuries thats not gonna change. I know what your daughter did, I know her feelings as, quite unfortunately, I did the same mistake in my life. Now I am in such a position that I am being fully aware of both of your sentiments. I know your daughter must have quite a strong reason to hide such a fact from you. She is thinking, quite wrongly of course, that you have least understanding of her feelings. There lies the root of the problem. The parents are so much attached to their child, that sometimes they even fail to lower their level of rigidity and ego in order to have a friendship with their child. I think the children had enough parenting, now they actually need a good friendship. I am sorry to acknowledge that what her father did was totally irresponsible way of dealing with the situation. If there is any person who can successfully handle this situation, its you. May god be with you and bless you with enough strength to overcome this. God bless you
• United States
1 Mar 10
Thank you. I really needed that.
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
28 Feb 10
i honestly think that teenagers do not need a cell phone until they can PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES! we got into a similar mess with our teenager. she managed to rack up a mess of texts (and a corresponding bill to match) and to that end, she no longer has a phone (hubby lost his job and we could not pay them, so we made a deal with the cell phone company.) she is almost 17 and needs to get a job then and only then will she be able to get her own phone! sorry, but i think that 13 is far too young to have her own phone!
• United States
1 Mar 10
The phone is a necessity for her with her after school activities and her father being less than reliable when he is supposed to pick her up so she had a pay as you go phone since she has been 11. She was always responsible with that so I added her to my family plan. Whats done is done. Now she is on her fathers family plan. Let him learn the hard way when she gets ticked off at him.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Feb 10
As far as him giving her a phone let him learn the hard way lol lol Let her run his bill up! as far as the 13 year old romance you can agree or disagree but, to tell her no about could be a bad thing she might rebel in a really bad way I would just keep a really close eye on her.As far as computer use. No I do not feel you are in any way unreasonable, I do think it is wrong for him not to back you up.I would take her other phone away from her while she is there if I were you. But, I really do wish you the best of luck hun. I would put a foot down for sure.
• United States
1 Mar 10
I'm not too concerned about the romance because the boy lives on the other side of the continent. I told her she cannot use the phone while she is in the house but I have no say over what she does with it on the bus or at school so that is something I'm just going to have to compromise on.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12071)
• India
28 Feb 10
I wouldn't say you were unreasonable...but I think your ex is trying to get your daughter on his side...trying to be nice to her so that she thinks you are the monster. Sounds like that to me....children suck up to either parent even in relationships where the parents are together depending on who is letting them have their way....it's easier when the parents don't stay together.
• United States
28 Feb 10
You're absolutely right. Surprisingly though she did not ask or beg or anything for the phone. He did it all on his own. He claims he missed texting her. I know all too well what he is up to. My husband and I just bought our first house together and we are moving out of this school district in June. I know he thinks that by kissing her butt she will want to move in with him. But that is for another discussion I need to write. Thanks for stopping by. I missed you all so much
@MsTickle (24983)
• Australia
5 Mar 10
No, you're not unreasonable. She should understand by now that there are consequences for her actions. She was rewarded with the laptop by sticking by the rules for her cell phone. She blew it. SHE blew it. Not you. Although I would have to say I would have been keeping an eye on her use of the laptop and who she was involved with on FB. Her dad is trying to score points off you and that's playing really dirty too especially with a teenager. Things can only get worse from where I'm standing. It's so easy to suggest you have a chat to her where every second sentence is "Do you understand?" and get plenty of feedback from her. Good luck my friend.
@satya4186 (280)
• India
28 Feb 10
according to my view this is right that the romance of teenage when someone in teenage then there is no problem and burden of money and other that's why i think that at teenage is so priceless .
@happy2512 (1266)
• Philippines
28 Feb 10
No I don't find you unreasonable at all you are doing the right thing to punish your daughter but its not unusual for father to easily agree with your daugther for you know that you also do that when you are younger.
• Philippines
28 Feb 10
for me you're action to discipline her was correct and appropriate, you just teach her on something that might get you into trouble, you just tried to teach her a lesson without hurting her physically. you must be recieved a credit from your action, according to Dr. Phil discipline is not an abuse.. indulgence is a abuse. hope that i help you.... happy lotting