And My Teen Lost His Phone, What Did I do?

Parenting Tips | And My Teen Lost His Phone, What Did I do? |

Looking for parenting tips on how to handle it when your teen loses his phone? Read my story to see how I handled it! My teen is in high school and commutes for one hour a day. To keep my sanity, my husband and I provided him with a cellphone for emergency calls. It was a long debate at our home, whether we can trust a 12 year old with a cellphone. But since I am a helicopter mom and since he is commuting for a long time, I wanted to feel safe and be able to reach him during his commute. I wanted him to be able to reach me in case something happens: a bus missed, a metro not working.

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Parenting Tips: Set Ground Rules Before Handing Over the Phone

Before giving him a cellphone, we set up some rules

  • Use it wisely: You have a certain amount of minutes and you cannot exceed that. You don’t have unlimited text
  • Shut down your phone when you are at school
  • Make sure to lock it in your locker when you are in class or practicing an activity.

I have to admit, he was very careful with the limits and respected that, well to a certain extent. One day, at 6 pm, he calls me from his friend’s phone to announce that his phone was stolen. You should have seen my face when he announced that. I was red with anger and was mad. I was wondering how on earth someone can steal a phone when it is LOCKED. It turned out he did not lock his locker. Mind you he had my old iPhone 4s so I was more than furious about that.

What Did I do about that? Read on for my parenting tips!

  • We had a serious discussion when he got back home. He apologized for not locking his locker. He was at swim practice and never locked his locker because he didn’t have his glasses. While I was not convinced with his excuse, I had to admit that locking a locker without glasses is a tough call. We bought him another phone (yes we did) but with his pocket money. Phones cost a lot of money and he had to understand that. We did not buy an iPhone (although he kept requesting that). We bought a very basic phone with less features.
  • We bought an insurance for the phone (again paid with his pocket money). At least, if it is lost we have some kind of insurance.
  • We made sure that he locked his locker. How? Well I suggested that he locked his phone and then removed glasses. He can put glasses in a shirt. Nobody will steal his special glasses.

Did this happen to your teen? What did you do about it? Tell me your parenting tips for handling this situation.

10 thoughts on “And My Teen Lost His Phone, What Did I do?”

  1. Great tips for young phone owners. My kids were older teens (16+) before they were allowed to have a phone. They were told I would buy them one phone, if they lost it they would have to pay for a new one. Guess what? They never lost their phone.

  2. The rules here are… you lose it, you replace it. They have to learn responsibility and consequences somehow, right? As parents, it’s our job to help them learn. When I was getting my fancy, schmancy psych degree I learned all people, especially kids and teens learn differently. So, while punishments should fit ‘the crime’, you also need to tailor them to hit them where it hurts most. Or there really is no lesson to be taken away, only some random punishment. For example, my son could care less about his phone but a video game would sting. My daughter would shrivel up and die without her phone. The consequence for a lost phone for her would be exactly what you did! It’s more valued when they have a tangible connection to attach.
    Good job mom!

  3. I agree with your approach. Especially on how you approached the replacement of the phone. If you had simply bought him a new phone with your money, he would have never gotten the message of value and might’ve had it ingrained that what he loses someone else will make up for it. But using his money ingrains that sense of value, using real dollars, and now makes him even more reluctant to lose the phone (since he now has a more tangible connection to his new device).

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