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Cell phone boundaries?

Posted by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 3:39 AM
  • 78 Replies
Hi! I am completely new and this is my first post :) I've been with DH 5 years, I have two SD's and a DS7.
BM got SD11 a cell phone so she can reach her any time and because she has been wanting one and entering middle school and feels she's ready for the responsibility.
Ever since SD has gotten the phone it has been torture. First of all, SD says "my mom says you can't take it away from me as a punishment by the way because she pays the bill and wants to be able to text or call."
She is also secretive, has a pass code, so you can't see what she does.
DH told her he doesn't want her using the phone as a source to vent to her moms side of the family when she is in trouble, which is really nice.
But she tells her mom and her Gma everything we are doing. Places we are about to go, takes pictures and videos in our home and sends it (I don't like people seeing my apartment if it's not clean) and just generally gives a play by play of what's going on and she also does it when she's at her moms. Constantly texting me and her dad and my in laws what is going on over there.

I feel like my privacy is being violated. The thing is that BM pays the bill because DH and I don't think she needs a phone. Sd can be reached at all times at either one of our cell phones unless she is in school.
DH doesn't pay child support because she and he both agreed at the divorce because it was 50/50 that she didn't find it fair or necessary to make him pay when they have them the same amount of time. Plus she makes more than he does, so in reality she might actually have to pay him haha.
But DH does get $300 per month taken out of his check per month for health insurance for our family, we paid the school lunch bills last year (she never splits), and we pay for dental visits, she won't take them to the dentist ever on her own if it means she has to pay.
I know money isn't an issue for her, she's places high importance on buying them new outfits constantly and that is really expensive especially her taste in clothes.

Our idea is that she can't control what goes on in our home regardless if she pays the bill, is that right?

I'm asking because today we took the phone away for the first time because she hit her sister and said she hated her and wished she was dead, etc, and I turned it off. Later on, BM was texting the other sd on the iPod and DH wouldn't let her answer bc we were in the middle of dinner and he said it could wait until after we ate. She said BM would get mad, etc. Then BM called DH, and he didn't answer because we were eating dinner of course and she texted just asking him to bring them over at 9am tomorrow but I am totally waiting for her to verbalize this "you can't take her phone away! I pay the bill!" crap and I just am looking for some guidance on how to guide DH so he is best prepared to handle it. He's probably fine but a fresh perspective is helpful.

Thank you!
by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 3:39 AM
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Replies (1-10):
LiveInTheNow
by Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 4:17 AM

SD11 has a phone that we pay the bill on. DH had a hard time ever reaching her when she is with BM without one. They are not 50/50. DH gets once a week and EOWE. I dont see anything wrong with your SD having it but with an attitude like that already that you cant take it away. That would be unnerving fo me too, but I dont know what DH and I would do if BM decided to take that away. Thankfully she doesnt feel the need to. I guess being disrespectful towards you and DH you could always come up with other rules as to how to disipline her. Let her tell her mom that shes being disiplined all day long if she wants, you dont try to control what BM does, she cant really control what you do as far as how SD is raised in your home. And if your home is messy enough that you worry someone might see it as a bad thing than clean it up. Other than that Im sorry I cant be of more help.

Leigh84
by Gold Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 5:37 AM
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SS15 has a phone we bought. It doesn't matter who pays the bill, SS and BM both know if he's over there and acting like a ass she can and will take it. It's also a rule that she knows his pass code so she can monitor things at her house.

I'd say, your sd hit her sister your DH is w/in his right to take her phone.
Bubbles2014
by on Aug. 11, 2014 at 5:52 AM
3 moms liked this
If a child can use the phone responsibly, thats one thing.

She is not using the phone responsibly.

You do NOT need to feel exposed and violated in your home.

Let her text whatever she wants. But, if you ask for pics/vids not to be sent (also, what if she was taking pictures of financial information, thinking she was some cool spy?) AND SHE CONTINUES TO DO IT, put the phone away.

She is 11, doesn't need constant contact with her mommy while Dad is spending time with her. Its fucking rude and BM should not be encouraging it.

If there is a legit need for contact, fine. But no 11 year old should be doing this. This is how they get into major trouble with phones. She needs boundaries and to bad what BM thinks.


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MBanks524
by Gold Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 6:34 AM
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You have every right to have rules and guidelines you expect to be followed at your house. If a consequence is that she loses the phone while at your house her BM has no say. If you don't want pics or videos taken that's your right. You can't control BMs words or actions but you can can control what happens at your house.
CometGirl
by Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 8:59 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm going through this very situation.  My ex pays for our DD17's cell phone and he feels I should not be able to take it away from her as punishment.  Last week I did take it b/c she was contacting a boy that we (ex included) do not approve of.  Ex was so upset that he contacted the police to file a theft report against me!  The chief of police told him to "forget it".  As the custodial parent I have the right to make restrictions in my home.

codysara
by Silver Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 9:10 AM
You are correct in taking her phone away. She has been blatantly disrespectful with it. However, when you do take it away your sd should send bm a text from dads phone saying if she needs to be reached for an emergency to call bf. This is needed so bm doesnt panic when sd does not answer. It is just a way to keep bm from panicking. Sd would then have to explain her poor behaviour, maybe (fingers crossed) might agree with you?
KarmaBusDriver
by ChiefBottleWasher on Aug. 11, 2014 at 11:04 AM
1 mom liked this

exactly this.  If any child in our home pulled this crap then the phone would be banned from the home.  We do not keep secrets, and we know all the log ins, pass codes to anything and everything. 

We pay for the cell phone, but if SS was abusing the phone, sending inappropiate texts/pics on her time, we would support BM taking the phone and Mom and Dad can talk about what to do.  

I think rules regarding cell phones is the ONLY thing DH and BM agree on. That is unfortunate that in your case BM is using it as a tool to invade daughters time with Dad and a "spy" device.  Dad needs to set some boundaries quick before this really escalates.

Quoting Bubbles2014: If a child can use the phone responsibly, thats one thing. She is not using the phone responsibly. You do NOT need to feel exposed and violated in your home. Let her text whatever she wants. But, if you ask for pics/vids not to be sent (also, what if she was taking pictures of financial information, thinking she was some cool spy?) AND SHE CONTINUES TO DO IT, put the phone away. She is 11, doesn't need constant contact with her mommy while Dad is spending time with her. Its fucking rude and BM should not be encouraging it. If there is a legit need for contact, fine. But no 11 year old should be doing this. This is how they get into major trouble with phones. She needs boundaries and to bad what BM thinks.


ProudGloriousSM
by Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 11:04 AM

I don't think you should worry about what BM or her family think.  Your SD can vent all she wants.  Unless you're doing something illegal, BM's opinion is irrelevant.  Don't give her more importance in your head than she needs to have, which should be minor.

Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 11:26 AM
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Kids say things.  They lie.  You have no idea how mom feels about the phone besides what your SD said and it could be a power grab on her (SD's) part. 

The fact is, in this day and age, people are wired.  All the time it seems. If your fear is pics of a dirty house, don't have a dirty house.  Think of it as motivation!  LOL

Seriously though, having and using computers or cell phones responsibly and safely is a topic our parents didn't have to tackle but parents now do.  I would suggest that your DH do a little online research about best practices for tweens and technology and then have a discussion with BM about it.

The rules that make sense vary from family to family.  It's important that your DH and BM understand the risks and are able to come to some agreement on appropriate useage to keep your SD safe.  Most providers now have parental controls available so that only certain numbers can be called or calls can be received from them.  Like mom, dad, grandparents, etc.  Most have limits available for times when the phone can be used. Most have some limits available for content and purchasing of apps. 

Your DH and BM might think that it's no big deal, but I assure you, kids find ways to get themselves in trouble with phones.  Whether it's racking up charges or getting apps and doing inappropriate things--think snapchat.

It's new to all of you so I wouldn't approach it in a defensive way but in a proactive way with regards to appropriate screen time, safety, and etiquette.

For example, we do not do phones at the table when having dinner.  The kids do have their phones with them at night (they use them for alarm clocks).  But we have parental settings such that they don't get texts or calls and can't make texts or calls except to their parents after 10PM.  (My SDs are older than yours now)

We have controls on the phone so that they cannot load apps that cost money without permission and that we can see what apps they have, block them if needed, etc. 

I think that when it comes to communication with Mom, one thing you need to accept is that aside from special times like dinner or being in the middle of some activity, it's actually pretty reasonable for a kid to be able to talk to/text their parent.  DH should have that convo with BM.  I don't think it's right to limit contact throughout the day.

BUT I also understand how annoying it can be to be on say...a family vacay and BM is texting every 5 min so the kids are glued to screens instead of seeing the scenery or participating. 

Can you take the phone away as punishment?  Sure.  But again, it's something your DH should communicate to BM.  He could send a text from the phone "SD was hitting her sister and has lost phone privileges today.  If you need to reach her, you're welcome to call my phone or the house phone."

But those are convos to have in advance of a problem so that it doesn't get blown out of proportion.

If I were in your shoes, here are the things I'd focus on:

1) Identifying and communicating the times when SD will be available or not availabe to chat.  Like dinner time.  Making sure that it's clear that if she misses a call from Mom, it will be returned as soon as the activity is through.

2) Getting over the photo stuff.  Your DH can have a chat about it with SD but honestly, the more you rail against pics and sharing of pics, the more she's probably going to do it.  Not sure I'd make it a hill to die on.  I once did and it didn't work out well. 

3) Safety.  If your DH approaches all of this from a safety standpoint, he's more likely to be well received.

4) Use it!  Your DH should call too.  SD is a tween now.  She is becoming more independent.  Dad can have independent convos with her as well. He should if he isn't already.

WifeyC
by Platinum Member on Aug. 11, 2014 at 11:34 AM

BM pays for SS's phone.  He lives in our home and we have the right to take it away or make rules for it as we see fit.  BM complained the first time DH took it away, but that didn't change anything.

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