Recently I discovered some stupid behavior (again) on a smartphone. As my momma always said,’mean what you say and say what you mean’.
True to my word I proceed to try and destroy said smartphone. Let’s just say otter boxes work. Well. Too well. I was going for shock value. I ended up looking stupid but my point was made.
He moved to the couch since, as I promised, if I can’t trust you alone I’ll make sure I see every move you make. I wasn’t playing.
Phase 2 was to visit the local electronic superstore where the perpetrator had to, to his horror, ask for a non-texting device. They laughed. He then had to tell them why he was making what turned out to be impossible request. Yes. I am a mean, mean momma.
We left the store with a flip phone and a month worth of minutes. They might not make phones that don’t text but they’ve got some that make it difficult. We are talking old school. Want to type an s-that’s going to require some work. You would have thought it was a rotary dial that you actually had to turn 7 times to place a call. Point to momma.
He was, as I had hoped, miserable. Point 2 to momma.
Then he rallied. His new number was stored not as I suggested “hard to get a girl with a flip phone” but instead:
In between phases were 613 lectures. I defined gentleman. We revisited responsibility and spent a lot of time on rules and expectations. And since studies show a person needs to hear things 3 times to remember I repeated each lecture 33 times to be sure I was heard and understood.
The boy, the flip phone and I spent a lot of time together. A lot of time. Where I went-he went. Part of the plan. And wherever we went I reminded him why he was there.
Just this weekend I finally softened. I told him that the flip phone stayed but that his exile was over. I encouraged him to find some friends and have some teenage fun. He looked confused. Guess teens only communicate via smartphones and the idea of finding an actual phone number, dialing digits and physically speaking to another human was absurd. Sorry Charlie. That’s your deal.
Where there is a will there is a way. Somehow I thought he resourcefully found a number and took my advice to actually speak to people to make friends. I was wrong but we will get back to that. I let him go to the movies with a group. He had to be home straight after. But…being oh-so-supportive I actually found some kids his age at the pool and invited him to hang it with them. They were appalled but said okay. He came home and I have him permission to go “hang out” Saturday night. I was touch but still had a heart. The flip phone was extreme but I believed it was tough love. My job was to make him into a good man who could make smart decisions. When a smartphone prevented that I took it away. Yay me.
For some reason I couldn’t sleep Saturday night. At 2:30 I heard thumping and went upstairs to firmly put the boy to bed. He missed the tell-tell squeezing step-obviously because when I quietly peeked my head in his doorway he was totally engrossed in texting on a touch screen device that looked strangly like a SMARTPHONE.
We were able to rule out a care choice that night. He will never be a magician because his slight of hand skills are sorely lacking. Captain obvious he’s not. After pâthetic attempts to hide the phone I had so clearly seen or to play dumb when I had it in my hand the truth came out. His younger sister has given him her old phone to which he’d promptly activated banned apps and resumed his texting/snap-chatting life.
That phone is now history. Boy-child was also prohibited from being unsupervised. Problem-there aren’t camps for 16 year olds. To provide supervision he had to be with me. So be it.
I had him pack a brown bag lunch and made plans for him to go with me to work. He started to say removing staples from hundreds of pieces of paper. I have to admit-he made the most of it. He was cracking jokes and chair dancing and having a grand old time. I had to remind him this was punishment. I also had to tell him to HUSH no less then 29 times. Dude can talk. And talk. And talk. It wasn’t long before I was asking myself which one of us I was punishing.
From staples we moved to copies. From copies to collating and from collating to preparing packets. From that laughs and the singing you would have thought it was recess. Dude had FUN. He was proud of how much he got done and saw himself as a contributor to my team. Damn him.
Even my attempts to shame him were unsuccessful. When asked why he was there he told them”I was stupid”he’d grin charmingly and continue “mom is punishing me but it’s not working cause this is cool. I might come back and do this if I ever get out of trouble!” It didn’t help that they all oohed and ahhed over him. He ate it up. “I’ll be here all week! Let me know what you need,” he started saying.
Oh lord. This was day one.
They say the punishment should fit the crime but I’ve let to find a punishment he doesn’t make the most of! Another day I might see that as a positive…but not today. Not today.