Sunday, February 1, 2015

10 Ninja Ways to Enforce Teen Phone Time: A guest post by Dr. Psych Mom

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10 Ninja ways to enforce teen phone time
by Samantha Rodman of Dr. Psych Mom

I recently read an article on enforcing phone time limits.  It discussed “no cell phone zones at home,” “changing your wifi password after 10 at night” and other suggestions to get your teenager off their phone.  

Come on, people.  Woman up.  

Do you want to win this battle or do you want to be some chump who has to change her wifi password every night, desperately hoping that your kid is too dumb to steal wifi from the family next door?  Mama ain’t got time for that!  (And that family is already mad at you for never mowing your lawn, also your kid’s fault.)

So, here are some ninja ways to get your teenager off the phone, if you really want to, and I’m not sure why you do, because when a kid is on his phone, he can’t be, for example, running a drug cartel.  Well, actually, I bet that is done on phones nowadays.  Moving on.  

Here are some foolproof strategies to get your kid off the phone and possibly traumatize him for life. 

1.  Bribe your son with other, cooler things.  “Listen, if you get off that phone, Daddy will take you to an MMA tournament.”  What’s that you say?  You’re anti-violence too?  You sound like a barrel of laughs.

2. Text your daughter that you found the marijuana in her room.  Then when she races downstairs, sweetly say, “Just kidding.  But if you don’t want me to look through your whole room right now, get off the phone.”

3. Take selfies of you making sexy faces.  If your son doesn’t get off his phone, swear that you will text these pictures to all of his friends.  Make sure that you are wearing a belly shirt.  That one you met his father in, in 1993. And boot-cut jeans and a black velvet choker to complete the ensemble.  Hottt, as they say (possibly?).

4. Text your daughter romantic messages “accidentally” that are meant for Dad. She will be so disgusted that she will be hesitant to even touch her phone for at least a few hours.  Make sure to use pet names like “Cobra” and indecipherable emojis that your child will automatically assume mean something really gross.

5. Sneak into your child’s room at night and steal his phone.  If he wants it back he has to mow the lawn.  And cook you dinner.  And do the laundry, even the hand washing, which includes his sister’s dance leotard.  And your Zumba gear.

6. Make a deal that for every minute your daughter is on the phone, you get to ask her another personal, prying question about her relationship with that kid she’s been hanging out with a lot.  Make sure to focus on whether he is really the type of guy she pictures herself with in the long term.  Discuss his positive and negative qualities at length.  Mention that he seems like your type too, and you would also have found him very attractive when you were her age.  Her desire to text will be no match for this level of awkward self-disclosure and she will give up.  #winning!

7. Tell your son to stay right by his phone, because you’re having his great aunt call him to talk about what a lovely young man he’s becoming from all the nice photos she sees on Facebook. Strangely, he will leave it on the table and vanish.

8.  Text your daughter’s boyfriend that if he stops texting with her and helps her stay off her phone, you’ll invite him on the next family vacation and let your daughter and him stay in their own hotel room.  But, joke’s on him, because you can’t afford to take a family vacation for at least the next five years!

9. Take out your son’s phone battery and replace it with a folded Post-It note that gives him clues to where to find it.  Humorously, it will be located underneath all the piles of clothes on his floor, which he will have to put away.  Two birds with one stone.  God you’re smart.

10. Change your daughter’s text message alert to Cat’s in the Cradle and tell her it’s to remind her that your time living together under the same roof is fleeting and it makes you just so sad.  Sigh loudly and blink back tears. This guilt trip is guaranteed to be good for one phone-free hour, two if she is feeling magnanimous.

There you have it.  If you end up having to change the WIFI password, at least make it something that can soothe your bruised ego and give you a false sense of control.  Like “DOINGITCAUSEIWANTTO” or “NOTOUTOFOPTIONS.”

Dr. Samantha Rodman is a clinical psychologist in private practice, where she works with individuals and couples. She is also a wife and a mom of three.  She wows us with both her brain and wit over at Dr. Psych Mom, and would love you to join her on Facebook and Twitter

*Title photo courtesy of Ambro at

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