View Full Version : Cell phones and Grandkids

September 3rd, 2019, 12:54 PM
Ooh I just have to vent a little here! My dd is divorced and my gd lives with her but her Dad has her on weekends. She's a little spoiled, an only child used to getting her own way. She's 7. Well Dad bought her a cell phone! We keep her 2 days a week but now school is starting so we won't see her that often, and not the weekly sleep overs we had all summer. Last week she brought her phone and was an absolute brat when I took it away. She pouted and moped and kept saying I want my phone back!! She sat on the couch with her arms crossed and wouldn't do anything. Refused to eat lunch or go outside, look at books, play games, and wouldn't even come in the kitchen to help me make chocolate chip cookies, something shoe usually usually loves. I washed a big load of cloth napkins and asked her to help me fold them. At first she said she didn't know how, then she deliberately did such a sloppy job I told her to refold them and she refused and threw them on the floor. I tried to talk to her about her attitude (and no I did not yell) and she stuck her fingers in her ears. When my dd came to pick her up I told her some of this and she said I was making too much of it and she was just having a bad day. This was about the first time I was actually happy to see her leave! I want to be ready for next time. What could I have done differently?

September 3rd, 2019, 01:06 PM
Oh how sad, the only thing I can think of, was she given a warning before taking phone away? Set up the rules before having to take any action, sometimes is helpful. My heart is heavy for you. Hope other have some suggestions.

September 3rd, 2019, 01:30 PM
Oh wow. Such an attitude at only 7. I would have sent her to a bedroom without a tv or any entertainment until she was ready to come out with an adjustment to her attitude

September 3rd, 2019, 01:30 PM
Oh Jocelyn. I feel for you. Clearly this is behaviour that both parents are learning to tolerate. You did what you could, given the behaviour.

I know when my DD would act this way, I gave her 2 choices & she had to pick one. Neither of them favoured her. She did eventually learn that her actions have consequences. Perhaps the next time your GD comes over, her parents must reinforce the fact that phone is not brought to grandma.

Good luck with that. We just finally got my kids to stop texting while we're together. Now to get SS & DIL to do the same. Very annoying.

September 3rd, 2019, 01:56 PM
A seven year old is not old enough, or responsible enough to have their own cell phone.

September 3rd, 2019, 02:28 PM
A seven year old is not old enough, or responsible enough to have their own cell phone.
My daughter just got her girls (age 11 and 8) watches with the ability to phone or text contacts that her parents allow. They also have GPS tracking. DD is able to contact them when picking up from school or dance class, etc. (“I’ll wait for you at the corner.”) or when they’re momentarily separated in a crowd. (Disneyland or the mall) It’s really all they need at this age.

September 3rd, 2019, 02:31 PM
Oh Jocelyn, this must be aggravating and sad. Maybe at the start of her next visit, tell her she has an allotted amount of minutes (of your choosing) to play with her phone, after that the phone is put away. As far as the pouting & sitting with her arms folded on the couch & not wanting to do anything.......maybe just let her sit there while you go about your day. The key would be trying to act like it doesn't bother you....which will be hard. If she doesn't get a reaction from you maybe she will realize the pouting isn't working.

I feel for you and hesitated to give a suggestion because I have learned that it's always easy to make suggestions when you are not the one in the middle of the problem being discussed. Hugs to you.

I also feel that 7 years old is way to young for a cell phone. There are so many dangers out there that they don't understand.

September 3rd, 2019, 02:33 PM
I agree with Bubba!

I'd tell mom, bad days are excuses for bad behavior that needs to be addressed not ignored.

Then, I'd tell both Mom, Dad, and child, the cell phone is not coming in. It's your house your rules. If it's snuck in, I'd take it and put it up again until whoever comes and picks her up.

Stand your ground! A 7 year old is too young to have a cell phone!

Caroline T.
September 3rd, 2019, 03:48 PM
I have mixed feelings about a 7 year old having a cell phone. A child needs to be able to (and to know that they can), contact their parents at any time! Especially a child who's time is divided between their parents. At that age, they especially need to know that they can talk to mommy or daddy anytime, and that they aren't "out of sight, out of mind".

I know, I know, some will say, but they can use Grandma's phone....but ask yourself how many of us actually have a landline anymore (I don't), and those that don't (and rely on cell phones) have a security code on their phone (I took mine off): have you shared that code with your grandchild or children ?

I do believe in limiting them to very standard cell phones (call & text only)... no internet access at all! And that parents should monitor the phone usage (check the recent call list to see who and how often/long calls are being made to and from), set the parental controls, and set limits and monitor use!!!!

But the big issue here today, is the Granddaughter's attitude. Yup any 7 year old who's newest toy was taken away is going to pout and be obnoxious. They're going to test their limits. This was true 50 years ago, and it will be true 50 years from now.

But Jocelyn, you did the right thing setting limits...Grandma's house...Grandma's rules! And also by discussing it with your daughter.

Next visit, when she arrives, remind your GD of your rules, and limits on the phone (and attitude), and stick to your guns! She may not like it, she may throw another tantrum, but in the long run what she needs is to know that Grandma is consistent and that is something she may really need from you, whether she realizes it or not.

September 3rd, 2019, 07:31 PM
I agree with most all said. Just let the parents and your granddaughter know the phone is off limits while at your home. If she sits and pouts again, ignore her and go about your day. I think that works for most at that age. She will realize at some point tat her attitude is not welcome and she has the ability to change it. It is a difficult position to be in, but if you dont stand your ground she will take over.

September 3rd, 2019, 09:10 PM
When we had custody of our grandson, he really liked to play video games. We made and enforced a rule that in order to play, he had to read 30 minutes for 30 minutes of play time. At the end of that 30 minutes, if he wanted to continue playing, he had to pause or turn off the game and read 30 more minutes for 30 minutes of play time.

He quit living with us when he got out of second grade. His new school tested his reading level (he was eight years old), and when they got to 11th grade level, they quit. The teacher asked me how this was possible. I told her our rule and she wrote a note home to all her parents asking them to enforce it. To this day, that boy loves to read!!

He did get a cell phone shortly after, and it was only because at that age, he was coming home to an empty house. The phone he had had five buttons on it.....mom, dad, grandma and other grandma....the last one was for 911. He could not call anyone else or play games on it, and it was the perfect way to teach responsibility. He could get calls from anyone who had the number to call him.

When we are all together as a family, his cousins all have their noses glued to their phones. He is either reading or visiting (he is 24 now) and is about the best kid you could ask for.

September 3rd, 2019, 10:34 PM
Hmmm. Not sure what to add about a 7 y.o. having a cell phone. Seems too young to me. Obviously she needs some consistent discipline by both parents, limits set, etc. Having studied extensively about EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure & the its harmful effects, I certainly would use caution for children who still have developing brains to have so much exposure with cell phone use for health reasons. Kids today are addicted to their electronics, including phones. I'm thankful as I parent I didn't have to deal with that. We still have a land line & have no plans to get rid of it. I have an older model cell phone (19 y.o.) which I carry in my purse for only emergencies. Most of the time it's turned off.

September 3rd, 2019, 11:51 PM
Wow, no nothing different that I can think of. sorry about your grandchild and her Mother too. Seven. I don't see my three great grandsons because their parents never do anything with them. they break everything and never mind anyone, etc. They don't have much, live off assistance mainly. but still, they need manners and all that. the oldest just started school. he has trouble speaking clearly and i do hope he gets attention and help there but doubt it will happen. they are so, so cute, dimples and everything. I could go on.
take a deep breath and be there if they need you. good luck.

September 4th, 2019, 12:04 PM
Grrr... this is a subject I could continue to rant about until no one wants to talk to me anymore. Sometimes I do, and sometimes they go away. Good riddance.

This is the electronic age, which I'm sure is having a negative affect on society. Parenting styles have also changed since we were raised and raised our own children. For better or worse, it is what it is. Doesn't mean I have to put up with it, and I don't. My house- my rules. They call me "grumpa."

I was surprised to hear that 60% of children have phones at the age of five. What? That's a parenting problem. I sorta understand it though. When we were young and the parents needed to attend to something without the interference of kids, we were told to "go play outside." As televisions gained popularity it was, "go watch TV." After that was gaming- "why don't uou go play your games?" Now you just get them a phone. Yep- a parenting problem, which there's always been, but a different way of dealing with it. A big part of it is that the "modern" parent also has their noses in their phone.

The "attitude?" I see a lot more parents who ignore it, and to huge degree perpetuate it. It's a societal problem. It just doesn't happen around my house. My house has doors, which purpose is to keep you out if you don't play by the rules.

I think the phones are a good thing. I live in a city with a really good public transit system. I use it a lot for the convenience and savings, (which are huge BTW.) Best thing? Everyone on the bus, train or trolley, has their noses buried in the phone, so I can pick my nose whenever I feel like it, and no one will even notice.

End of rant- for now. Love, Grumpa

September 4th, 2019, 01:27 PM
Too bad you don't live where I do. No cell service at all.

September 4th, 2019, 05:29 PM
Jocelyn, I think you've received really good advice here. I can't add much to the wisdom thats been expressed. And I certainly don't think you over reacted.

My only addition to the conversation is this: There is a certain addictive quality to video games and cell phones. If parents are going to buy a cell phone for a child, the parent has the responsibility to mitigate that addictive quality. It's OK to say to your DGD that her last visit wasn't much for either of you & to mention that addictive quality of the phone. It's OK to let her know that worries you. If she's old enough to have a phone, she's old enough to hear the dangers such as deformed necks and arthritic thumbs (neither of which is attractive, which may be your most successful tack). But cold turkey isnt effective, so the Bubba approach tends to be the most successful: DGD can earn a certain # of minutes on her phone at Gramma's house by doing XYZ.

You can even tell her that it's her first driving lesson! She'll be learning how to put down the phone at appropriate times. My youngest, who is a member of the communicate-by-text generation, explained to me that there's a social stigma to delaying your answer to an incoming text; it's important for you to understand this. You can tell your DGD that this will help her establish good driving habits now. In other words, she'll be investing in her future driver's license!

My heart goes out to you. Without her parents working on this, too, you're in a tough spot.

September 5th, 2019, 09:28 AM
Oh that's a pity..Well try to turn everything into a game as everybody loves playing! And she'd think that she's a winner and she rules, but we know what's the main point :) Good luck!

September 5th, 2019, 11:49 AM
Thank you everyone for all of your good ideas. I have given this a lot of thought. My 3 kids grew up in the '80's. The internet was just starting up then. We had dial up where you paid by the minute and I remember many hassles telling them to get off the computer so I could use the phone, or get off the computer and do your homework. Or them fighting over whose turn it was to be on the computer. Fast forward a few years and video games were a big thing. I hated them, such a time waster, so in our house the rule was NO video games. No X-box, no Nintendo, no Playstation. And you know what? They survived! And now today they all agree with me that video games are a big time wsster and none of them have game stations at their houses. Score one for Mom! So after much thought I have decided GK will not be allowed to use their cell phones at Grandma's. I have no interest in playing tug of war on this, you do such and such for 30 minutes, then you can use your phone for 30 minutes. I don't want to be the phone police with my eye on the clock, and monitoring not only how long, but content what websites are okay, what You Tube is she watching, what games are acceptable bc there is no way to keep on top of those ever changing things. If her parents want to let her have access to her phone at all times, then she will have plenty of phone time when she is with them. Yes she won't like it but she will survive. I know it might seem like I am taking a hard line but it feels like the right thing to do.

September 5th, 2019, 03:02 PM
Your house- your rules. Since you are starting while the phone is still new it should work. Do you have a special place to put the phone as she walks in the door? Maybe a pretty box with a lid that's only for that.

September 7th, 2019, 01:36 AM
So sorry this is happening to you, but kind of inevitable. I think a phone is pretty standard for kids today, especially those in divided households. But i urge you to consider carefully how to proceed. Is this a mountain you want to die on Grandma? I don't think you can win any kind of moral victory by setting very restrictive rules at your house compared to what she is doing elsewhere. You will become the mean Grandma and soon she will be finding excuses not to come to visit. i suggest you have a frank phone conversation with both parents about phone manners instead. If she is going to sit on your sofa ignoring you the entire visit do you want her there? It's rude and hurtful. That is how I would approach it to the parents. Ask them how they are handling the inevitable phone rudeness issue and make plans together. Tell them how it makes you feel and see what they say. If they can't plan with you the battle is lost right there. Yes, it is very sad, but it's reality. In a triangulated power struggle you will always be the odd person out. I know you don't want that to happen and you want a loving relationship with her. Good luck.

September 8th, 2019, 04:03 PM
couple of suggestions that no one has mentioned. Ask to look at the phone and disable it secretly. I don't think a 7 year old has mastered to skill to be that techy. Maybe?
Second...they make a device that with the push of a button disables cell and wifi communication completely in a certain range.
Third...call her on the phone and chat about how you wish she was in the same room with you making cookies
Or...as we do at Gramma Camp here every summer...we have electronic bans...We have a time before dinner when they can use their devices to call home or check their messages...then all electronics are put on a table and we are all back outside. Seems to work!!