Cell phone limits

Dr Rich Melheim posits the idea that 1) your teenager’s cell phone actually belongs to you (if you pay for it) and 2) the quantity of your teenagers uninterrupted sleep on any given night is up to the least healthy person with your teenager’s cell number.  (Check out his book, “Holding Your Family Together”)

The conclusion he draws points to the importance of sleep in a teenager’s life.  Frankly, they don’t get enough.  One of the reasons they don’t get enough sleep (and there are many) is the least healthy person in their circle of friends that is texting them at 2:00am.

The solution?  The cell phone, that is to say YOUR cell phone (the one that YOU pay for), goes into your possession at 8:00pm until the next morning.  You can say something like, “At 8:00pm please bring me MY phone that I give to you to use.” Gasp!  Heresy, I know.

When it comes down to it, what are the implications of that?  Your teenager will be mad at you certainly.  Won’t be the first time and won’t be the last.  It won’t likely be forever.  Will they be cast out of their circle of friends?  Maybe, maybe not though if they are it does call into question the circle of friends they’re in.  Will they have a chance at uninterrupted sleep?  Much moreso than if their phone is with them.

If we think about it a minute, there really isn’t so much of a downside to a teenager not having their phone on overnight.  And here are some definite pluses.

Where do you land on this idea?


2 thoughts on “Cell phone limits

  1. I had a cell phone throughout high school and still got plenty of sleep as a teenage. Why? Because I had been taught to put my phone on silent when I went to bed. There are much easier solutions than taking a phone away. Put the charger on the other side of the room (almost all teenagers plug in their phones at night to charge). Teach your kids that putting it on silent won’t be the end of the world. Help them learn to take care of themselves and not worry about what others think.

    If your kid is in high school and still worries about being “cast out” among their friends because they sleep, then there’s a teaching moment the parents should take advantage of. Instead of punishing them and further pushing their insecurities, why not work with them?

    Treating objects as “yours vs. mine” in a parent-child relationship usually creates more of a rift than anything else. I’m not a parent, but when I was growing up, I saw kids get a lot more distant from their parents because they would pull the “technically, nothing you own is yours” trick.

    My advice to parents: try creating moments to get to know your kids better rather than punish them for their insecurities.

    • Sounds like you had good boundaries from the outset. That’s a good thing.

      My post was specifically directed toward the parents of teenagers who are sleep deprived, which many studies suggest applies to most teenagers. And offered one suggestion to help with that, “One of the reasons they don’t get enough sleep (and there are many)…” No punishment was mentioned and if I implied that, it was certainly not my intent.

      And I do agree that a generalized “I own everything you have” from parents isn’t helpful. Again, this post was specific to cell-phones and a lack of sleep.

      Thanks for your comments!

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