Our Daughter’s Nightly Struggle
JANUARY 13, 2019
Good story and advice from another parent.
We went through similar with our daughter at 16 to 17 and going through it now with our son. When it started to negatively affect their sleep, school work, behavior, relationships with us and others etc… The anger, crying, pouting, resentment etc…. Hearing them say no other parents are strict like this with limiting phone use and age restrictions on apps and other parental controls for their health and safety. Each time usage reduced their behavior and … improved. Then over time or if we not keeping an eye on it the issues would return. Repeat ….
She told us similar things about worrying and helping friends late at night suffering from anxiety and depression. We have heard similar from our son.
We know this can be serious and told them about crisis numbers they can call if they feel they cant talk to their parents and other information.
In some cases it is the lack of sleep, heavy technology use, related pressures on and offline that cause or significantly contribute to the anxiety and depression.
Part of me also wonders if in some cases it can be an excuse they tell each other to give to their parents to keep their phones at night. There has been many other excuses.
Things improved when they started working part time so had less time to be on their phones and spending more face to face time with their friends became more important.
In our case most of the time we found it was sufficient to have them leave their phones out on the kitchen counter or desk near kitchen in airplane mode charging overnight. They have gotten and used ideas like putting same solid case they had for their phone but facedown with charger cord going to it so it looked like their phone not in their room.
Even same phone model and color as theirs after someone elses got upgrades and left it out. When we checked it one time and it on setup screen they just said it does that sometime and just needs to reboot. Started to reboot it and got distracted and forgot about it. Didnt realise till noticing again a couple weeks later. Trying to wipe phone to defaults to remove parental controls or restrictions and others until they realised the consequences were often worse than the restriction like complete loss of the phone for a while or more restrictions for a while.
We must not be too hard on ourselves or the kids. There needs to be a balance or matters get worse. It is challenging yet so very important.
Archive of above linked story included below if needed.
Here is related info.
My daughter is 16 and like all teens deals with social drama and ups and downs. I want her to have a cell phone for safety, but last year I began to realize that she was using it for much more than that. She was staying up late at night texting and on social media, and the beautiful daughter I know and love was, quite frankly, becoming awful to live with.
After investigating her hours of late night phone use (which for a technology challenged mom like myself was no easy task), my husband and I decided it was time for us to start putting her device in our room at bedtime. I honestly had no idea how much this decision would impact her. After she blew up in anger, she began sobbing and puddled on the floor. As I held her, I just listened. Listened to all the worries and fears of fitting in and keeping up, but there was something even more alarming keeping her up at night…My daughter had been counseling another teen late at night who was suicidal. Her huge heart had been on high alert. She HAD to stay up and be available at all times “in case” her friend needed her.
We were able to talk, really talk, (well, she talked and I held my breath hoping that it wouldn’t stop). She shared all her social circle drama, the comments on social media she had to keep up with, the sleep overs and parties she saw that she knew she wasn’t invited to, and most importantly how she was single handedly owning responsibility for her friend’s life. My teen was relieved when we talked through how to break the silence and get her friend help, real help, and that it wasn’t my daughter’s responsibility to carry that burden, especially not alone. Together we came up with a plan to involve adults who can support her friend and break the silence over suicidal thoughts.
After the dust settled and we stuck to our new “no phone at bedtime” rule, I was amazed at the changes we saw. I could tell that my girl was so relieved! Much like setting limits with a curfew, she needed that structure from us to take the pressure off. Also, while initially it was an adjustment for all of us at bedtime to take the phone (not going to lie, some days were harder than others depending on what was going on socially), after awhile it became routine. She began to use our limits to protect herself too, telling peers her mom and dad were taking the phone (we gave her permission to blame us for any lame-ness). She got sleep, she was less irritable and I saw my beautiful girl come back.
Navigating this technology thing is not fun, for parents or our teens. But I will fight for our daughter’s health, and am happy to report that this battle was worth it.
Allison, START Parent, Overland Park, KS