Problems with phone usage..........

Avatar for frugal_mom_of2
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Registered: 06-02-2003
Problems with phone usage..........
8
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 8:10pm
First off let me say my problem isn't with Brooke and using the phone. We have rules about using the phone and she follows them to the letter. We didn't allow her to really use the phone for talking to friends until the 3rd grade, and then it's on a very limited basis. She has to ask permission to use the phone(especially since her best friend is local long distance), she has a time limit, no incoming calls after 7pm etc.

My problem is with her friends and the lack of rules they seem to have. They call here whenever they please, even when they have been told repeatedly by dh and I that Brooke can't get calls after 7pm. When I am working on the computer they will call, and call, and call, and call and continue to call until I get ticked off and turn off my caller ID.(dd's best friend called 5 times this evening within one minute!) Brooke has told them more than once that when I am on the computer and they get the message telling them so to NOT call back. That I am busy and won't disconnect for her to return the call.

There is one little girl who calls here that I have been trying really hard to put a stop to without being mean. She comes from a not so nice family, is rather mean-spirited and torments other kids, cheats in school(her mother did her math homework for her once this year and the kid copied it. Then she turned in both her paper and the paper her mother had done to the teacher!) She is just NOT what I want in a friend for dd. This kid does NOT get rules and restrictions at all. Dd was grounded from the phone for a week a while back. The kid called on Sunday and I said " Brooke is grounded from the phone for a week. She can't talk to anyone until next Saturday." to which she says "ok will you have her call me later tonight?" UMMMM duh!! Didn't I just say she couldn't talk for a week??? She then continued to call EVERY SINGLE DAY that week! She repeatedly calls after the 7pm curfew, etc.

Is it so much to ask that my life, my home and my phone be my own? That I work on the computer without someone else's kid ringing my phone off the wall?

UGH! I swear it's enough to make me want to have my phone turned off!

Sherri

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 8:06am
We never had the Phone/Internet problem, thanks to Cable Internet, but we sure did get a lot of telemarketers calling. My husband would get irritated and want to pick up the phone to tell them off so letting it ring in my lively house never worked. We finally got Privacy Manager from the phone company. It's nice. Now we know every time the phone rings it's going to be someone who actually called to talk to us.

Samantha

Avatar for keke0116
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 9:36pm
ITA ... I don't think that the kids in Sherri's post are intending to be irritating any more than your inlaws are. I know there are times that the phone will ring at 9:00, and DH will be asleep on the couch, and he'll be grumbling 'cause he was awakened ... and it'll be for him! And, I'll remind him that it's 'only' 9:00, and most adults are up 'til much later than that. The reality is that most families have different rules and different patterns and different priorities, and there are certain things that happen that may be annoying to one family, but probably needs to be looked at in the spirit in which it is coming. I personally don't think allowing children to use a phone is letting them overtake the house or make the rules. It's a means of communication. Should there be limits and rules on its usage? Absolutely. Same as with everything else. I guess there just needs to be some 'way' of enforcing your rules without making anyone else feel bad about it. I mean, we have a rule that there will be no phone calls during dinner time. That's our family time, and most often, if the phone rings, it's a telemarketer anyway. SO, we keep the answering machine on, and we let it ring 'til the machine picks it up. We enforce our rules without offending anyone. DH has a nephew who, like Sherri's DD's friend, will call and call and call regardless of who answers or doesn't answer the phone. (He's in his early 20's, in and out of jail, and a problem all around.) DH is the only one that talks to him in our house ... so if we get collect calls and DH isn't home, we don't accept the charges ... if he continues to call to the point of harrassment, we just let the answering machine pick up. I'll screen my calls if I don't feel like talking to someone. Because the truth is, sometimes the phone itself, by its very ring, is a disruption in our lives ... but it's also a 'part' of life ... so the best way I think to deal with it is to find ways to live with and around it. When we first had Internet access, we had one line ... and many people weren't getting through (as the machine didn't pick up when we were on the computer, it just rang and rang on the other end, and we heard nothing.) Well, I was missing calls, and DH was missing calls ... so we found a solution that allowed me to still have my computer time without it interfering in other areas. Heck, there are 4 members in our family, and each has needs that should be considered. So, now the computer and telephone don't conflict with each other.

My inlaws are the same as yours. They don't understand call waiting no matter how much we explain it. But, they're elderly, not rude. I guess I feel that in most areas of life, there has to be some room for compromise and understanding.

Nancy

Nancy 

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Registered: 05-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 8:31pm
It sounds like you know exactly what you are doing and what you want to happen. I am not one to change my house around for my child's friends. Don't get me wrong. I will bend over backwards to give my child opportunities and I would lay down my life for my child, but neither of those includes letting her or her friends walk on me. I also have a daughter who is smart and stands up for herself. I am guilty too.

I get so mad hearing stories about children who run the household. I'm glad I am not the only who feels this way.

Samantha

Avatar for cl_janetlh
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Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 10:10am
Fortunately, We haven't run into this too much yet. There was one boy who called a couple of times after 9PM on school nights, and we wondered what he was doing up, much less on the phone, but we haven't had a continual problem as you've described.

I understand your frustration at your dd's friends not remembering her rules, but I'm not sure you can expect that from all kids, if their house rules are so different. We've explained call-waiting to both sets of our parents numerous times, and they still keep calling back, until we take the call. They still say in baffled voice "we were worried because your answering machine didn't pick up". We've patiently explained that if the phone keeps ringing, we're on the line but can't take the interruption at that moment, but they just don't get it! These kids just don't get it either.

I don't think you should change your rules. I think they're very reasonable. Our children must let us know when they are calling a friend. We've taught them phone manners. They know to leave a clear message, and not to keep calling back. However, like on many other issues, we can't rely on other parents to do the same.

I don't have any really suggestions for you, just support. I feel your pain! I hate the phone sometimes. You can keep reminding the friend you like of your rules, you can speak to her parents. As for the friend you don't like, if she never is allowed to speak to Brooke on the phone at any time, I think she will lose interest and stop calling.

Janet

Janet


Jewish Family Life

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Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 7:28am
I don't think you are uptight at all. I think good Moms are hard to come by in this day and age and I appreciate when another Mom tries to keep things straight and I am teaching my kids to abide by other people's rules for their kids. If my dd calls a friend and they are busy, she is NOT allowed to call back. She is to leave a message saying "Would you please tell her that Brooke called and to call me back if she gets time later?" If the friend calls back, fine. If they don't then it wasn't important anyway.

I hate this society that we live in where kids rule the household. I will NEVER be a parent who lives this new age "let the kids have their way, never tell them no, never raise your voice, don't make rules and God forbid NEVER punish them!" way of parenting.

Yes I know the parents. I also know it wouldn't do any good to tell the one's parents. I mean if they willingly cheat for her, what do they care if she is calling people every day bugging them? Her father was always in trouble in school, has been in trouble with the law more than once, etc. And the girl is so mean and hateful that if I go to her parents she will make dd miserable. I have decided that from now on I will ask who is on the phone immediately and if it's her, I will tell her dd is busy. Maybe after a while she will take the hint. Actually, come to think of it, she hasn't called in a few days now so maybe she has moved on to someone else. (she and dd had a little fuss because the girl was teasing a girl that dd really likes and dd told her to stop. Oh the HORROR, a child who actually knows right from wrong and stands up for it, where did I go wrong LOL!)

The other girl is a really sweet kid and I am hoping since there won't be any homework this summer, she won't call so much. I don't want dd to lose this friendship because the kid is just a sweetie. But something is going to have to change before they drive me nuts. If I tell her Mom I know she will put a stop to it, but I feel like the kids should have some responsibility in this you know? They are 11 years old and should be able to remember that Brooke can't have calls after 7pm and if they get that message to NOT call back every 3 seconds for an hour. My dd can remember rules and things, and I think other kids should to. Another one of my old fashioned, out dated ideas I guess.

Sherri

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 7:14am
Now see, that's my problem. I will NOT loosen up my rules, get new computer service, etc. to accomadate her friends! I have rules for a reason and I think her friends should abide by them. I don't think it's my place to have to change my household for them.

Dd has told them to not call after 7pm, she has told them to not call back when I am on the computer, etc. I have heard her tell them. Dh and I have told them over and over. Frankly I don't think it's too much to expect them to remember that Brooke can't have calls after 7pm. We aren't talking about babies here. Her best friend calls here nearly every single evening to ask what homework they have to do. If MY dd can listen and know what to do, why can't this child? The other kid calls wanting dd to give her the answers to the homework. I don't think it's Brooke's place to do their homework or pay attention for them in class. Guess I am just a mean mom LOL.

I dread this summer. I doubt that I ever turn on the caller ID thing on the computer this summer. That way I can work without being disturbed every 3 seconds. Oh and I can't change the message, it's an automatic message that the program gives. Much easier to just not turn it on!

Sherri

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 1:01am
Ok, don't get mad at me because I don't put up with a lot of stuff like that. I figure the kids can get enough of each other at school, they don't need to sit on the phone all night. I am just the type of mother who would use Call Blocker. This little girl with the cheating and meaness bone would get a message saying that we were not taking calls right now and the phone would never even ring at my house.

I listened in on a conversation with my daughter and another girl one time. A young lady who gives you that "creepy" vibe. The first thing out of her mouth to my DD is, "is your mom where she can hear you?" So, I listened in last time and the young lady says to DD, "have you ever made any crank calls?" I think letting her use her idle time to sit around and listen to each other breathe is not worth the trouble. We are talking about 10 year olds in my house. I put my foot down on the whole phone thing right away and have yet to have too many problems.

Of the friends who call, do you know any of their parents? I am friends, or atleast friendly with all of my dd's friend's parents, but I guess that is part of small town living. It may be time to get with the kid's parents and maybe they can help slow down your call volume.

Samantha (the uptight Mom)

Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 9:15pm
Gee, that's sort of a tough one. It sounds to me that your rules are more rigid than those of Brooke's friends. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but if your rule is 'no phone use after 7:00' but her friends are able to use the phone until 8:00 or 9:00, then for many, it's simply a matter of not knowing (or remembering) the rules when placing a call. And, kids this age sometimes have a hard time remembering all the rules in their own homes, they can't possibly be expected to know all the rules in someone elses, especially if it differs so dramatically with their own. Since you do have caller ID, and since the answering machine gives a message when you're on the computer (I think that's the case anyway) perhaps you can change the recording to say something like "If you're getting this message, it means I'm on the computer. We have your number / or leave a message, and we will get back to you another time. If this call is for Brooke, be assured she'll get your message and call you back tomorrow, if she doesn't talk to you at school first." 10-11 y.o. girls are really 'discovering' the phone, and it's hard to limit that, especially if you have a DD that's pretty popular. That's not to say there shouldn't be rules ... it's great that there are rules and limits ... but, it probably is up to Brooke to educate her friends as to when they can and cannot call.

Now, if you don't want her on the phone because that's your computer time, perhaps there is a way to compromise. I know that before we got DSL, we had one phone line for the house and the computer, and when I was on the computer, the phone would just ring and ring (but we'd never hear it.) Now that we have DSL line, use of the computer doesn't interfere with use of the phone, so the rest of the family still has access to the phone when I (or anyone else) is using the computer. It works out a lot better for us because use of the computer isn't interfering with communications for the rest of the family.

BUT, the friend in question needs to be educated ... if she is a friend of Brooke's, then Brooke needs to make it clear when she can and cannot call. If that doesn't work, then you'll probably have to have a chat with the mother (not that she will necessarily 'get it' either, based on what you said.) If all else fails, perhaps you need to get one of those caller block things and let this girl know that if she calls again (when it's not appropriate) then you'll have her number blocked and she'll never be able to call again. A bit harsh, but better than risking your sanity. LOL

Stay strong. It sounds like you have a great kid who understands and respects your rules. That is more important than all of her friends 'getting it.'

Nancy

Nancy 

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