Does taking away your teens cellphone really work as punishment?

My daughter’simages.jpg1 friend Tina recently got her phone taken away for lying to her mom and dad. When I asked her why, she said that she was driving a golf cart and accidentally hit her brother’s  foot. Well, her brother, Ryan, started crying and their mom freaked and wanted to know what happened. Tina,  for fear of getting in trouble, lied and said he ran into the cart.  Her brother said that was not not true, Tina ran into him.  Her mom asked a neighbor who happened to have seen the incident and she supported what Ryan stated. Well, Tina’s mom was not only disappointed in Tina for lying, but extremely upset because  she could have seriously hurt her brother.

Tina’s phone was taken from her as punishment and she does not know when she will be getting it back. Now, I understand what Tina did was wrong, but I don’t think the punishment fits the crime. I know every parent disciplines differently, but I would have at least told Tina her exact punishment — a day or two  without the phone —  or I would of had her do the laundry for  a week.

I told Tina she needs to apologize to her brother for hurting him and apologize to her parents for lying and hurting her brother, even if it was an accident. Accidents happen, but lying  will only hurt you in the end.


I have to wonder what punishment would Tina have gotten if she snuck out of her room and went drinking with friends at midnight. Would she  have the phone taken away for a month? It’s unrealistic and I don’t think would work.  If you keep taking the phone away as a punishment for everything your teen does, do you think it’s really going to continue working? For some teens, the first or second time their cellphone is  taken away  becomes their last. They realize it is too painful to be without it.  Yet, some other teens become immune to losing their cell phones. Or, parents give in and give the phone back.

So, I pose this question: Does taking away a teen’s cell phone really work as punishment?



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  1. Beth February 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Punishments must fit the crime. If she was on the phone while driving the golf cart … then taking the phone away gives a solid message.

    Taking a phone is a powerful discipline tool, no doubt. So take it because a child is on it instead of studying, using it at inappropriate times (at meals, when others are in their presence), using when driving, etc. — not for an accident. I agree.

    1. Natalie April 16, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Totally agree with Beth, and the post! Let’s not forget what it’s like when you’re upset and divvying out the punishment, often times your mad/upset and not thinking clearly. This could result in poor judgment as punishment, speaking from experience. (It’s not like we can go back on punishment as a parent!) So perhaps that’s what happened in Tina’s moms case. However, you can NEVER leave a punishment open-ended….you’ll be the sorry one there! Hahaha

  2. Spela February 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I believe it works as punishment sometimes. You have to explain rules and show your kids they have to respect you and the rules.

  3. shania December 11, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    I dont believe it works . I have my own life i dont check phones or take phones .It doesn’t help if you really look at it , it just bores them for a while .don’t help..NONe


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