I have 2 boys, 14 and 16 years old. I am divorced from their father. Their father and I have a civil relationship regarding the boys. We have always disagreed in the general rearing of the boys. He is much more permissive (smart phones, R rated movies, poor grades) than i feel I am. I attended 1 of Dr. Rosemond's parent seminars in Charlotte last August. One of the take away messages for me was that I need to do what I feel is right for the boys and if they are unhappy with my decisions, they may go live with their father. (the father has warned me that if I am too strict, they may elect to go live with him).
My first question is pertaining to the 14 year old son. He has an iPhone that he uses constantly. Prior to the iPhone he had an android which i was able to monitor with Norton family. I could tell that when he was at his dad's house that he would get on the phone in the middle of the night. I told his dad this and he said when he asked my son, he denied it (problem solved in the dad's eyes). Because of the late night usage I require the boys to keep their phones in my room at night. Both boys now have iPhones which do not allow any monitoring with Norton so I have no idea how much he uses it at his dad's house. I did recently see him on a live video on Instagram at 1 am using language he did not learn from me. I let him know I do not approve of this language and am disappointed. I pay 1/2 the cell phone bill for them. The father owns the phones and the data plan is in his name. I like that they have phones so I can call them when they are at their dad's house. When I have punished them by taking away their phones (sometimes up to a month for poor performance in school), I see that they were more interactive with each other and me and their stepfather. The boys split their time equally between the 2 homes. When they go to their dad's, he insists they have their phones back (if I have taken them). He does not support me when I take the phones. Can you help me with a plan for cell phone use/privelege?
Second concern is with the 16 year old. Lately he has made comments leaning toward racist. He has not heard this at my house and know he is being influenced by peers. Again, i have told him I don't approve and am disappointed. He said he did not want to be lectured. Is punishment appropriate here?
Both boys receive $100 each in a bank account that has a debit card. The 16 year old has purchased his own Netflix account and watches it streaming on his iPhone or on his TV that is in his room in his Dad's house (we have only 1 TV at our house). I have read Teen Proofing twice. Does checking cell phones, looking at Netflix viewing history, etc constitute micromanaging? I have Norton family on their computers and they only use the computers in the family room because I have strategically placed the modem so the wifi doesn't reach to their bedrooms. Am I micromanaging?
I did take Dr. Rosemond's advice about not micromanaging their schoolwork. Their performance was not great but at the very least, I had a stress-free school year because I did not ride them about homework, call teachers, etc. I did take their phones and TV for about 6 weeks but it did not seem effective since when they go to their dad's they get it right back. I did not take away team sports because, again, their dad allows them when they are with them and frankly, their dad would go ballistic if I held them out of sports and I just decided I did not want to make my life miserable. Do you have recommendations for this coming school year?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to ask questions.