Not sure how to deal with this. My 14-year-old son ran up $200 in charges on his cell phone by downloading games, music, and videos. He knew that these cost money and that we would eventually get the bill and find out about it. When we showed him the bill he said "Sorry" and didn't at all seemed concerned. We grounded him, took the phone away, and put a block on the phone so that he can't do it again. It's only the second day of grounding and he's whining and complaining, refusing to do the chores we have set out for him, and in some cases has said he has done a chore that he obviously has not. I also caught him checking messages on the cell in two instances. He gives us the impression that he's not at all concerned that we must pay this $200 and that we're ruining his life by grounding him and taking the phone away.
This is not the first time something like this has happened. Last summer he ran up $200 in iTunes charges on his iPod. In that case, we sold the iPod to pay for the download charges. (He has since earned enough money and repurchased an iPod.) Then, about four months ago he ran up $250 in cell phone charges for text messaging. We gave him the benefit of the doubt on this one because he said that his friends told him that it didn't cost anything--they all have text messaging included on their plans--and nearly $200 came from incoming text messages and not ones he was sending. In this instance, we took the phone away from him until we could change our cell plan to include text messaging.
I just don't know what to do. Grounding him doesn't seem to be the right thing. And yet if he's not in the house then I want him to have his cell phone with him in case of an emergency or I need to get in touch with him. I'd like to make him do chores to pay off the bill, but once he gets the phone back he has no incentive to do those chores. (And he complains that weeding and washing the car are too difficult and refuses to do them. Yes, I know, we've spoiled him.)
What are reasonable consequences here? And how do you reach a kid who gives the impression that he just doesn't care about anything but his own instant gratification? (This kid who just brought me a milk shake that he made "just for me" and said he's sorry for the way he's acting but he can't help it. Sigh.)
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