My daughter is 12 years old and is obsessed with social media apps and chatting with friends online, whether on her phone or computer. She is currently banned from using Instagram and snapchat, due to a serious bullying incident that we though would be safe to stay away from.

At first she agreed, but I'm always finding her trying to re-open a new account or she will constantly whine about having these apps back.

We also try to show how we can trust her keeping her phone and computer in her room, but then later find she will sneak them on until late hours of the night.

We started a new routine where we take away all devises an hour before bed and get her to read a book before bed. We have yet to be successful and instead both my husband and I get really angry and begin to yell.

We have tried to talk to her and ask her to decide what appropriate punishment and still she does not follow it. I don't what to do at this stage or whether to go seek professional help. Our house is like a war zone at the moment and her school work is suffering. Any suggestions?

1 Answer 1


I experienced this same issue with my daughter when she was 12/13 years old. This is truly and age of rebellion for any child...male, female, present times and 20 years ago. So don't feel too bad about that part.

Here is what we did. We finally pulled everything. No threats, no negotiations. We had her shut down and cancel all accounts. She gets her phone and that has to be put away on the community charger by 10pm each night. If this does not happen. We enforce pre-set consequences.

Examples: If she doesn't meet the deadline for putting her phone up she gets grounded...and we are all grounded BTW because that's the only way to make grounding work. How long? This is dependent on how she reacts to being grounded.

Once she complied with this for a period of time we let her choose ONE social media outlet to use.

She is now 16 and has lost most of her interest in social media at all. She sleeps better, is much nicer to be around and isn't being pulled into all of that teen drama she used to be wrapped up in.

TIPS: YOU ARE THE PARENTS!!! She is a child and these things are PRIVILEGES, not rights. NEVER allow a child to engage you in a fight, yelling or threats. They know how and when to push your buttons. Don't let her engage you in a back and forth argument about any issue you have made a final decision on. Walk away. It's okay to tell her "this is the end of the conversation" and step away. Keep your sanity.

Use of any electronics in her room require and OPEN DOOR. She is only 12. She should not be doing anything on the internet that requires "privacy".

Allow her to participate in setting limits & consequences and keep them simple, to the point and realistic. This gives her a sense of control and then later it's easier to enforce what she herself agreed to (this is a good life lesson in setting personal boundaries as well). Write it down, post it on her wall and leave it at that. Never threaten or remind her. Simply implement as soon as there is a violation. NO NEGOTISTIONS!!! The worst thing you can do is make her feel harassed or wear her down with empty threats and back and forth.

Reward her and complement her when she responds well and follows through with consequences. Tell her when she handles things well emotionally. Point out the good things.

One key thing I've learned is that it's all in the TIMING...if she violates an agreed upon rule don't throw it out there right away. Wait for a calm, private time and place to deal with it. Sometimes my daughter simply finds her phone missing and now knows exactly why. She doesn't even ask, because she knows what she's done. They know what they're doing when they push you.

Finally: BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE. This takes time. The biggest issue I see is when parents give up too soon. It took almost 2 months to see a true change in her but it was worth every minute. She turned back into that nice, lovable girl we love so much. There are still issues, but they're much more manageable and we are all happier. CHILDREN FIND SECURITY IN CONSISTENCY...we all do.

I hope this helps a bit...because this is a life time battle. It doesn't end at 18, it just changes.

Good LUCK!

  • I agree with a lot that is in this answer, basically most of it. The parts about "You are the parents", and "breathe, breathe, breathe", and "children find security in consistency" are right on the money. I am amazed at how many times parents in this forum struggle with kids in such a way that it appears that they are not acting as the adults who are in charge. Children need and long for lovingly firm parents who listen, yet exercise their authority - patience and kindness, but firm, final authority as well. They need the stability of firm boundaries.
    – user16557
    Feb 22, 2016 at 18:07
  • 1
    By the way, in my home culture the rebellious teen-ager is an aberration, and not the norm. And while my kids have grown up mostly in the US (three girls - 10, 13, 19, and one boy, 17), they also have not gone the way of the rebellious teen. We need to do away with the conception that rebellion is natural in a teen. We can and should expect more from our kids. Kudos on you for expressing the loving firm authority that is so needed today.
    – user16557
    Feb 22, 2016 at 18:15
  • Thanks for the great advice. I feel a little better knowing others go through it too. I will definitely take the advice and start implementing these new boundaries with her. I'll let you know my progress. Thank you xxx
    – A. Eames
    Feb 22, 2016 at 23:28

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