My son has a secret second phone that he uses at night



I’ve discovered that my 13-year-old son has a second phone that he was using late into the night, watching YouTube and snap chatting his friends (we take his normal phone at 10pm each night). I can’t believe he was so deceitful. We’ve taken this other phone now, but I’m not sure how to punish him.

I can imagine that you feel very hurt by your son breaking your trust, by getting this other phone and breaking the phone curfew that you had imposed. Perhaps your upset about his behaviour may be motivating thoughts of punishment.

Punishment may not change his future behaviour. In fact, it may only lead to resentment on his part, increasing tension rather than leading to positive change. I do think there need to be consequences, like the loss of his extra phone, and perhaps even a period of time without his usual phone. Ultimately, however, to rebuild the trust that may have been lost, he does need access to his phone, so that he can show you that he can be more responsible in using it.

I think it may be better to have an open conversation about the cost of his previous behaviour (in terms of loss of trust) which then focuses, calmly, on the issue of responsibility and your desire to give him increasing freedom, if he demonstrates that he can use it wisely. You can reiterate too, your values about the benefit of good sleep etiquette and the other dangers of using a phone late at night.