Managing Telephone Time With Teens

Telephones and teenagers are a natural fit these days, so I am sure this issue applies to tens of millions of Americans with teenagers. I noticed that the time we had with our daughter was being eaten away by the invasive numerous telephone calls that come in at all times of the day and night, particularly at dinner time. 


In addition to the telemarketing calls that we always get, we would get these calls from her friends with, of course, urgent news that just had to be discussed. And then, on top of that you have call waiting, so there would be a dialogue with two people at the same time. In the meantime, we, her parents and our son, were looking at each other as if she wasn't there anymore. 


So, we tried something that has worked out pretty well. We simply took the phone off the hook at dinnertime. Sometimes, for 30 minutes, sometimes for an hour, depending on how the evening was going. We didn't do it as a punishment at all. We explained this to her at the very beginning. We did it for the purpose of just allowing us to spend time together as a family. And at first there was some grumbling, but just a few days later, it was okay. And the effect of this was that the four of us actually stayed at the dinner table longer together.