Mom Asks For Advice After Her Teen Daughter Calls The Cops On Her For Taking Her Phone Away

She's tried everything, including therapy, but there's just no controlling her.

teen calling the cops on her mom fizkes / Shutterstock

We all often joke that young people are addicted to their phones, but some of them seem to genuinely be … well, literally addicted to their phones, especially when it comes to how they act when they're taken away.

For one mom on Reddit, her daughter's response to this punishment rose to a level that left her at a loss and wondering what to do next.

The teen called the cops on her mom for taking her phone away as punishment for not doing her chores.

We've all heard the myriad stories about how digital devices can harm kids' and teens' mental health — not to mention grown adults'.


But many scientists have begun sounding alarms that the problem is far more damaging than we realize, with one University of Southern California sociologist likening addiction to cellphones and social media to cigarettes or even cocaine — and calling for it to be regulated accordingly.

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There's no way to know if that's the problem at hand with this woman and her teen daughter, but this 15-year-old girl's behavior would certainly suggest it.

"I asked my daughter to clean her room and do some other chores in the house around 9 a.m.," the mom wrote in her since-deleted Reddit post. "At 4 p.m. she still had not done them. So I then went in her room and took her laptop, and told her to give me her phone. She told me no." And wow, did things escalate from there.

After the mom physically wrested the phone from her, the teen called the police to accuse her mom of abuse.

"I had to chase her around the kitchen table and eventually was able to pry the phone from her hands," the mom wrote of the conflict with her daughter, adding that she never grabbed her daughter, "just the phone."

Nevertheless, her daughter left with her 18-year-old sister to go to a nearby gas station, according to the older sister's Life 360 indicator.


"I get a phone call 30 minutes later from the cops," the mom wrote. "She called the cops on me for taking her phone and told them I was emotionally abusing her."

The cops were having none of it, but that didn't end the conflict. After another altercation over the girl using her older sister's phone, the mom had to kick her bedroom door in to get the phone away from her, but she jumped out a window and went back to the gas station to call the police again.

This time, she told the cops she wanted to file a complaint with social services. Thankfully, the cops were again unwilling to entertain the girl's demands. "They said taking her phone was not abuse; it was parenting," the mom wrote.


But her daughter insists she's "crazy" and a "bad mother," and the mom wondered, "Where did I go wrong, and what do I do next?"

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Cellphone use has been shown to be fueling aggression in teens, and many Redditors felt it was time for tough love.

It's completely normal for teens to be angry, of course. Their hormones are raging; they're being stifled and hemmed in by rules at home and at school — and that's before we even mention the fact that the world is falling down around them.

But it seems pretty clear this teen is on a whole other level, and she's not alone. A 2023 study found that more than 50% of teens studied were not just angry but showed signs of aggression.

@the.teen.translator Forget nagging about screen time! Teens and their phones are connected - it's their social hub, entertainment center, and access to what’s going on in the world. While excessive phone use can be a concern, focusing solely on limitations might cause more conflict than control. Here are some additional tips:🌟 Avoid judging their reasons or dismissing their digital world. If we don’t acknowledge how important it is to them, they won’t acknowledge our concerns. 🌟 Once Phone ON time is agreed upon, refrain from taking it away as a consequence. This shows that you honor your promises to them and respect their basic need of belonging. 🌟 Involve them in choosing alternatives that pique their interest and foster connection. Remember, replacing screen time with meaningful activities is key The goal is to foster a positive relationship and equip your teen with the skills to manage technology responsibly in the long run. 📌 Save for later! 👫 Share with a friend navigating the teen years. ✨ Follow for more practical parenting tips! #ParentingTeens #ParentingAdvice #ParentingHacks #DrCam #TheTeenTranslator #TechWiseParenting #TeenScreenTime #DigitalParenting #ParentingStrategies #TeenTechTalk ♬ original sound - Dr. Cam | Teen Psychologist

A study at Canada's Western University pins the blame squarely on cellphone and social media use, with lead researcher Emma Duerden likening the adverse reaction to taking a teen's phone away to being "hangry" because of the similar ways serotonin and dopamine are affected in both cases.

Understanding the problem is one thing, of course. Knowing what to do about it is quite another. The mom has already tried therapy, but her daughter has refused to engage with the process. So Redditors felt like it was definitely time for some tough love.

"Don’t bother trying to wrestle the phone from her. Be smarter than her," one Redditor wrote, suggesting things like Wi-Fi and signal blockers that will allow the mom to "'take her phone' without actually taking it."


Others suggested turning the girl's phone service off entirely. "Shut off service to the phone altogether for a while," one parent wrote. "There would have to be a plan of restoring trust."

People urged her to take a similarly tough approach to the older daughter, who keeps helping the girl call the cops, and to take measures to protect herself, like cameras, so she can prove she isn't abusing her daughter now that social services have been involved.

"She’s going to hate you right now," one mom wrote. That’s fine. It’s time to do the hard parenting." 


Hopefully, this makes a difference because the pull of the phone is proving to be far more than most of us can handle.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.