By Dr Ken Resnick, parenting specialist

My step-son has just reached adolescence and it was agreed that he was old enough to have a cell phone. He had saved enough money by doing his chores to enable him to purchase a bottom of the range Blackberry. The following conditions were agreed to and written down for reference:

  • The phone could only be used after five o’clock in the afternoon, provided all his homework was done.
  • The cell phone could only be charged and used in his bedroom and had to be handed in when it was time for bed.
  • If he chose to break any of these conditions it meant that he wanted us to confiscate his phone for the next day.

Helping Your Child Understand Bad Choices

A couple of weeks ago he took a chance and chose to sneak the phone into the playroom instead of using it in his room as agreed. When I spotted this, I told him that I simply couldn’t understand why he had made this choice, as all it meant was that he broke the agreed conditions and didn’t want his phone the next day.

I remained calm and let him know that I was just confused as to why he had made this choice.  The phone was then confiscated for the next day. That day, he went to visit his aunt sans his new phone. His aunt enquired where his phone was, he told her that he had made a bad choice and hence the reason for no phone. It was terrific to see how he realised that he hadn’t been punished but rather was taking the consequences for the bad choice that he had made.

Smart Choice Parenting

The Smart Choice Parenting programme is an evidence-based positive parenting programme which is very effective in helping parents to deal with a variety of childhood disorders including ADD, ADHD, encopresis (soiling), bedwetting, oppositional defiant disorders (ODD) and many other behaviour problems. It also deals with parenting children of divorce.

Marriage counselling is also offered online.

Online workshops are also available

Any school or organisation interested in a presentation for teachers and parents should contact me at

Contact Dr Ken Resnick to find out more about his parenting workshops and public speaking. Learn more about Smart Choice Parenting now.