What’s the best way to establish rules about phone use with my son? I can threaten to take away his phone when he misbehaves but that makes my life even harder.

We recommend the following steps:

1. Start by explaining your concerns both big and small: from not putting the phone away during dinner to sending inappropriate photos. Whether you are about to give him a phone or the phone has been in his possession for a while, he is more likely to buy into rules if he can understand your reasoning and even help establish the rules.

2. Establish fair rules and consistent punishments (such as removal periods) to lessen any badgering on his part to get the phone back.

3. Create a backup plan. If the phone is indeed confiscated, plan for your son to have an alternate means of contacting you.

4. Check back in regularly. Ongoing conversations about responsible phone use will limit the likelihood that you will need to take it away in the first place.

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