A mom writes in asking for advice about her ex. She says her ex, the father of her 5-year-old daughter, was abusive and generally terrible to her. Since leaving him, she has tried to reconcile and create a good co-parenting relationship for the sake of their daughter, but it hasn’t been easy going. Recently, her ex bought their daughter an iPhone. This mom feels her daughter is too young for the device and does not like the way her ex seems to be manipulating their daughter and her emotions via the phone. What should she do?
A member of the community asks:
“My ex gave my 5-year-old an iPhone: Thoughts?
My ex gave my five-year-old daughter an iPhone. A little back story: We were married for seven years, and he was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. I stayed with him through things I shouldn’t have; towards the end, I caught him cheating on me with multiple girls, even found his account on a sugar daddy hookup site. I filed for divorce two years ago this august. I’ve tried really hard to have a good co-parenting relationship for the sake of our daughter and did try to reconcile but realized he’d never change.
I’ve never kept her from being able to call her dad. If she asked, I would FaceTime him and hand her my phone. Then one day, he decides to get her an iPhone. I told him I really didn’t think it was appropriate given her age. Of course, I caved and let her have it. At first, she never called him I didn’t force her to do anything she didn’t want to. So he would call her and act sad asking why doesn’t she call and he’s so sad and lonely.
But two weekends ago she came back VERY different. Constantly calling, saying she HAD to call her dad. She’s never done that. The past two weeks, he’s been texting her pictures of himself, them together, videos of himself. I feel he’s abusing power I gave him, and I want to tell him to keep the phone at his house as it is his property and they can talk through my phone. Advice please?!”
Community Advice for This Mom Whose Ex Bought Their 5-Year-Old Daughter an iPhone Against Her Wishes
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“Put the phone away when she’s at your house, you’re the boss in your home.”
“5 is too young for a phone. If he wants her to use the phone schedule a time that you give it to her to call him. After the call is over put the phone away. If she is carrying that phone he can also track its location.”
“Tough call. My kids didn’t get cell phones until they were in junior high school. 5 is far too young in my opinion. It definitely sounds like a control issue with him. First trying to manipulate her with being sad that she doesn’t call him and now forcing her to.”
“Him making her feel bad for not calling is very manipulative and like you said, abusing power. He is the parent and needs to call her. 100% not her responsibility. I would keep the phone unless it’s time for her to call him. Or he keeps it at his place. Make sure to let her know you are there to listen if she needs to talk to you about anything or her feelings. Best of luck Mama!”
“Take it from her unless she wants to talk to him or call him. It’s not the CHILD’S responsibility to call the absent parent. It’s the absent parent’s responsibility to contact the child. A 5-year-old does not need a phone.”
“Asking him to keep the phone at his house for when she’s there is the perfect fair solution I think. It sounds kinda weird in my opinion he’s making the phone all about himself with her??”
“The phone needs to remain at his house and not travel between households. At five years old she doesn’t need her own phone and it seems to be causing a disruption in her regular routine. He can maintain contact with her while in your care through your phone as he has done before.”
“5 is super young for those kinds of decision-making skills. I would say he had to use your phone. He may just be trying to track her. Or have it so you can’t monitor what is being said.”
“Tell him to keep the phone at his house. You can’t do anything about that when it’s his time with her, but if you have a problem with the phone, don’t let her have it at your house. Just try to explain it to her that you want her to play outside and to play with her toys and not on a phone all the time. That behavior is very weird, yes, but I honestly wouldn’t know how to go about it without making it seem like he threatened her (and it’s very possible he did if he abused you).”
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