Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Teenager Gets Grounded for Sky High Phone Bill

DEAR ABBY: My 13-year-old daughter, "Karen," met a boy on the Internet. I guess she felt she needed to talk to him because she called him on the telephone. Unfortunately, he lives in Spain, and she ran up an $1,100 phone bill. Karen had no idea it cost that much to call him, and of course she didn't ask for my permission.

I grounded Karen until she works off the debt, which will probably take six months. I also took away her phone and Internet privileges and made her quit the school volleyball team.

Karen has ADHD, so we've had some problems with her in the past. I don't want to overreact and make her rebel or run away like I did when I was her age. What I do want is to teach her responsibility. What do you think? -- UNHAPPY MOM IN OHIO

DEAR UNHAPPY: I don't blame you for being angry, but you have gone a little overboard. It's time to reconsider the multiple punishments you've levied on your daughter. You say you don't want to overreact or make her rebel. Yet you have cut off her contact with the outside world -- no phone, no Internet, no sports. I agree she should pay at least part of the phone bill, but as she does, you should gradually reinstate her privileges.