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Daughter should take responsibility for smashed smartphone

Dear Amy: My teenage daughter recently came to me saying that she needed a new smartphone. I took a look, and it was basically smashed. She said she was at her friend’s house when this happened.

I called the friend’s mom and she told me that both girls had deliberately broken their phones in order to get new ones (this was before Christmas, so I guess they were hoping to find a shiny new phone in their stockings).

I asked my daughter what had happened and she said, “It just fell onto the driveway.” She didn’t seem too concerned about it. I asked her if she had done this on purpose and she said no.

My wife and I can’t quite decide what to do now. She is in favor of getting her a new phone, but I don’t want to reward this behavior.

– Broke Dad

Dear Dad: Unless you have purchased insurance, replacing this broken phone could be a very expensive proposition (insurance is also expensive, and there is a deductible to replace a broken or lost phone).

I do believe that it is something of a safety issue for a teenager to have a phone these days, and because of that, she should have one.

However, until you/she are eligible for a free upgrade for the latest model, you can offer to purchase a much less expensive flip phone for her to use until she can afford the phone she wants. (Flip phones are cool! They’re vintage! They’re so very ‘90s!)

I think it’s important that your daughter should ultimately pay for the replacement – or negotiate a partial payment with you and her mom. Experiencing the consequences of this incident should inspire her to be much more careful.

Dear Amy: “Patricia” and I have known each other for several years. We have always referred to one another as “best friends.”

A while back, I found out that she did something horrible to a family member of mine, and I was furious.

I didn’t speak to her for several months and started to make plans to confront her about what she had done.

Before I was able to confront her, she found out that her boyfriend flirted with me.

Yes, he did flirt with me, but I just ignored him and didn’t say anything to her about it.

Now Patty blames me for all the emotional turmoil she is going through.

This is absurd! I am so sick of her throwing shade at me! Should I confront her about it?

– Over It

Dear Over It: I’m going to go out on a limb and declare that you and “Patty” are not actually best friends, and perhaps never have been.

The reason I can say this is because intimate friends tell one another the truth – even when it is challenging or painful to do so.

You state that Patty did a horrible thing to a family member of yours, and yet you ghosted her for months instead of communicating about this incident.

On Patty’s side of things, she is blaming you for the fallout from something her boyfriend did. Again – casting blame without pursuing an explanation is not how friends behave and communicate with one another.

It seems obvious that at this point, your friendship is broken. Given that so much time has passed and that you have no stated desire to try to repair the relationship, dredging up these episodes might give you two yet another point of conflict.

I understand the desire to set the record straight when it comes to your own conduct and whatever untruths are told about you. If you decide to do this, remember that anything you say or write can be dredged up and used against you (or as a way to keep this conflict going) on social media. Therefore, you should make your decision understanding the possible ongoing negative consequences for you.

Dear Amy: I’m enjoying the letters about gender-specific toys, especially toy kitchens. I worked in a preschool, and once I asked a boy playing in the kitchen area about the things he’d piled up in the kitchen next to the little sink.

He said he was going to play video games – the telephone with its keypad was propping up the frying pan, which was his screen.

I asked about the banana perched on top and he said, “I’m charging it.”

There are lots of ways to play with a toy kitchen.

– Another Amy

Dear Amy: I’ll never eat an uncharged banana again.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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