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Teens and electronics...what would you do? (long post-UPDATE IN REPLIES)

Posted by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM
  • 15 Replies

A little back story...my SD moved in with us in June 2011. She begged DH to let her move in with us b/c she had been sneaking out, had sex (at the age of 13), and said she was so scared and needed to start over. So, she moved in with us. It was very difficult, but I thought we were doing good for a blended family. I have two children with DH, they are 3 and almost 1. Things were rough in the beginning b/c SD was not used to structure. She never went to school when she lived with her mom (48 absents in one semester). She almost failed the 7th grade b/c she didn't have enough attendance hours to pass. .

Things were pretty tough in the beginning. She admitted she had been sexting and having face time conversations with a 16 y/o boyfriend. Her mom has been gone from the house for 3 1/2 months with her BF, who was a truck driver. While mom was gone, SD would sneak out with the 16 y/o boyfriend. They partied and has sex. She said she wanted a new beginning.

Fast forward to a week ago. SD went to visit her mother over the weekend (she lives 4 hours away). I had asked her to leave all of her passwords for FB, her ipod, and her email where we could find it in case we ever needed it. I wanted to check up on her more but DH wouldn't allow it. So I  needed to send her some emails and they wouldn't go through. So when she got back last Sunday, I asked her for her passwords and correct email. She never gave them to me. So, this past Sunday night, I asked her about it. She acted clueless as to what her account info was. I asked how she IMd her friends, and she said she didn't know what I was talking about. I asked for her ipod, and she started deleting stuff off so I told her to put it down and I got it. 

Then she started crying, saying she had bad problems. I got DH and we talked to her. She said she felt like she had to lie to fit in with her friends at high school. I didn't think much of it but kept the electronics. A few minutes later the ipod starts to vibrate. It's a boy. I looks at the conversation and i COULD NOT BELIEVE what these kids were saying to each other. Then, I intercepted a phone call from another boy who was coming to pick her up in an hour b/c they planned on SNEAKING OUT!!!! I was furious...and finally DH was too. 

We talked about it. Took away electronics. She's grounded. Then tonight she tells DH she wants to move back in with her mom. I am so hurt! I just don't even know what to do or say. I've been a basket case the past two days. After the past visit to her mom, she said she wouldn't ever go back, now she wants to live with her?!?!?! Her mom has seen her 3 times since she moved. They fight all the time b/c her mom calls her a slut and a whore....I just don't even know how to save this girl from herself....

PLEASE HELP! Do all of you check in on your teens' electronic useage??? What do we do? We just tried to talk about how men with respect talk to women and how women with respect for themselves allow a man to talk to them...and the grounding. Now she just wants to leave, and her mom is all for it. All the while, I am trying to manage my younger children. Anyone else dealt with this??? No bashing please...just some advice/help/stories






by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM
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Replies (1-10):
bizzeemom2717
by on Jan. 29, 2013 at 11:02 PM
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She needs help and you guys need help with setting the boundaries and just what and how those boundaries should be set. Dad needs to first put his foot down, no moving in with Mom, it's unsafe...end of story. Then she admitted she has problems all electronics GONE until she's mature enough and stable enough to use them in a safe age appropriate manner. How can you accomplish this I would HIGHLY encourage you as a family to go to family counseling. If she refuses, fine you and DH go to get guidence on how to enforce boundaries. Until she goes, zero, none, no electronic priv like phone, computer ect. She sounds like a very troubled girl in desperate need of help. She's a troubled child who has no clue / idea what's best for her. As parents esp your dh needs to step up to the plate, say no, set rules and boundaries and get some outside help for you two to know just how to go about it. Good luck!
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luckysevenwow
by Platinum Member on Jan. 29, 2013 at 11:04 PM

No, I never checked unless I felt there was a reason and that only happened two times. 

Just cause she wants to go back to mom's doesn;t mean you have to let her. she wants to go back because she was caught and embarrassed and instead of facing up to the reality of what she did she wants to run. Unless you want to send the message that running is okay, she stays put and she stay's where's she's at.

Landynmama
by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM
Very hard situation. First thing first she needs to go to the doctor and get on medication fm for depression. That's what it sounds like. It sounds like her parents divorced, her dad got a new family, and her mom wants to live her own life. That can be very hard to deal with.. I was adopted and went through the same thing! It was hard but I went and seen a councilor and they put me on the right medication and everything was good! I was 17 at the time
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fantasticfour
by Grumpy on Jan. 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM
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I know all the passwords to the electronics or they are not allowed to have it if they live in my house.  I don't care the age.

As for her wanting to move, I would simply tell her no, she doesn't call the shots around here.  Your husband is her parent and he needs to be the parent not let the kid make the rules.

boys2men2soon
by Kimberly on Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Yes, you should have all passwords and complete control over her electronics.....especially considering her past experiences and her manipulations.    She is playing you, and you need to stay one step ahead of her.    Going back to her Mom's should not even be a consideration.   It is obvious she is verbally abused and neglected with her Mom.... that is not a viable option.    What she needs is security...as in you and Dad do not love her less because of the mistakes she makes.   She is not a bad person, just making bad choices.  Reassure her of this, constantly.   She needs to know she is valued.     She needs boundaries and supervision.   She is too young to be left to her own devices.   She needs guidance to make better choices for herself.   She needs higher self esteem before she is allowed to date.      She needs to have chores and responsibilities.     Family counseling is a great idea.




02nana07
by Ida on Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:00 PM

 I would take the electronics and she would not be going back to her mother if I could help it she needs help don't give up on her.

MamaSnaps
by on Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:38 PM
1 mom liked this

First-don't be hurt that she wants to move back. She had every freedom in the world and who wouldn't want it easy? If you could have a maid come in and do everything for you while you laid around all day playing at whatever you wanted, someone else would do the discipline, dishes and all that crappy part of life wouldn't you do want it too? It's not personal, I promise!
She's simply playing one parent off on the other-that part is normal behavior for any teenager. "fine, if you won't give me what I want, mom will..." and vice-a-versa.

The sexting and promiscuous behavior is also kind of normal-as in a child who has never had anyone to help them build the boundaries, self-esteem and self-respect will act on those teenage hormones. She didn't have that foundation before with her mom and un-doing that is not something you can accomplish over a little bit of time. Hell, you probably can't accomplish it over a LOT of time.

I am going to say something that probably won't make dad happy, but he's been to much of a pushover. Had my kid been in the position that she was in at her mothers I'd have been in court for custody and CPS would have been involved as well as the police when the mom left town on the road with her bf leaving the child home alone for more than several hours. At 13 they are just at the age that they can be left without child care for extended periods in ONE day, let alone over night. OH HELL NO. And on to her living with you-he's still been to lenient. I do understand that some of this happens because he's afraid of alienating her and having her pull exactly what she's pulling and the other little tricks that run along the temper tantrum gamut. Not monitoring her on-line presence is not only irresponsible, but it's downright dangerous. Think about that commercial with the girl who has the date with the French Model she met on the internet... That's the benign part of it. You have got to know that there are predators out there just looking for a girl like your SD. Yes, those things TRULY do happen and as the parent he's responsible to be protecting her from them as well as from her own stupid behavior. At 13 kids don't have what it takes to make intelligent decisions like these and they have parents to protect them. It's his job to monitor her to keep her safe from the bad guys of the world. If he thinks I am all doom and gloom here try talking with the local sheriff's department's cyber crimes officer. It will truly terrify you. Please, please, please protect her.

So, what to do.... Well, obviously I am going to say there is no way in hell she'd be going back to her mother's house. It's not a fit or safe environment for a child. However, what to do is still the big question here. I am pretty sure everyone is going to mention she needs counseling as well as do you and dad. Not that your relationship is bad, but that you need new techniques for dealing with this situation. The school may have resources to point you to, so will your family doctor. THere is often options through the county as well. Reach out to everyone and anyone who can help you, your husband and your SD.


In closing let me return to that "please don't be hurt..." part. I had what I thought was a "step-mother from hell..." when I was a kid. She was really just an amazing mom that cared about what happened to me, my safety and future. ME? I was a HORRIBLE step-child. HORRIBLE
I am so lucky to have had her in my life. She was better to me than any step-mother I could possibly imagine and I am blessed. I didn't think so when I told her that I hated her guts many, many times back then, but... I did grow up and tell her one day that I am so grateful and admire her, etc.
So, someday she'll understand and be grateful, lucky... It just won't be any time soon! Many of the rewards of parenting don't happen until LONG after all of the work!


I also want to add that I have 13, 15 and 17 year olds at home and I monitor their electronics CONSTANTLY. Even the almost 18 year old HS Senior who is a genuinely good child. It's my job!

IndianaWynette
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM
1 mom liked this

 I Agree

Quoting boys2men2soon:

Yes, you should have all passwords and complete control over her electronics.....especially considering her past experiences and her manipulations.    She is playing you, and you need to stay one step ahead of her.    Going back to her Mom's should not even be a consideration.   It is obvious she is verbally abused and neglected with her Mom.... that is not a viable option.    What she needs is security...as in you and Dad do not love her less because of the mistakes she makes.   She is not a bad person, just making bad choices.  Reassure her of this, constantly.   She needs to know she is valued.     She needs boundaries and supervision.   She is too young to be left to her own devices.   She needs guidance to make better choices for herself.   She needs higher self esteem before she is allowed to date.      She needs to have chores and responsibilities.     Family counseling is a great idea.

 

fammatthews4
by Trisha on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Do not let her go back to her mother's. that would be a huge mistake. I say start with family counseling and maybe one on one counseling for SD. She needs to work on getting her self esteem back so she stops doing these wrong behaviors.
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momma1013
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM
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We have been in counseling. I'm a LCSW so that was my first step when she moved in. individual and family. We tried talkingto her every night, letting her know she needs support in learning how to work through her mistakes.
We took electronics.
BUT, her mom wants to come get her and she has joint custody so we're trying to take steps to stop it. Talking it out w/ her mom tomorrow. We know its a huge mistake...but if her mom won't back us then we are kind of SOL. Unless the court orders placement and that will take time. right now SD can choose where she wants to live and her mom apparently wants her back. it's such a mess!
Our little ones are holding in pretty good w/ all the tension, but DD (age 3) is asking a lot of questions. It breaks my heart to see our family falling apart.
As the step-mom, I don't have much say legally. I told SD and DH she needs to stay but SD is only concerned about herself. It's been an 8 year struggle during which I have been called too strict and pushing too hard, but I think DH and her mom let her get away with everything and she is acting like a little brat!
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