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Moms with Teens Moms with Teens

Seeking advice about DD14

Posted by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 8:37 PM
  • 20 Replies

Hi everyone,

New to the group but not CM. Could use a little HELPFUL advice about a recent situation with my teen (14) daughter.

A little background on her... she's typically a good child!! Good grades, no trouble at school- at worst she sometimes back talks but accepts her punishment for it well, and is helpful around the house without complaint. She has had what she called a "boyfriend" for about six months. And, by this I mean they only see each other during school hours. All seemed pretty innocent so we didn't object- we didn't encourage, but didn't object.

When she turned 13 1/2 we allowed her a Facebook account and other privileges because she had proved herself responsible. I monitored ALL of these privileges (have passwords and DO check in on what she's doing) and there hasn't been a single issue in the last six months... until yesterday when I learned that she took multiple pictures of herself in her bra and underwear and showed them to a boy from school! Not even her "boyfriend," a different boy- not that it would really have made this less of an issue. Since she doesn't have her own phone she used her Nintendo DS to take the pictures then allowed the boy to take her DS home and look at them. He took pictures of himself shirtless and gave her back the DS so she could look at them. Quite a sneaky way to go about something like this! Now, we've had many conversations with her in the past about respecting herself, the birds and the bees, etc. She's usually very open to these types of discussions- asks questions, comes to us with things, etc. So I know she understands this type of behavior is not appropriate!

Since learning about the issue we grounded her and took away ALL of her privileges- she literally has to sit at the kitchen counter from the moment she gets home from school until bed time- no electronics whatsoever. Her birthday party was supposed to be this weekend- cancelled! She really isn't allowed to do anything except use the restroom, eat, complete her homework, and do chores. We have had several long talks with her about why her actions were inappropriate and unacceptable but I'm not sure what to do beyond this?? She seems like she understand and "gets" what we are saying, and she is apologetic about the situation. But because she was so sneaky about the whole thing I am left to wonder if she's just telling us what we want to hear. I know we can't ground her forever but we haven't yet told her how long she'll be grounded and she hasn't asked. I'm just not sure what to do next. What is an acceptable punishment for this type of behavior?? Anyone have experience with a similar situation? How did you handle it? Any helpful advice is appreciated.. I'm just at my wits end with the whole thing...





by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 8:37 PM
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Replies (1-10):
sabrtooth1
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 8:58 PM
3 moms liked this

The first thing I would do, is sit down with her and discuss the sexual abuse implications of this.  Tell her that pics in her underwear are just a SMALL step away from pics WITHOUT underwear, and that since she has shown such bad judgment, you cannot trust that she would not make that leap.  Tell her that behavior could damage her life AND her future.  Those kinds of pics end up going viral, near term,  triggering police investigations, and they could also resurface YEARS from now, affecting relationships, and even job opportunities. 

The next thing is to get her out of "herself".  Some time volunteering at a battered women's shelter could be very eye opening.  But at the very least, I'd consider a PADS, or a soup kitchen.  Someplace where she can see people who TRULY have great need, and in serving THEM, learn to not take what she has for granted.

MamaSnaps
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 9:11 PM
3 moms liked this

What did she say as to why she did this? 

You have really gone extreme in this grounding thing. Grounding, taking away her birthday, sit at the counter, no electronics, no TV or anything.. I've done the sit at the counter from the time you get home thing, but it wasn't until I was at the end of my tether and out of other options. If you use your most extreme punishment for the first infraction you are going to lose any power and find yourself with rebellion. You can't do much more to her but take her out of public school and eclude her from the world. This kind of punishment is for the most extreme infractions-not that the photos and all that aren't a pretty scary behavior, but you aren't at the drugs, destruction and truly abhorrent behavior. What if it gets worse? You have no more progressive punishments left to you. 
In other words does the punishment fit the crime? I think it's pretty harsh-which requires a little more explanation...


Yes, this is something that has really inflamed you for good reason!!! It's something small that can develop into some VERY dangerous behaviors that could go so far as to endanger her life.

BUT (you knew that was coming) also remember that at this age they are starting to deal with hormones from hell, sexual development of their bodies and at the same time they're trying to find their autonomy too. Plus they don't have the life experience or knowledge to fall back on. And they make DUMB judgement calls at that age-that's why they still have you to protect them.

When you spoke to her-did you SPEAK to her or did you lay down the law however you do it (firm or yelling or however...)? Did you TALK this out and if you did, what did she say about why she'd do this?  

I LOVE the idea of volunteer work at the battered women's shelter!!! 

bizzeemom2717
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:10 PM
1 mom liked this

 I agree with the pp's talk withy her about the possible implications of her pictures going viral, otherwise, good job. Hang in there!

jmartino3
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Thank you for the suggestions! We did discuss the fact that this type of thing can spread faster than she could imagine and cause future issues- both personal and professional. I don't really think she's thinking that far ahead just yet, but we are trying to help her get in that frame of mind. I LOVE the idea of volunteer work and have some connections with the local womens shelter. I will be calling first thing in the A.M. - Really, thank you for the idea!


Quoting sabrtooth1:

The first thing I would do, is sit down with her and discuss the sexual abuse implications of this.  Tell her that pics in her underwear are just a SMALL step away from pics WITHOUT underwear, and that since she has shown such bad judgment, you cannot trust that she would not make that leap.  Tell her that behavior could damage her life AND her future.  Those kinds of pics end up going viral, near term,  triggering police investigations, and they could also resurface YEARS from now, affecting relationships, and even job opportunities. 

The next thing is to get her out of "herself".  Some time volunteering at a battered women's shelter could be very eye opening.  But at the very least, I'd consider a PADS, or a soup kitchen.  Someplace where she can see people who TRULY have great need, and in serving THEM, learn to not take what she has for granted.



jmartino3
by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Thank you for the response! I agree with you, the punishment is harsh. This is our temporary solution to punishment as we figure out what the "ideal" punishment should be for this type of situation. We have an older son (17) but this is our first go at the whole teen girl thing. So far it has been like night and day with the two kids! I really don't want to drive her to seclusion or rebellion, that's why I'm here asking for advice :)

When asked why she decided to do this she said she was looking for someone (clearly another boy) to tell her she was pretty. As I understand it, another boy told her she was ugly and she felt she needed to prove she wasn't. Now I know I'm her mother and may be biased, but she is a very pretty girl- both inside and out. She has an amazing heart, is physically fit, and has a very pretty face. She is told very often how pretty she is from us and friends. I have to chalk this up to age appropriate insecurities with herself rather than a real issue with the way she "looks."

We really had several great conversations about the whole situation. Our parenting style doesn't really involve yelling but we were firm when talking about the potential implications of her actions. We felt this necessary so that should could grasp the severity of the situation. As usual she was open to the conversation and willing participated in the discussion. She even gave me her DS which contained the pictures without us having to ask. We also talked about what she can do next time she finds herself feeling down about herself. I'm just really praying the whole conversation sunk in.

I'm trying really hard through this whole thing to remember that she is a teen- with teen hormones and a lack of experience dealing with them and these types of feelings. Just hard sometimes...

I too LOVE the idea of volunteer work. Making the call in the morning! Thank you :)


Quoting MamaSnaps:

What did she say as to why she did this? 

You have really gone extreme in this grounding thing. Grounding, taking away her birthday, sit at the counter, no electronics, no TV or anything.. I've done the sit at the counter from the time you get home thing, but it wasn't until I was at the end of my tether and out of other options. If you use your most extreme punishment for the first infraction you are going to lose any power and find yourself with rebellion. You can't do much more to her but take her out of public school and eclude her from the world. This kind of punishment is for the most extreme infractions-not that the photos and all that aren't a pretty scary behavior, but you aren't at the drugs, destruction and truly abhorrent behavior. What if it gets worse? You have no more progressive punishments left to you. 
In other words does the punishment fit the crime? I think it's pretty harsh-which requires a little more explanation...


Yes, this is something that has really inflamed you for good reason!!! It's something small that can develop into some VERY dangerous behaviors that could go so far as to endanger her life.

BUT (you knew that was coming) also remember that at this age they are starting to deal with hormones from hell, sexual development of their bodies and at the same time they're trying to find their autonomy too. Plus they don't have the life experience or knowledge to fall back on. And they make DUMB judgement calls at that age-that's why they still have you to protect them.

When you spoke to her-did you SPEAK to her or did you lay down the law however you do it (firm or yelling or however...)? Did you TALK this out and if you did, what did she say about why she'd do this?  

I LOVE the idea of volunteer work at the battered women's shelter!!! 



sabrtooth1
by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 12:44 AM
2 moms liked this

Another idea to consider.   Jr Hi is a VERY difficult time for all kids, but especially girls.  Many girls are teased unmercifully, and some turn to sex, to try and be accepted.  We discouraged boyfriends, and encouraged our daughters to continually try new activities.  It was very helpful for their self confidence, and self esteem, when they found things they were GOOD at.  It also helped to keep them VERY busy, with practice, meets, chores, schoolwork, church and volunteerism.

You might also look up the book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" for insight into helping your dd "survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and technology's impact on Girl World."

november0229
by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 8:46 AM
1 mom liked this
Who Is the author?? Sounds like a great book


Quoting sabrtooth1:

Another idea to consider.   Jr Hi is a VERY difficult time for all kids, but especially girls.  Many girls are teased unmercifully, and some turn to sex, to try and be accepted.  We discouraged boyfriends, and encouraged our daughters to continually try new activities.  It was very helpful for their self confidence, and self esteem, when they found things they were GOOD at.  It also helped to keep them VERY busy, with practice, meets, chores, schoolwork, church and volunteerism.

You might also look up the book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" for insight into helping your dd "survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and technology's impact on Girl World."


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angelique4
by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 8:50 AM
3 moms liked this

This is a really hard situation. I can tell you from personal experience that despite what you do she may just elevate this. My daughter did about the same thing at her age. I was devastated as you are. I can tell you, looking back, I WISH I'd taken such stern actions with my daughter the first time it happened... I did the "let's talk it out" (that's the type of parent I am... used it as a learning experience), kept her "busy" so she didn't have time to do things, strictly monitored who she hung out with... the problem is (in my case) my daughter got the satisfaction from the attention that she was seeking the first time so she just found new and inventive ways to continue. She learned pretty quick to erase her computer history or use things like her DS and Kindle to have secondary accounts on things like facebook and tumblr. I had passwords and monitored too so thought she was good. My daughter did eventually send a nude photo (when she was 15) and that photo was passed around the school. It broke my heart. I wish I had been extreme the first time so she realized how dire the consequences of those type of actions were... I wish I hadn't done what was considered the proper way to parent by talking it out and trying to boost her self-esteem.

By the way, my daughter is a straight A student, did competitive cheer, riding and various other lessons and groups, participated in FFA, school government and has plans to go to college to be a Vet... but it didn't stop her from succumbing to peer pressure or making poor decisions. A lot of them.

BUT my daughter is not your daughter and every child is different... I just wanted to let you know... I was there and it is a tough situation. Punish and risk alienation or go the soft route and risk further behavior. I do agree that you should talk this through with your daughter... ask her why she did it, have a moment in which you are supportive and loving... BUT don't trust her until she EARNS that trust. Keep having "harsh" consequences for extreme behavior. And yes, I disagree that this is not an extreme infraction because the only next step is FULL nudiity... do you want to wait until then to punish that behavior? Trust me. You don't. I wish I hadn't.

And finally... the thing I wish I'd done most was spend one-on-one time with my daughter. I mean I did... she told me everything (or so I thought), still cuddle with me at 15, cried in my arms when she was hurt, talked to me about boys and how she was feeling about sex... but in hindsight... I didn't really spend the time I needed to with her... I didn't go do things with her (alone I mean) that she liked... that she would do with friends... movies, concerts (which could have been followed by dinners just the two of us without her three siblings). I think that would have helped because I could have shown her that I'm not just her mom but I could be her friend too.

MansfieldMama
by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM
1 mom liked this

I read a great book called This Beautiful Life.  It's about how these things can get out of hand very quickly.  It's really more about the boy's perspective and how his life is ruined when a girl sends him an inappropriate video, but it addresses the girl, too.  It's fiction, but deals with these real-life issues.  You may want to read it, and if you think it's appropriate, have your daughter read it with you and discuss it.  I read it awhile back and discussed it at length with my teenage son.  It doesn't have a happy ending.

sabrtooth1
by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM
1 mom liked this

 


Quoting november0229:

Who Is the author?? Sounds like a great book

You might also look up the book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" for insight into helping your dd "survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and technology's impact on Girl World."



It's Rosalind Wiseman  Here's the Amazon link.    http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Bees-Wannabes-Boyfriends-Realities/dp/0307454444

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