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I just read my daughter's diary and now I regret it

Posted by on Sep. 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM
  • 5 Replies

Before anyone judges, I have to be completely clear about this:  I abhore invasions of privacy.  I grew up in a strict (and sometimes abusive) home.  Both my parents regularly read my diary and searched my room hoping to catch me doing something -- anything -- that they didn't approve of.  The problem is that they didn't approve of anything.  They used my own words against me at every opportunity.  I swore that I'd never raise my daughter the way my parents raised me, and that I'd never invade her privacy unless I had a very good reason to do so.  I've told her this.  Until today I kept that promise.

My daughter is 14, has never given her dad and me a reason not to trust her.  She's a good kid who's never given us any trouble and an outstanding student.  But lately she's been so unlike herself; she's been moody but mostly depressed.  She's tired all the time.  She complains that she doesn't feel well.  She's usually very open with me about a lot of things but she's been keeping to herself a lot.  Because I'm a celiac and suffered from the classic symptoms of exhaustion and feeling unwell before my diagnosis, I worried that she had it as well.  Thankfully she tested negative.

I finally decided to break my rule and read her diary in the hopes that it would give me some insight to what's going on with her.  She used to keep her diary out where I could easily read if it I wanted to, but in the past few weeks it's been hidden.  I had a good idea of where it was, and I found it and read it from the first page all the way through yesterday's entry.  To my relief I didn't find anything that indicated drug or alcohol use, or being involved in something harmful.  No mention of being bullied, either.  But I was surprised and deeply hurt by some of the things she said about me.  I had absolutely no idea she felt that way.  She mentioned how clueless I was for not realizing that 85% of her smiles to me are fake.  Her entry on the day she sat in on my voice lesson said I was a horrible singer and that I was deluded to think that paying a teacher would ever make me any better.  Meanwhile, I remember her gushing on the way home about how awesome I was...and it sounded sincere.

In the end, the impression I got was that she's desperately unhappy because she feels ignored and isolated at school.  She was very hard on herself in her diary, calling herself fat, ugly and stupid.  She applied to a local magnet high school for gifted and talented students and took it very hard when she was rejected, calling herself a failure and an idiiot for even thinking she was good enough to get in.  It hurt to read all the mean things she said about me, but it hurt even more to read the mean things she said about herself.

I don't know what to do with the information I discovered.  I don't know how to help her without making it obvious that I read her diary.  Although I felt it was necessary, reading her diary was a huge mistake.  I got some of the answers I was looking for but I'm paying for it with regret and sorrow.

The one small consolation was an entry several pages after the day she tore apart my singing ability.  She made a list of people who inspired her.  It was a short list, only about four names long, one of which was the artist Pink.  The last name on the list was "Mom".  I'm still crying.

by on Sep. 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM
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Replies (1-5):
kanikki82
by on Sep. 11, 2013 at 1:33 PM
My daughter goes thru moody stages to. She is 13. I think its OK to snoop if its not over done. I wouldn't take everything she says to heart. Kids go thru a stage were everything is about them and they say things they really don't mean. I remember being that age. I was pretty nasty and said some hateful things. I got over it and am a pretty decent person now. My daughter has done something that really hurt me but I just take it in stride and think of all the changes she is going thru. My girl had a Facebook she wasn't suppose to have she talked to this guy and they were all lovey and everything. It was a total shock since I had no idea. I am thankful my husband snooped that time so we could stop it asap. I would be honest with her. She will prob. Be mad but she might also think u care enough to snoop so maybe its not so bad for u to do. Just tell her how concerned u are and u wanted to make sure she was truly OK. Good luck! Teen girls are difficult but think back how u were at that age. It helps alot to remember all the moods kids go thru.
drfink
by Emily on Sep. 11, 2013 at 1:46 PM

 First don't take all her negative comments about you too much to heart.Kids vent also when upset and it's not unusual for them to vent about the people they are close to ,especially parents.I know that is easier said than done.Hugs.

Next ,talk to her .If you don't feel it will help to tell her you read her diary don't.Think of a time and place where yall can have a bit of relaxing time together and alone.Maybe a mom -daughter Sat have lunch and a pedi if she likes that stuff.Maybe Starbucks afterwards with some leading but a little subtle questions about your worries about her.Or get some time alone and simply tell her you are getting a vibe from her that concerns you.Which ever route that you think will get her to open up about her unhappiness.

Perhaps actually talking to you about this will be a release and she can move forward.Keeping things locked in helps them fester.If all of this doesn't work she may need to talk to a professional.Teens sometimes need someone not related and educated to help them work through something.

Niccalyn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I have 14 and 16 year old daughters.  The younger has been very moody and up and down for the last couple of years; the older one just started about 6 months ago.  The change in the 16 year old was so sudden and extreme that I ended up taking her to counseling, where she was diagnosed with both depression and anxiety.  Fortunately, we caught it early and it is fairly mild, and talk therapy seems to be helping tremendously. The counselor does not think meds will be necessary. I started out by taking her to our pediatrician and getting a recommendation for a LPC who happened to be on our insurance--it only costs us a $35 co-pay for each 50 minute session, and it is well worth it!  I highly recommend looking into counseling for your daughter.

I think to a certain extent our daughters still see themselves as extensions of us (their moms), so harshing on us isn't that far removed from harshing on themselves.  So, if she runs out of negative things to say about herself, she starts in on you.  It probably doesn't help much to hear this, but I really don't think the things you read are a reflection of how she feels about you.  She obviously loves you very much or you wouldn't have made 'the list.'

Thank you for posting this--I found out my mother read my diary when I was 9 years old, and I never kept a diary after that, for fear that my privacy would be invaded again. I vowed to NEVER read anyone else's diary, and so far, I haven't.  My oldest is on volume 10 and I have never read a word--I check her social networking accounts almost daily, but she knows about that, and also that I will never read her diaries, so at least she has somewhere to put into words all those feelings that can't be uttered aloud.  I know you will give your daughter this same consideration in the future. :-)

atlmom2
by Susie on Sep. 11, 2013 at 4:10 PM
1 mom liked this
Most teens don't like parents. It is supposed to be that way.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Barabell
by Barbara on Sep. 12, 2013 at 9:06 PM

I agree with this advice. Good luck!

Quoting drfink:

 First don't take all her negative comments about you too much to heart.Kids vent also when upset and it's not unusual for them to vent about the people they are close to ,especially parents.I know that is easier said than done.Hugs.

Next ,talk to her .If you don't feel it will help to tell her you read her diary don't.Think of a time and place where yall can have a bit of relaxing time together and alone.Maybe a mom -daughter Sat have lunch and a pedi if she likes that stuff.Maybe Starbucks afterwards with some leading but a little subtle questions about your worries about her.Or get some time alone and simply tell her you are getting a vibe from her that concerns you.Which ever route that you think will get her to open up about her unhappiness.

Perhaps actually talking to you about this will be a release and she can move forward.Keeping things locked in helps them fester.If all of this doesn't work she may need to talk to a professional.Teens sometimes need someone not related and educated to help them work through something.


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