15 answers

Teen Parenting...Help!!

I have a beautiful 13 (almost 14) year old daughter. She has never given us any major trouble at all. She's always done well in school and been involved in choir, Girl Scouts and even tutored kindergardners when she was in 5th grade. People tell me all the time what a great kid she is. And she IS! However, over the weekend I was totally blindsided!! It started with an issue at a party Saturday night. Obviously the parent at this party was not paying attention to what was going on..another whole issue. So I decided to look at her text messages, something I never do because I trusted her. I found out that she lied to me! I dropped her and the same friend off at the roller rink and spcifically told them "don't you leave this building" but they decided to walk over to Target. And even worse her friend met some "cute" guy at Target and gave her my daughers phone #!!! There was also some language being used in these texts that I definitely don't approve of.

Now I'm struggling with how to handle this. Obviously there needs to be some punishment! And she will not be spending the night with this friend ever again or spending any time with her at all unless it's at my house. But I don't want her to shut down and shut me out. We've always been very close and able to talk about stuff, or so I thought. I'm actually physically sick over this whole thing. I have not confronted her about any of this yet because I needed to calm down first. I could really use some helpful advice from any Moms out there who have been down this road. Thanks

What can I do next?

More Answers

Well, Mom, it was inevitable, you have come to that crossroad of being a friend vs being the parent. It is a natural progression. Just like she is trying her wing and learning to fly, you have to be there to guide her and let her know you will catch her if she falls.
If you truly have that good relationship, sit her down and tell her SOMEONE SAW THEM... (I am sorry, never let her know you snooped; and, snoop often!) and reported back to you. Tell her that you know she lied to you. Let her know that what her friend did was wrong too. Since you don't want her to know you know her phone number was given out, talk to her about the consequences of being someplace like that at night and possibly meeting up with other people she doesn't know. They might not be the type person she want so associate with but she wouldn't know it until it was too late. Talk to her about her choice of friends. Above all, talk to her about trust issues and let her know that she has tested your trust by her actions. Remind her that SHE is responsible for her actions, not her friend. Let her know if she is ever in a situation she feels uncomfortable with, to make up some kind of excuse, (she can use YOU as an excuse) and call you to come get her.
However, let her know her actions require a punishment. I suggest you start with taking away the cell phone because you know that means something to her. Replace her voice message with your own - telling her friends that your daughter is grounded from her phone right now, so, please do not leave a message at this time. This is not too harsh of a punishment but it lets her know you are still the parent and she is the child and there are rules to be followed.
Give her a chance to explain what happened and how she found herself in that position. Remind her that at her age she will be experiencing different situations; but, she has to make the choice whether to follow the rules or disobey. It is her choice but your job is to guide her and when rules are broken, there are consequences.
YOU will have to remember this conversation - it may be the only time you will ever have to have it; but, if not, you have to be consistent in the future about disciplining her. Parenting doesn't have to be hard if YOU do what is right. Discipline with love and compassion and tenderness; but, discipline and be consistent. Don't back down and don't waiver.
God bless you and guide you.

3 moms found this helpful

I am the parent of a 16 yr old girl and a 20 yr old boy. I have seen inappropriate text's from both of them to others and visa versa.

Lets start with the "not being where she's supposed to be" issue. THAT in and of itself is a HUGE thing for me. I trust my kids to be where they're supposed to be but also, know they are teens who are trying to find their way...so I trust them realistically as far as I can toss them over my shoulder and run with em.

I never talk to my children and still don't when i'm upset and can say things that I will either have to take back or regret...so good on ya mom for waiting a bit to compose yourself.

I find that trust is HARD to come by with teens. The first sign of you losing your mind if a crisis happens and they do in fact shut down. Believe it or not trust works both ways and you have to earn THEIR trust as well.

I would find a time to be with JUST her and away from the house. When me and the kidlets would have an issue, I would take them for ice cream or to the local Kroger (insert what ever grocery is near by) parking lot at what ever hour was convenient (midnight, what ever) where I knew they were open to talk and let them know what's going on.

I don't meant that you need to not be stern and frank in your discussions. But being demeaning doesn't make them want to open up to you. Ask the hard questions in a manner that's not threatening. Show concern without being critical...yeah i know all this is easier said than done but I PROMISE you it's well worth it.

Tell her that you are concerned about where she was at...not JUST because she lied but because what if something happened to her and you couldn't find her. Then confront her with the texts and ask her if this is the way she wants to speak to her friends, etc and that there are consequences.

I know you're freaking out. I know you're wanting to scream and yell and well...ground her til she's 40, but try and remember you were once that age...cliche' i know.

I will be sending good thoughts your way.

2 moms found this helpful

As a mom of three teenage daughters I can tell you what has worked for me every time. LOL I say that a friend of mine or someone I know saw her at Target. Then have the conversation about how she can trust you and tell you anything anytime. You are her mother and only want what is best for her...and tell her I know you are thinking yada yada yada but from the bottom of my heart it is true that I dearly love you, would do anything for you, and have a God given job to protect you. Don't worry about having a relationship that will shut down. If you have had a good relationship with her there is no reason that should happen I've had to discipline my girls throughout their teens and teach them how life works and they have never disrespected me or shut me out. Good Luck I know you know what to do : )

2 moms found this helpful

well i don't have any teens myself but my older sister has a 13 year old. we were with them last week and she asked for her daughters phone and started reading her text messages. i commented on how my niece didn't freak out or anything about my sister reading her messages. my sister said that my niece is too young for that kind of privacy.

i understand that you trust your daughter but you certainly can't trust all the other kids! i think it's important to get into your teens "privacy" for their protection and saftey!! there is so much junk out there that they have to deal with. they need someone watching over their sholders to keep them on the right track and to help them say no to things. 13 year old kids are facing situations that people used to deal with in late high school or college. they can not be expected to be able to handle them just because they are good kids. plenty of good kids have been caught up into temptation. my husband is a youth minister and i am surrounded by youth. the sexting, sex, alchol, fooling around with homosexuality. it all STARTS in the 6th grade!!! it is amazing what these kids know and what they have done. sounds to me like you have found out before anything serious has happened. i hope you will continue to have a great relationship with your daughter. but for her saftey please invade her "privacy".

1 mom found this helpful

Hey -
Like everyone else, I am shocked and upset as you are about what happened. I think the thing that scares me the most about it is that I live in Tyler, Tx. I moved here 5 years ago from a very large city and I thought this town was so quaint and a great place to raise kids. However, just a few months after moving here, an 18 year old girl that worked at Walmart was abducted from the parking lot after her shift ended (not too terribly late...maybe 10/11PM). She was raped and killed and left on the side of the highway somewhere in West Texas.

I'm not sure that you want to tell your daughter that story, but those big box stores, late at night, are just NOT the place to be.

Honestly, if I were you, I would ask her about the skating the other night and how it went. I would flat out ask her if she left the building and went anywhere and see what she says. If she lies, then I think you crack down on her really hard. If she fesses up to leaving, then you have a different conversation and talk about trust and where appropriate places are to be. And, I agree with the others about checking her phone right in front of her. Make sure she knows you are checking on her.

Good luck!

Keep the communication lines open - don't do anything that will make her not trust you . . . This is the hardest part. I don't know if you are affiliated with a certain religion but I get a daily email (free) from "Parenting by Design" and I really value the godly advice. Below is a recent excerp that you may find handy.

Fear is a powerful motivator, and if we're not careful, we may find ourselves making parenting decisions that are driven by our fears. Rather than addressing our kids' issues with empathy, consequences, and faith in God, we may try to control and even micromanage their lives. While this may temporarily lower our anxiety, it can result in kids who are dependent or rebellious.

The fear of the Lord starts by acknowledging God as creator and people as His creation. This is fundamental because until we recognize the limits of our wisdom, we tend to depend on ourselves instead of God. When we acknowledge His sovereignty and goodness, we accept the limits of our control and we can trust Him even in the midst of painful or frightening parenting challenges. We can have faith that He sees the eternal purpose when we cannot.

Our parenting decisions will be wiser when we have an accurate view of God's character and our position.

I do not have teens but my sister is 15 and my sister in law is 13 (my husband is the oldest of 10) so I am close with teens and parents of teens! Just to let you know where I am coming from. 1st good for you to calm down before talking to her. You do need to sit down and calmly talk to her about all this. Starting with why she disobeying you about leaving the roller rink. (how did you find out about that to begin with?) Explain to her that she broke your trust on that issue so that is why you checked her phone and what you saw in her texts are not ok. But ask her about the texts...it may have been the friend using her phone and not her at all. You said yourself you always talk so that is where you need to start.
Yes there needs to be punishment but you need the full story on ALL of it before you can beside how deep this punishment needs to be. as for the friend I think you have the right idea but be careful about how you explain it too her so she doesn't get the forbidden fruit thing going.
Hope this helps

Dear M.:

My daughter just turned 14, so I'm facing similar situations. I, too, don't routinely read my daughter's text messages because I trust her. However, that being said, I have let her know that if she gives me cause I WILL read them because keeping her safe is more important than her privacy.

If this was my daughter in this situation I'd pick a quiet time with no interruptions and have a heart-to-heart explaining why leaving the roller rink was dangerous and unacceptable. You're on target with limiting the time with the friend to only your house so you can supervise.

I am a great believer in letting the crime fit the punishment. Since this was a breach of trust, I would revoke a trust privilege, such as being allowed to stay home alone when I'm at the grocery store. Let her earn back your trust and her privilege.

The teenage years are interesting! One day my daughter has the maturity of a 25-year-old, the next I swear she regresses to a 5-year-old!

Hang in there!

L. F., married to my best friend, with a 14-year-old daughter

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