Teen Parenting...Help!!

Updated on November 11, 2009
M.S. asks from Plano, TX
15 answers

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

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answers from Dallas on

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


answers from Dallas on

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


answers from Dallas on

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


answers from Dallas on

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


answers from Tyler on

sounds like your daughter is growing up.Dont take it so personally.



answers from Tyler on

BE THE PARENT!! I have a 13 yr old daughter who is a great student, connected to her church and a pretty great kid. She has a cell phone. However, we told her from DAY ONE that the cell phone was a privilege and not a right. One of the concessions to her having her phone and Facebook was that we would be reading her texts and we control her password to FB - not her. She sometimes gets a little peeved but more importantly, it has provided wonderful opportunities for us to discuss issues she may be having with friends, boys, etc. I do not judge her but rather try to have conversations about what is going on. She has lost her phone on a couple of occassions for grades but the knowledge that "Mom and Dad" know everything keeps her on a straighter path. I have no doubt that if we did not watch her like a hawk, she could end up doing some really stupid stuff - she's a teenager. That's why as parents we have rules. I would take your daughter's phone - discuss the fact that she blatantly lied to you and have a frank discussion about the "what could" happen circumstances - USE REAL WORLD Examples....it has a much better impact. Also, we remind our kids when they feel like they are being "abused" by not getting their Ipod, cell phone, fill in the blank, that we are required to provide them food, clothes and shelter. There is nothing that says the food must be gourmet, the clothes by the latest designers or a big fancy house.......everything above that is just a perk. Good luck - if you can communicate with her and provide her more time with you and less with her friend's who are making poor choices, you can probably steer this right back on track.



answers from Dallas on

You did the right thing. Don't be fearful to parent; it will benefit her in the long run. Also, I was not "friends" with my mother when I was a teenager. I was a good kid; however, I thought my mom was mean b/c she had all of these rules. Plus she was always so aware of what was going on; who I was hanging out with, etc. Because of her love and discipline, I avoided a lot of trouble. I think you were smart about calming down first; however, I would confront her. I remember my mom and dad were out of town when I was a teenager - maybe 17. I had a "boyfriend". The rule was boys were not allowed in the house without parent supervision. Of course, I didn't obey this rule while they were gone b/c I thought that they would never find out. Sure enough, my mom found out through a neighbor that there was a car parked in front of our house while they were away. My approached me in a calm manner. I basically thought my parents were watching my every move and I was less likely to try new things. Anyway, i never did that again! Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

Stick to your guns! Your daughter is at an age where hormones and peer pressure oftentimes take the place of common sense. Set your rules and boundaries; be prepared to enforce them. Be consistent and follow through with punishments. If you ground her for a week, make her serve the entire week. I guarantee it will not be easy. Children, especially teens, may seem to "hate" rules and enforcements, but in truth they need and desire the boundaries. Rules makes sense to them in a world that has seemingly and unexpectedly gone mad around them. Teens will make their parents the bad guys to "save face", when pressured to do something they know is not a good choice, especially if the friends have witnessed the enforcements of past punishments. Continue to make time to build and strengthen your relationship with her even though spending time with her may be the last thing you want to do, and make sure your husband does as well(lots of family dates). Be willing to talk about anything and everything without judgement; but calmly explain your beliefs and expectations during all discussions. Most importantly pray, pray, and pray some more! My children are 21 & 22, praise GOD we survived the teenage years, and we still have family dates!



answers from Mansfield on

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



answers from Dallas on

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.



answers from Tyler on

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!



answers from Dallas on

Dear M., First of all I applaud you for getting cooled off before handling this delicate situation and asking for advice!!! :-) I would give her a chance to come clean without you revealing your source of information. Do something like... "You know I have always trusted you because you are very responsible, trustworthy and have communicated with me about everything... As you get older now there will be more priviledges that can be earned based on trust and situations that you will be facing where peer pressure can make you want to do something you know is wrong. I need to able to trust you... It is very important you always feel comfortable telling me even things you think may disappoint me because them I will always be able to trust you and I can always be there for you..." If she doesn't volunteer it then say something like... "you know even when kids think noone is going to find out about things they did... parents usually do find out. I would much rather find out from you than someone else..." If still nothing then ask her straight up if there is something she needs to tell you. If she still doesn't come clean then tell her how you gave her every opportunity to be honest with you and she didn't take it and now she has violated your trust. Ask her "did you stay at the party? Go somewhere else? Target, etc." If she comes clean be more lenient, if she doesn't then you'll have to punish her and slowly give her chances to earn your trust back. Don't be too harsh either way because she has been a good kid so far. Ground her for a week or two, tell her she can't text for a week, make her do extra chores, etc. I personally prefer the extra chores that are useful like pulling the weeds out, cleaning out the refrigerators, picking up the doggie doodoo, etc. Make sure she knows you love her very much and want what is best for her. Explain the safety concerns associated with giving out your ph #s to strangers, your parents not knowing where you are, etc. Best wishes and hang in there! You're in for a ride! :-)



answers from Dallas on

Wow. You have a lot of great advice. You do know what to do though. Be the parent; firm fair and loving; don't make any assumptions; seek the truth. Privlege is earned not a right. Trust is essential to healthy relationships and that is what you have built with her. She is however a teen and who makes worse decisions than a teenager? Two teenagers! Forbidding any one or thing is almost a sure thing it will happen anyway. Be cautious. You may fare better never saying it out loud but just enforcing your preference about access to friends. Blessings and peace and remember to start at the place of love.



answers from Dallas on

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



answers from Dallas on

I have 3 teenagers right now and I have been very upfront with them.Especially with text messages and picture messages that the first time I see something inappropriate on it the phone is gone. Most cell companies you can check text messages online. So as far as they know I do on a regular basis. I do check there phone randomly and in front of them. It has nothing to do with trust but accountability. It also gives them an out with peer pressure if they say hey look my mom checks these things regularly so I just can't.

As far as the dishonesty sit her down talk to her calmly about what you expect from her. You don't have to tell her that you found it on the phone but that you were informed.Tell her that the skating rink and parties are priviledges and she has to earn them back.With a 16year old, 14 and 13 year old I have had this same talk about parties etc. Explain to her in detail the things that will happen when she makes these choices.
I have found even good kids push their limits to try and find out how far they can go. If your comfortable maybe talking to the other parent and making them an alley would help. If your daughter is doing all of this it is probably time to have a good detail sex talk. Be open with things explain the result of actions and where it can lead. You will be amazed at the response you will have from her. It may not be immediate but later you will see the difference. Most of all love her. Make sure she understands that you do.
Good luck I hope things work out for you and your family.

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