Would Call Your Daughter's Friend's Parents over This?

Updated on March 08, 2012
J.W. asks from Portland, OR
16 answers

Ok, so full disclosure: due to my stepdaughters incessant lying and/or stretching the truth I occasionally go in her room to see if she's been careless enough to leave things lying around that let her dad and I know what she's doing after school and before anyone else gets home. We have MAJOR trust issues going on. She's 13/ 7th grade and really into boys right now. Other than that, she's a really good kid.

Now to the point: I found a note in her room which stated that she found a picture of her good friend in her bra and panties on a cell phone. The owner of the phone is my stepdaughter's new boyfriend and also the ex boyfriend of her friend in the photo. I know the girl in the photo to the extent that she's been over to our house a couple time only, but the girls hang out at school and are in the same "group."

So, I am trying to decide a few things: 1) do I call the parents of the girl in the photo? 2) do I tell my stepdaughter I know about this (and let her know I've been in her room again)? Which would also lead into the fact that I know she has this new boyfriend, which she hasn't mentioned to her dad and me yet (they've been "dating" - more like "going steady" for a week).

I have a gut response but I want feedback on this before diving into it. Thanks in advance!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks again to all of you who responded. I wound up talking to the girl’s mom, the boy’s parents and also having a long conversation with my SD and husband. I won’t bore anyone with the gory details but all of the parents were glad to know what was going on and were very appreciative. I was also happy to find out that the boy’s parents were quite upset about his recent behavior as it related to my SD as well (they’ve both been breaking just about ALL the rules in this last week). All in all I think it was a successful intervention. But about the trust issues that are underlying everything that’s been going on: We addressed that with my SD and have agreed that there’s a give and take on both our parts. But based on her recent actions she knows she was a long up hill battle to regain out trust, and as long as she’s still heading that way we can respect her privacy (to a degree).

Thanks all, again! Your feedback played a big part in our decision making.

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answers from Kansas City on

I would want to know, but I would want to be told in person. My oldest is starting middle school next year and this is one of the reasons she will not have a cell phone, facebook, or anything else like that. I say you need to tell the parents so they can have the chance to help their daughter.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Not only would I call the parents of the girl and tell my child I know (step or whatever), but I would also tell the parents of the boyfriend. I have all boys and would want to know about this! I'm sorry, but privacy and trust are to be earned. If my kids are lying and hiding things, they will become subject to no-holds barred snooping until the prove I can trust them. Especially when it comes to issues that carry potential legal ramifications, which this case certainly does! Not fun to have to deal with. Best wishes!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

If my young daughter was on a boy's phone in a bra and panties and an adult knew, I pray they would tell me. I have 3 boys and if my sons were on anyone's phone in an inappropriate way, I would want to know. You can't fix what you don't know is broken, you know? At this point this young lady is not pregnant. Maybe, just maybe if the parents are made aware they can help their daughter. I vote to tell them. Good luck and sorry you are caught in the middle of all of this, hang in there!

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I find it interesting that several moms are blaming the boyfriend and calling the girl a "victim." How do you know it was the boy's idea? Maybe the girl sent it because she thought he would like her more/better if she did. I have a son and I have young adult nephews. Girls these days are not like when we were kids. My nephews have had girls literally throw themselves at them, offer to do you don't want to know what. Luckily they had a very close relationship with their mother, my sister (father died when they were young), and felt comfortable telling her these things. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but the reality is none of you know and you're jumping to conclusions about the boy, whether he kept it on his phone or not.

As to the question, I'm not sure if I would tell the girl's parents. It's probably the right thing to do, but I'm not sure. I would let the stepdaughter know that you know. That will probably get back to the girl and if she thinks you're going to tell, maybe she'll do it herself. I would definitely have a heart to heart with stepdaughter about sexting, texting photos of herself, so that she knows that once she sends something out into the web, it's there forever and ever and ever. My 14 year old niece has been lying, wearing too much makeup, hanging out with boys, too. She lost all privileges for a month and my sister made the girl her shadow. She wasn't allowed out of sight for the whole month. I thought my niece might implode. LOL. But she realized she had to earn the trust she had before.

I'm looking forward to your update. Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

I would be in contact with the girls parents. Then again my 13 year old wouldn't be dating any boy either. I'm a bit more conservative.

Upon reading this again as well as your response, I would definitely not allow my daughter date a boy that has pictures of her friend in a bra and panties. That is a boy that can not be trusted. My daughters do not date at 13 and no matter what the age they will not be permitted to date a boy with such poor judgement.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

YES! Call the parents, better yet go to the house with the note.

Also talk it out with your husband about how to confront her about the boy. It's disturbing to me that he has a semi-nude picture of another girl which leads me to believe the likelihood of her in an inappropriate relationship/situation with this young man is greater.

I would not ground her or flip out about this. This is a time to keep lines of communication open so try to be understanding about this, talk with her and discuss your disapproval for this kind of thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would not say anything.
One you were snooping and if you do that then you dont want her to know that.
Two it was a note not a confession it could be a lie who knows there may not actually be a photo since kids lie so much and you have not seen the photo, it could stir up a whole lot trouble that you do not want to be at the root of.
Let it play out on its own and be sure to talk to your daughter about cell phone photos...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Tell her to tell them herself or you WILL tell them!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I would sit down with my daughter and have a calm discussion about this. I would explain the dangers and maybe even pull out some recent news stories on texting. I would also ask if she'd ever participated in this.
I would inform daughter that we, the parents, will be contacting the other girls parents and the boys parents because this is the responsible thing to do. The mature, adult thing to do.
IMHO, 13 is to young for a boyfriend. Especially, if you are already having trust issues with daughter.
Oh, the rough waters of adolescence. Hang in there, mom!! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If I were the mom of the girl in the pics, I would want to know. I wouldn't be happy but I'd want to know. And if I were the mom of the boy, I'd want to know, also. As Brandi M said, who knows who is the "victim"? It sounds like both parties may be involved in the "guilt" of it. However, all that being said, I probably wouldn't thank you for telling me (at least not in the "golly, thanks!" with a smile sense). But I would definitely want to know.

As far as your daughter is concerned, don't come down hard on her for this (unless she stole the phone or something), and don't criminalize her new boyfriend. Also, if she is known for lying, then it should be a house rule that you are going to "spot check" and that she should know that.... and that during one of these checks, you found the phone.

Sit down with her and talk to her like an adult. Tell her that you're concerned about her friend, and while it may be innocent (NOT!), it may not be, and that it is playing with fire. You don't egg on the sexual desires of a teen boy - its not fair to him, and it's asking for serious problems. And all the consequences of having sex before she's really truly ready, using protection, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I'm going to come in from a different angle. Sure ofcourse I'd want to know if I were either parent, but I don't think the girl in the picture is a victim. She had to take the pic and send it, the boy could have just been the person who received it. Although it is alarming that this is being done at such a young age, I think had we all grown up in a time where we all had cell phones at 13 & younger many of us would have been experiencing this too. I would hope that the parents of each child are being active in their childrens lives - and even if they are that's not going to stop the teens and their hormones. I'm affraid there is not a whole lot we can do aside from educate our own children about the use of cell phones, internet, facebook, and photo sharing like this can do to ruin lives in the future.

Maybe I'm the only one who read this that thinks the real issue here is not the photo, its the lack of trust between the both of you. I mean this in the best most constructive way possible - If your having major trust issues with your step daughter, I can definitely understand why. She's a teenager and I remember being a teen who pulled back from my parents also. You can't go around snooping in her stuff and reporting to her friends and her new "boyfriend's" parents which would be the equivalent of in the teen world "ruining her life!" It's not a great situation but its not a life/death one either. Kids are doing this ALL THE TIME now - super unfortunate - and scary and I don't even want to think about what its going to be like when my kids are teens :-/ !!! But, If you want her to want to confide in you, you need to show her she can! She needs to be able to tell you things, things that you DONT want to hear and trust that you WONT go telling everyone and can provide her with guidence without condeming her and allow her the room to be able try to make the right choices herself. If she or her friends are having sex or sexual relations you are not going to stop it by telling the parents, that alone will probably make her push further away, give her more reasons to lie and be secretive. Use this as a learning point for the both of you. Sit down with her as equals - not shaking a finger, let her know what you found and that your sorry you felt the need to snoop but your concerned about her and her lack of talking and disclosing important information with you. Teach her why its a bad idea to send photos like that and teach her about the sexting. Look up stories of how social networking/photos such as these have ruined lives (there are plenty! One I can recall recently where a boy lost his football scholarship over a couple tweets: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/catholic-high-school-foot...
Even let her help you do some research, it would probably catch her attention and break the ice with some "dirty" topics she might have questions about if you both are able to both research, read and talk about real people & real stories. Maybe after doing this, you can both come to a conclusion of what to do about the situation, or what she should do if she comes across this type of situation again. Sounds like you both have work to do on both ends of the relationship. Tell her you'll work on not snooping, if she works on being more open with you. You can't lock em up, but you can teach them and guide them and hope and pray that they listen, learn and make good choices and learn from the bad ones they've made! Anyway my comments are just ideas to try to gain trust between you.

Bottom line though, you need to do what you feel is right, I dont know the whole situation, but I do know if you are having trust issues going and telling everyone based on a note you found is going to be a major set back. The most important part in this is your stepdaughter, she's where you can make a difference. Good luck!



answers from Portland on

I would take the phone with pix on it and go have a talk with parents. Parents need to know. If they care then they will want to know. I would have wanted someone to tell me if my child was 1/2 naked and on someone's phone.




answers from Washington DC on

Yes, go to the other parents, and like one mom suggested the parents of the boy too.

And, how is the relationship with your SD and Dad? He needs to step it up. HE needs to be the one taking her out, going to all her functions, involving himself in her life. The more distant he is and the more authoritarian he is the more she is likely to go to boys to get male attention.



answers from Spartanburg on

Honestly, I would contact the boy's parents first. They could take his phone and delete the photo (as any good parent would do) and then talk to him about why he shouldn't even have the photo in the first place. After the picture is gone, I'd tell the girl's parents so that they can talk to her. And then tell your stepdaughter that you were talking to Sally's parents and evidently, Sally sent a picture to Bobby etc and that you sure hope she never does something like that, etc. She will think you heard it from Sally's parents (instead of the other way around) and it will open up an opportunity to talk without accusing anyone of anything.



answers from Tulsa on

Don't SEND it to the parents because that is a crime.
I would want to know, but it may cause your child major drama.
Years ago, before my child was targeted for bullying, I would say "Yes, tell right now." Now, I am not so sure.



answers from Austin on

Absolutely........ as a parent, I would want to know if my daughter were doing that. As the parent to another potential "victim" of this "boyfriend", I would be DOUBLY cautious about it.

Kids don't realize the trouble "sexting" can get them into.

She also DOES need to know that you have, and will, go into her room at any time to see what she may be up to.

And.... if there are major trust issues, you may have to tell her that until you CAN trust her, that you will find a babysitter for her to make sure she isn't unsupervised after school, and then... please follow through! I don't think you want to find out that your stepdaughter is either posing in her underwear for her new boyfriend, or taking the pictures herself and sending them on to him.

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