What to do when you read your teen's text messages and are shocked with what you find?

Michele - posted on 05/07/2011 ( 155 moms have responded )

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I recently found some uncomfortable texts on my 15 year old's cell phone. I decided to take some time to deal with it but am still struggling with a discussion. Don't want to list too many details but nothing life threatening. Any suggestions?

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Ann - posted on 06/23/2013

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I am new to this group. Fact of the matter is... I read some txt on my 16 yr olds phone without her knowledge. I found out something's and chose to give her the chance to tell me the truth. Unfortunately she is adamantly sticking to her version of the truth... Which was missing the details that were disturbing to me. Finally I asked her if I could read her txts with her boyfriend and she agreed but I noticed they had been censored. I still didn't give up and told her we all get carried away but she should tell me so I can advise her and help her deal with whatever it is. I even gave her a scenario of wat I felt (actually read) happened... And she denied it saying she knows her limits with a stern face... Blattenly lying to me. And questioning why i dont trust her. What do I do? I know what I read!!! Pls help.

Cindy - posted on 01/09/2014

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I have trusted my child until I found Porn on her phone and email. I am concerned about sexting she is only 15. We have recently taken the phone away and the computer is only used when a parent is present. But what is the appropriate punishment to get her to understand and to keep her from ruining her life? She just doesn't seem to get it. I am worried.

Harriet - posted on 01/20/2013

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I'm a 14 yr old girl.. not a parent

I think you guys need to understand that privacy is a big thing for girls my age... we don't always want you to know the boys we like or the girls we've fallen out with, purely because you don't need to. My mom generally respects my privacy and doesn't snoop on my phone or facebook account because she trusts me, so i respect that trust and i don't abuse it ...

Lisa - posted on 05/09/2011

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I am of the mind to agree with Breanne. I am a no nonsense kind of mother and my kids know it. In my opinion, whether I pay the cell phone bill or not, if you are my child, living under my roof then you will abide by my rules and I have every right to go through or "snoop" through whatever you have if I feel the need to do so. Now I wouldn't do it unless I felt I had good reason ie: something serious going on, but if I had good reason , you'd better believe I would be getting my nose in and finding out what the problem is. As far as how to handle what you have found, I wouldn't go on the offensive so much as I would calmly sit them down, explain what you found, why you found it ( ie: why you were "snooping") and ask them to explain it to you. Ask them why they felt to need to talk to that particular person in such a manner as they did, be is sexual, violent, dirty, cursing, whatever...and then explain to them why you feel that the texts were in appropriate and what action you will be taking if an action is needed, to stop them from future issues like that. I can't really help further without knowing the jist of what the texts were about but I would firmly let my child know where I stood on such matters and that they need to hold themselves to a higher esteem and example than what they just displayed with such messages. And make sure that if there is a need for a "punishment" be it taking the phone away, grounding or whatever, that it is held and stuck to and that all through out the duration of the punishment, they know why they are being punished and perhaps dialog about how to do better can be kept open as well. Make it a chance to get to know somethings about your child that you may not have before and maybe in doing so they will feel less like doing it again.

Annette - posted on 05/09/2011

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In defence of a "snooping mother"..........haven't you all had one of those "sixth sense" moments when you just know something doesn't add up? Well, that's EXACTLY the time to follow your instincts & find out what part of their lives (or behaviour) is out of kilter.

I say WELL DONE, Michele...............you suspected a problem & sniffed it out. But NOW is the time to act on it; don't let it fester.

I also agree with Lisa; I pay the bill, I want to know what's going on. In Australia, there are laws concerning the transmission of any digital material; including mobile phone calls & text messages. Although these laws stemmed from the proliferation of cyber bullying & paedophiles, it applies to everyone. While ever I am going to be held responsible for what goes in & out of that phone, I claim my right to supervise it.

When my boys were 14, I suspected I had an issue with their internet "practices", due primarily to a sudden spike in usage volumes. I ran some checks & found a number of visits to a popular chat site, but with massive downloads attributed to it. I did some more digging & found it was simply webcam usage, so I set up an archive on it only to find that the boys had been chatting & camming with MUCH older women, who were stripping & masturbating on camera for them. I have nothing against consenting adults engaging in this kind of fun, but I had to think of my boys..........they were 14 & curious, but they were still only 14. I simply removed the camera & stored it elsewhere, removing the primary problem. Then I CALMLY discussed the reasons for my actions & why I was concerned with their actions. They understood where I was coming from & the issue literally died on the spot.

Please take swift & reasonable action. You will feel better & I am sure if you explain your concerns, your child will understand (eventually..........)

Good luck, sweety. xxx

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Dawn - posted on 11/07/2014

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For those parents that do not know this: just because texts are deleted does not mean you can't read them! I just dumped all of my 16 year old son's deleted texts from his android phone (you can do the same from iPhone). Boy did I learn a lot...sex, drinking, driving under the influence, thinking he has me snowed! He does not know yet that I have done this, praying for wisdom before I react. So go ahead and let them delete and think they have pulled one over! It is just not going to happen in my house any longer!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/23/2014

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Depends, Maria, on whether it was your 20 YO, or your 17 YO. Your 20 YO is an adult, and by invading her privacy in that way, you were in the wrong. Your 17 YO is your responsibility until he/she is 18, and therefore you could be prosecuted for criminal acts committed by the 17 YO.

Maria - posted on 06/23/2014

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Well, I have read most of these posts and let me tell you that I have had many of all those problems. I always believe in communication and I thought I had it with my kids, we talk about everything, I have a 20 and a 17 years old. I disagree with a lot of you. The ones that say you need to create a good relationship with your kids, don't be naive, I thought my kids had the confidence to tell me anything!!! wrong!!! they don't. I recently found out my daughter smoked pot and did it again and again for 2 months. Until she made the commitment to quit, then she told me about it. But, she only told me she did it 2 times until I went into her room and took her phone while she was sleeping, (something I have never done before because I trusted her all the way!! wrong again). I found disturbing messages about her carrying it and bringing it to places, etc. What a disappointment I had. She doesn't know yet I know about all these, I am still deciding what to do, if confront her, or wait, very confusing. This is a girl you would never think would do anything like this, alway following the rules, good grades, great friend, daughter, very deceiving!! I am a stay home mom because I wanted to raise great human beings!!! and I think I am anyway, they are great kids, but I am very confused now. Should I confront her with the new info? do I tell her I read messages? I don't know how to handle this situation.

Lisa - posted on 06/17/2014

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so true there Dawn! so many are worry about what others think if you are there for your kids you are there, its more than just a kiss a hug or a goodbye to them, but teens or kids today, in general has no respect for us parents look at who is our President! Our countrys Doomed because they kicked God out the White House! bad move there. God can and hes the only one that can fix our Nation all this cruelty bitterness. Our kids are being raised up into it. just look at the music they listen to now, look at whats our the T.V. nothing but garbage shows movies. Its ruining the minds of them people. I myself dont watch that much T.v. much now because of it it makes me dirty. I hope this makes sense not sure what your Regilion is but I am not your Judge, I like what you said thats why I replyied. keep speaking out. lisa pittman.

Lisa - posted on 06/17/2014

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I see what you saying I have friends that smoke as well that could be a way of crying for help, is he smoking you think? I find out who his circle of friends, are and slowly steer, him with another group of friends. stay positive we learn each day, with our teens, its a big test to us all as parents, God tells us he will go through our kids, to get our attention to. commuication is the key with your son.And getting him to talk as well. does he have a lot of freedom? a lot of teens want to take advantage of there parents, that isnt right either we as parents have to watch for that. I am stressed with my daughter shes Adhd. she got held back in the 10th grade this year, they said she missed to many classes absences, I will have a meeting when her School starts back about it. But anyways she is boy crazy, wanton to be popular, etc. and I told her to be herself. To not to be someone that shes not, she doesnt seem to like my boyfriend to much but she be alright he takes care of her more ways than one. But she does'nt see it. feel free comment anytime.

Lisa - posted on 06/02/2014

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you are quite welcome as parents we need to stand together for what is right, for our kids the world is so twisted, now more than ever. Our society is just twisted! But we have to be parents , to our kids not there friends. And make sure you address that to your son or kids in general. We suppose to be role models, to our kids. lisa pittman.

Joshalyne - posted on 06/02/2014

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Hi Lisa, thank you so much, I need that encouragement...because I don't want him to be mad, but also I have to stand my ground like you said. I also have two daughters and I don't know if you have a son, but they can be....different. Here's the update - he now knows I went through his phone. Yesterday, after he kept asking to go out the night before and me saying no, no, no and I know what's going on, things of that nature over and over and him denying it all. He finally asked if I went through his phone. And I didn't deny. Things were very rocky at first, he's mad, all that. There was a turnaround and his attitude changed! I told him--alot, but also that I don't want him to be relying on that for his happiness - and that it is a trick of the devil. (I do believe that.) I am very encouraged by his respectful and humble shift in his attitude. And thank you also for referring to God and his Word because I am a disciple and a firm believer. Thank you!!

Lisa - posted on 05/31/2014

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I been were you all are at those who have teenagers that tries to be sneaky, but doesnt do so well with that, I keep mine on restriction alot lately, I take away what she likes doiing most her time, thats computer or her using my phone. And its all about standing your ground. Don't back down you be the parent like you suppose to be, the way God tells us in his word. then they will grow older and respect us more as parents in the long run. lisa pittman

Joshalyne - posted on 05/31/2014

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I have found clues that my 16 year old son has been smoking weed. I've snuck and read his texts after he's fallen asleep and didn't have the block on his phone. I am a single parent. He is a really good kid. Also a lot of his friends smoke also. I read his texts before on the sly, and told him, so he knows. I'm upset now because I found that he's still smoking. I want to confront him, but I don't know now. After reading this 'blog' if I will be pushing him away. It looks like that's all they talk about, going to smoke...I'm very troubled right now because I don't know if I should tell him I know he's still doing it. I also found a couple other things out that he lied to me about. It's too late to give him the warning that I am 'about to go through your phone'. Anyway, he wouldn't let me. He stronger than me and I KNOW he would delete first. He wouldn't want me seeing all that--that I already saw! Like I said, basically, he's a good kid. Other than the fact that his grades suck. He also keeps his curfew for the most part, but just last week stayed all night without my persmission. I was VERY UPSET. He said he Iphone was on airplane mode, he didn't know it, then it got really late and he knew how angry I was going to be - THEN the NEXT DAY finally responded to my text saying he was scared to talk to me. I'm very frustrated. Please HELP. ASAP. I guess I wont say anything to him yet, but it's going to be really awkward. I'm leaving out for an appointment though which will help. Summer is approaching. I am going to be at work. I'm upset I'm losing all control. Thank you for listening and your feedback is very much appreciated.

Joshalyne - posted on 05/31/2014

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I have found clues that my 16 year old son has been smoking weed. I've snuck and read his texts after he's fallen asleep and didn't have the block on his phone. I am a single parent. He is a really good kid. Also a lot of his friends smoke also. I read his texts before on the sly, and told him, so he knows. I'm upset now because I found that he's still smoking. I want to confront him, but I don't know now. After reading this 'blog' if I will be pushing him away. It looks like that's all they talk about, going to smoke...I'm very troubled right now because I don't know if I should tell him I know he's still doing it. I also found a couple other things out that he lied to me about. It's too late to give him the warning that I am 'about to go through your phone'. Anyway, he wouldn't let me. He stronger than me and I KNOW he would delete first. He wouldn't want me seeing all that--that I already saw! Like I said, basically, he's a good kid. Other than the fact that his grades suck. He also keeps his curfew for the most part, but just last week stayed all night without my persmission. I was VERY UPSET. He said he Iphone was on airplane mode, he didn't know it, then it got really late and he knew how angry I was going to be - THEN the NEXT DAY finally responded to my text saying he was scared to talk to me. I'm very frustrated. Please HELP. ASAP. I guess I wont say anything to him yet, but it's going to be really awkward. I'm leaving out for an appointment though which will help. Summer is approaching. I am going to be at work. I'm upset I'm losing all control. Thank you for listening and your feedback is very much appreciated.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/16/2014

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to 'J' and "anonymous'

I don't friggin CARE if you think that we are being pushy, overbearing, or anything else...because:
FACT: I AM THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY UNTIL MY CHILDREN ARE 18. Legally, I CAN BE CHARGED if my kids fuck up.

FACT: UNTIL YOU TEENAGERS ARE ADULTS, YOU ARE NOT HELD RESPONSIBLE. YOUR FUCKING PARENTS ARE. GET A FUCKING GRIP. If you have something on your phones, computers, etc that you DON'T WANT YOUR PARENTS TO SEE, then you probably SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

And I've got my attorney backing me up. Since I AM RESPONSIBLE for my kids until they reach the age of majority, I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO MONITOR ACTIVITY AND RESCIND PERMISSION FOR USE.

Dawn - posted on 05/15/2014

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I've seen some teens posting about parents respecting privacy it's their right... Until you are 18 you do not have the right to privacy, especially social media. The govt will tap phones when they feel there is a threat to the country, we will do the same when there is a threat to out child. And let me make it clear, sex is a threat, STDs are pretty threatening, not to mention teen pregnancy. So, if all these children complaining about their rights and privacy, good for you! When you are grown and have children of your own, let me have all the privacy they can handle, just remember that there are choices that children can make that will drastically effect the rest of their lives. Now, go thank your parents for caring, for their sleepless nights, and tears of worry. You will realize one day that being a parent is a hell of a lot harder than you think.

Anynomous - posted on 05/08/2014

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Seriously, parents like you guys create rebellious teens. If my dad did that, he would lose all my trust and I wouldn't do anything for him anymore. If you can't trust your teens then you didn't raise them right!

J - posted on 05/08/2014

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To all you parents concerned about what your child is doing, have you ever thought about sitting them down and talking with them rather than snooping through their phone? Building a stronger relationship and gaining trust with your teen is a much better approach than snooping through their phone. If you can have a good, open relationship with your teen then there is no need to snoop because they will feel more comfortable telling you what's going on in their lives. I know that a majority of you pay for your child's phone bill, and consider it your property and that you have ultimate control over the device. But just as you feel a sense of entitlement to their phone, is it really fair to be entitled to their conversations and private lives? Yes, having a phone is a privilege, but having your teens trust is also a great privilege as well. By taking away their privilege of privacy, you are also losing the privilege of having their trust. I am an 18 year old girl, and my relationship with my dad is phenomenal. My dad has never tried to snoop through my phone, but he maintains an open and trusting relationship with me and has always treated me as an adult. And you know what? He knows everything about my life and he's my closest friend. I love coming to him and asking him for advice and telling him what's going on with my group of friends, my boyfriend, my school/work, everything! The main frustration as a teenager is being given adult responsibilities and being expected to live up to all these expectations, and as soon as we don't, we are treated like children and not given the same respect as we should. If you want your kid to trust you and treat you with respect, stop looking down at them and maybe start treating them how you would like to be treated. You'd be surprised with the results.

Gemma - posted on 04/26/2014

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I recently experienced my Dad telling me that he had read through a skype conversation with my boyfriend, found it disgusting and was banning the internet in the evenings.

I would understand this if I was 14 or something, but I am 19, and when my boyfriend comes to stay my parents are happy to let us share a bed and are aware that we are sexually active. It turned out that the part my Dad had read was actually very mild (my boyfriend likes to write me short erotica via skype too), but I still feel mortified and even ashamed, although I shouldn't because my relationship with my boyfriend is normal and good, as is sexting via skype in many modern long distance relationships.

My relationship with my Dad has deteriorated since this and I can't bear to talk normally to him because I keep imagining him reading my messages and this reaction of disgust he had. It makes me feel dirty and bad about myself and my boyfriend.

I thought that if he really didn't want me doing this at night and decided to ban the internet after 11, he should have given me another excuse like he wants to make sure I go to sleep early, rather that put me through this. (Although being 19, this kind of interference is debatable) So, if you simply don't like reading what your child has written instead of there being an actual serious problem they are keeping from you that you could help with, I would suggest keeping it to yourself because if you confront your child it is likely to have only negative consequences.

And like others say, as long as your child is brought up knowing what is appropriate and you have actually developed trust between yourselves, things like snooping and silly punishments for things that are really normal in their generation is only going to damage your relationship and they are still going to do whatever it is in a more sneaky way.

Daniella - posted on 04/22/2014

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It seems to me like especially where relationships your child is having are involved it is also important to consider approaching things from that angle. Just focusing on something you see as a problem as something that they are doing wrong or something they is doing to harm or endanger themselves is only sending communication about part of the picture. The risk there, especially with girls, I think, is making them feel ashamed without encouraging them to consider the situation as something they control and that they can take responsibility for in making good decisions for themselves. A lot of difficulties in a situation like this might be lessened or made more productive if there is also regular, non-accusing discussion about the kind of people they are choosing to pursue potentially amorous relationships with and whether they have good information about how to recognize when dynamics of those relationships may be bad for them or others. I know this sounds very soft or like a loose attitude, but I'm not advocating this be the full extent of parental involvement, just a possible additional component.

Jason - posted on 03/20/2014

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I am a parent of 2 daughters and I have some concerns that I'm torn on. The privacy thing, I would want it as a 13 year old but then again when I was 13 we didn't have all the social media available to us. If we wanted to hang out with a friend, we road our bike to their house and hung out, now you have instagrams, facebook, pinterst, facetime etc. you really never "leave" your friends when you are with family. Plus the LAWS today that concern social media. there is a case right now in Toledo, where a 9 year old with a smart phone sent an instagram (as a joke) to a physically challenged boy and told him "he should just die" I do not condone that nor do I think it should go unpunished but now it's out there in the cyber world for the parents, a lawyer and now a judge to see. This little 9 year old is facing Juvinile charges from that boys parents!!!!! So I say, with all this power at our fingertips, why wouldn't we want to protect our kids.......from THEMSELVES for the sake of them being upset with us about privacy??? We as parents have to decide if we want to be our kid's friends or their parents. Kids don't necessarily need to understand everything out there but they do need to understand that we are protecting them from harm by doing these things. they will understand later in life. So I go through my kid's phone messages..... to protect her.

Amy - posted on 03/20/2014

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Last I checked if I was paying the bill and my daughter is under 18 that phone belongs to me and my child is my responsibility the whole time. Kids are sneaky, they are testing their own guide, their boundaries you set, learning their ego. It is our job as parents to keep them on the right path of them being contributing citizens to this world. Mentor them on what is and isn't appropriate and show them facts. Provide boundaries and we as their leaders need to follow through with monitoring their progress of them staying on their path. When the child knows we will follow through with giving consequence the chances of them are going to fall off track are smaller. Talk to them, seek more to understand their motive.

Gabe - posted on 03/19/2014

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you need to deal with your problems not run away from them call me an idiot but parents should only look at a phone when he/she is being threatening or when the person who would reply to your childs messages i agree somewhat with riley

Gabe - posted on 03/19/2014

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a childs phone should not be looked at it is a violation to our rights and privacy

Katie - posted on 01/13/2014

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I'm almost 16 my parents went through my phone many times found the same thing i got in trouble for the same things. now i'm graduating next year and i'm not getting my phone back til then. i have to admit i am a very sneaky child, even though i get caught after a few months or so that's because i allow it most of the time.

My mom went through my ipad that was synced to my phone so all my deleted messages were still on there that i was not aware of. in honesty i think it depends on who the child is, my parents never allowed me to go out, had to stay in the house except for school even then when i wanted to switch out of one of my classes my dad emailed my dean in secret telling them not to switch me out and put me in classes i was not prepared for. i'm at B/C average now with Aice and AP classes, but even when i wasn't doing anything they still accused me of doing stuff, and they are overprotective even though they claim they're not they are. If my parents were honest from the beginning as to why i wasn't allowed to do many things then i wouldn't be where i am in trouble and looking back i have a whole bunch of shame.

Anyways if they want to stop having conversations and punishing me about the same things then stop going through my phone. From the beginning of highschool i wasn't allowed to go out, stay after school or do the sports i wanted. now because of their paranoia and overprotectiveness i am one of the sneakiest teen that most of my friends would agree on.

Same with my other friend her mom goes through her phone she gets in trouble 24/7 and she's secretly on birth control, and everything. THE MORE SUFFOCATING A PARENT GETS THE WORSE THE CHILD GET. Stop going through a kids phone, if your kid tells you everything then fine if they hide stuff most likely don't go through the phone. By trying to protect sometimes it pushes teens away and have the opposite effect that you want it to.

Also if your kid doesnt get something leave it and let it air out and bring it back up when its the right time I get many stuff i understand the consequences but im that type i have to experience things to get my head straight. Half the stuff i do is in rebel, now my parents dont know what to do with me but on the phone situation most likely kids get another behind your back. THATS WHAT MY FRIENDS DO and more than half the school and half of sexting is just talk, teens 60% of the time back out.

Martha - posted on 01/02/2014

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Wow, I am really shocked at some of these hateful responses. This question and this situation comes from place of love. Teaching our children and keeping them safe is the number one goal. I do believe that being open is the best coarse. Looking at the phone together is a good idea. Let your kids understand that what you text is NOT private. It can end up anywhere. I understand the privacy issue. Have a private phone conversation! Texts are not private.

Makayla - posted on 12/31/2013

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Personally being a girl teenager I know we all need our privacy. Parent should know the more over-protective you are....The crazier your child is most-likely going to turn. My parents give me my reasonable privacy and I do not abuse it. There are plenty of friends with over protective parents, what the parents don't know is that they are changing into scandalous clothes during school and going to parties while they are studying at the "library" . With family comes trust.... Without trust what is family? However, I do understand your concern, it is very appropriate and Smart to check up on your child's phone around every 2 to 3 months. But instead of doing it in secret do it with you child. And if you find unpleasant things be calm and discuss what you need to fix. Nothing is worse than walking into your parents to see them snooping through your phone. ( Hasn't happened to me I am very trust-worthy) but no matter how much of angels all us teens seem like.... We all have a rebellious and Darkside every single one of us. So it's fine but do it with your children don't snoop and be in untrustworthy member in the family. Cause I guarantee you you will find something. Just like we would find something on your phone if we snooped through yours. You wouldn't like that now would you? I understand that the parent is the adult but if this would change the other way or flip-flop most parents would be furious. I Already know mine would. I haven't snooped on their phone but I know if I did I wouldn't be happy with everything. Just like you wouldn't be with us. So please respect us and give us our reasonable privacy.

Sam - posted on 12/27/2013

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Good Evening,

Firstly, I somewhat agree with these girls saying that girls need their privacy. It is like walking in on your Dad who is watching porn (from experience - awkward as hell). I mean, teenagers are young but they are also all pretty much the same. Can be sexual, dirty and also throw in the occasional swear words. Come on guys, every teenager does it. Yes, it is disgusting but nothing you can do or say will stop it. Teenagers lie, they go behind their parents back. Yeah, tell me what point you didn't when you were a teen. "Call me old fashioned… bla bla" Yeah well, with that attitude your teen is just going to go behind your back even more. Don't give your child all the freedom in the world, but also I think parents need to realise that at times like these, its hard to do or say anything that would make your child the perfect teen angel, because chances are they won't be.

BEAST - posted on 12/26/2013

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HEY GUESS WHAT BITCH!!!!!!! PEOPLE NEED THEIR FUCKING PRIVACY!!!! SHES 15 YEARS OLD SURE THEIRS GOING TO BE STUFF LIKE THAT ON HER PHONE BITCH!!!!! NOW IF YOU DONT WANT TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS STUFF DONT CHECK HER FUCKIN PHONE MOTHERFUCKING BITCH!!!!

Tguastella - posted on 12/17/2013

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ha very intereting if you were my daughter you wouldnt have a phone at all until yuo could walk , bicycle , or drive to work to pay for it and pay for the car and car insurance and then you would be too busyand too tired from eing responsible to be SEXTING!!! LOL

Tguastella - posted on 12/17/2013

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this is sooo tuff....you want to resepct their privacy but keep them safe...fine line and has to be done respectully. My daughter is smart and very wise for her age of 15 BUT since boys have come into the picture the game has changed...my daughter has changed and its an expected change but again we have a responsibilty to know how they behave and respond and conduct themselves and the only way to do that is too monitor their communications...I am terribly strssed over this becuase I worry but I do communicate with her very openly and she with me but I will tell you that she tells me one thing and feels another based on her texts that I have snooped at....again this is normal but needs to be addressed at times...realy tough situation for parents because they are teenagers and they are gonna lie, mislead etc. good luck and be vigilant

Riley - posted on 12/05/2013

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i am a 14 year old girl. I'm actually doing a for/ against debate project for school about this. after reading many sites and sources i think that parents should be allowed to read texts if need be. for example, i had a friend that was having depression issues and thoughts of suicide and her parents found out by checking her texts... imagine if they hadn't checked her phone? although, i believe that privacy is VERY important and your child is NOT always going to be the perfect little angel you think he/she is. i personally dont do anything dirty on my phone but i dont want my parents to know who i like and arguments im in. i need to be able to handle things on my own and if i want my mom or dads help then i'll go to them. parents should only read them if they notice secrecy or a mood change (for the worst) in their child.... BUT before you go snooping, ask them and give them a chance to tell you about any problems or things theyve done... give us a chance, and if nothing comes out and you are very conserned then i say go ahead and snoop.

Chealsea - posted on 11/25/2013

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DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT SNOOP IT WILL ONLY MAKE YOUR DAUGHTER HATE YOU SHE WILL MOVE OUT AND LEAVE YOU ALONE TO DIE.

Beth - posted on 11/21/2013

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I am confused by all the snooping parents. My daughter is almost 12. I spot check her phone, different times of different days never the same. I look at her and say give me your phone while she is in the middle of texting so that nothing can be deleted.
Then we deal with it immediately if there is any drama or anything inappropriate.
Sexting is disgusting. Really girls? That is like saying it is ok to be that girl that sleeps around, its the same thing. actually its probably worse.
If you are not the go to person for your kids then find someone who can be. My daughter tells me 95% of everything because I deal with it and I do not flip out. Her 20 year old cousin and her godmother are the two people she goes to when she is worried about telling me.
Pay attention to your kids!!! If you dont they will get attention in all the wrong places

Veda - posted on 11/20/2013

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I, a 15 year old girl myself, find it an invasion of privacy for a mother to knowingly snoop through her text messages. if you come across something in her room on accident, an incident like that, I would understand. But, personally snooping is going to make the child feel you don't trust him/her. Yes a 15 year old child has hormones and IS going to 'sext' whether you like it or not. Give them some leniency, what were you doing at their age? And even if you weren't doing exactly what they did, we all have some skeletons in their closet, and I'm sure you've done some thing in your childhood that you aren't so proud of. All-in-all, if you were invading her privacy, and found something. you didn't like, that's YOUR fault and I see no need for it to brought up to the child. They know what they said/did. End of story, yes parents are curious about what their teens are saying, but as long as it's nothing life threatening or harmful to them, there's no nee to flip your lid and yell at the child. If you don't want to see it, don't look for it.

Annie - posted on 11/20/2013

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I had the same thing happen with my 16 yo son. He was acting all gangsta" and trying to be cool; which I know might be just posturing; but he was trying get some friends to buy some drugs!!!!!!!! I know I will be reprimanded by some of you for not seeing this coming.....Backstory: Over a year ago, we have caught him smoking pot and found a pipe. We had a therapist come in and work with him for almost a year. It seemed to be working. His grades were good, he seemed happy, and he promised me he would never do it again.......now I know, even the sweetest of boys can lie.....and I feel like we are even further behind than before!
I have respected him, supported him, loved him, and given him the benefit of the doubt....but this has gone too far. Because I saw that text...(he knows I saw it and we are dealing with that specific infraction. drug testing for 5 different drugs every weekend (found a great source for drugtests online) Grounded, more therapy and drug education, volunteer work and insisting upon good effort/grades - that's the other thing, he's gone from A's and B's to C-s in the past month, and quit playing the sport he loved.)
But, because I saw that text, I am now suspicious of everything. the falling grades, quitting sports, changing friends, lack of motivation.....ALL CLASSIC WARNING SIGNS OF MAJOR DRUG ABUSE right!!!!!? (He denies it, but I know all teenagers lie, so I am moving forward with this as if he is doing other drugs, or selling or even just a lot of pot/heavy drinking with friends, none of which is acceptable to our family).
Because of this, I am now using NETNANNY to see what he's doing online and have come across a tumbler account of his. Everything on it is all gangsta and pot smoking, money and gold jewelry. I know he's not in a gang...
but.... should I be concerned about his online persona (his friends all follow his twitter and tumbler accounts and do the same thing) or just let that be and only focus on things he actually does?

I finally installed a time limit on his computer so I don't have to keep reminding him to shut it down at 10:00......(duh?! I don't know why I didn't do that before...some of his texts, comments were at 1:40 am!!!!)
I feel like this all is getting out of control...I want to trust him because he is a great kid at heart....I just don't want him getting caught up in stuff that's life changing and dangerous!
He knows how we feel, but obviously still does it.....
What do I do?

Enna - posted on 11/18/2013

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Talk to your son about it. He needs to know what's expected from him. And he can't control what the other kids say to him. I did respond to a text my 13 year old got once telling her friend (who I know pretty well) that she wasn't allowed to text things like that to my daughter. It's good if the other kids know that you're checking it too.
I always let my daughter know when I'm checking her phone, though I don't give her time to erase messages. She sent an inappropriate text last week, and got into trouble for it. My husband made her write a fake letter to my grandmother telling her that my daughter was pregnant. The letter never got sent anywhere, because it was not real, but it was a good punishment.She was so mortified. I don't think she'll be talking like that again. (And no, she's not sexually active, but I don't want her talking like that anyway!).

Claire - posted on 11/18/2013

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I have just found innapropriate text MSG on my 12 yr old sons phone, sent by his friend during a sleepover to girls, a lot of sexually innapropriate words. I check his phone monthly for cyber bullying but now I'm not sure weather to confront him and tell him I found it, or just tell him to keep away from the other boy ?.

Makayla - posted on 11/17/2013

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I am a child, 13
And my mother looks through my phone regularly, despite the fact I have nothing to hide. Which makes me not able to trust her, If she does not trust me, how does she suspect to gain mutual trust? I understand it's her phone and she also pays the phone bill, but if she does not trust me with one, why did she give me one?... And snooping through your child's phone makes them more careful about what they are doing. While my text messages were always there and I didn't delete them for months, I now delete every single message after I get it, good and bad. I'm definitely not saying to be best friends with your child, but talk to them about their life. Extremely overprotective parents make the sneakiest children.

C - posted on 11/10/2013

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This is for Barbara B who replied with her problem with her 16 year old. Is your daughter aware that you know she is burning herself? If I were you I would not go at her full throttle and confront her with accusations of lying. You need to step gently and express your concern for her, let her know you love and support her but remind her that you have rules that need to be followed. I actually have a program on my daughters phone that allows me to read her texts messages, however, my daughter is aware of it and also, I am not worried about my daughter as much as others. Good luck, I hope everything works out!

Kilawattee - posted on 11/10/2013

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Why not talk to her about we moms need to be our children's friends. Please do not confront her and give her a chance to explain.


Kala

Ellie - posted on 11/06/2013

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Don't approach this with condemnation - telling her she's a liar, that will worsen things. Approach her with compassion and love. She's obviously in some sort of pain if she's burning herself. Don't blame it on boyfriends or friends either; accusing and separating her from people she admires won't do any good. Tell her you want to help. Tell her you know about the burning. Tell her you love her and you think she's wonderful. Daughters need to hear that her mother thinks she's wonderful. Set her up with a therapist If the need arises: I find that my teenager is much more comfortable with sharing personal info with a complete stranger than she is with me and knowing she's seeing a therapist is also very reassuring. Best of luck to you. Despite all this, you still love her, right? Make sure she knows you love her no matter what. You can show concern, but don't condemn her, whatever you do.

Barbara - posted on 11/06/2013

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My daughter just turned 16. She is a very talented musician and is in the top one percent of her class. She is ambitious and has a very bright future. That is until now. My husband and I thought that everything was fine until I received a call from the school last week telling me that one of her friends reported to a teacher that my daughter was burning herself. I was in total shock. She has always been a "diva" and every little thing in her life is a major event, but I thought that she was just a normal moody teenager. I am still reeling from the shock, but have started her in therapy this week.

Now that I know that I can't trust her, I have been snooping. Something which I have never done before. Last night I looked at her texts and she was talking to this boy who she has only known for a few months. She was telling him what a strict b-tch I am and using all kinds of profanity, something which we don't do in our house. They were also talking about sexual things and what they would like to do to each other. From the text I gathered that they haven't gone all of the way, but they are working their way up a little at a time. Just can't imagine how this could be happening as they are never alone together in our house, unless this is happening under the nose of his mother. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. My daughter is so smart and talented and in the matter of a few months (since she has been hanging around these new friends) her grades have started going down, she has been combative and just isn't the same kid she was. I am so scared that if she continues, she will do something stupid to throw her chances of going to a very good college and throw away a very promising career.

I'm not sure what to do with this information. I would love to tell her what I found, but then I know that she would just get more combative and cover her tracks more than ever. As she has always told me that this boy is just a friend, I decided to ask her again to see if she would still lie to me and she did, becoming very indignant when I told her I think she wasn't telling the truth. After all of the stuff I read, she still had the nerve to lie to me and tell me he is not a boyfriend. I can't imagine why she wouldn't be truthful with me. She has had other boyfriends, but we have very strict rules with them and try never to leave them in a situation alone together totally. Maybe she feels if she tells us he is just a friend we would allow her a little more flexibility and let her be alone with him which we have done before if the boy was just a friend.

Anyway, I never told her why I feel that she is lying or from where I got the information and I am not sure I should. If I do, she will probably go into a tirade and deny, deny, deny even though it is in writing. We also have to worry about her hurting herself if we push her too far.

So, what do I do? Do I tell her where I got the information from and prove that she is a lyer or do I just keep my mouth shut and watch until I feel that that they are going to go too far? I have an appointment with the therapist so I can talk to her about this, but that isn't until next week. In the meantime what do I do? Any helpful thoughts or suggestions?

Tina - posted on 07/29/2013

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Trust and privacy are not an automatic given thing a parent needs to give teens. Teens have to earn it. I read my sons text messages and find nothing wrong with it. If I were to read something disturbing I would confront him. I have set rules which he is clear of. Parents need to be proactive....and parent, even when its difficult.

Nina - posted on 11/20/2012

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I agree that making a big deal out of something that's not isn't the best way to go about things, but that doesn't mean the texts can be deleted before you get a copy if you know what you're doing. ;) As long as your child is aware that it's not personal property and everything is open to your perusal, it's not as much of a problem. If the rules are made ahead of time as suggested, this can be a good thing. If a parent does the proper research before the phone is purchased, many issues can be prevented. Dana is right. A parent can't protect her children from everything - a certain amount of drama is normal wear and tear. There are many ways to be tuned in, but out doesn't hurt to cover all the bases.

User - posted on 11/20/2012

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If it is not illegal or harmful to your teen or someone else, leave it alone. It is a window into what is going on in that child's life and can be very useful tool for you as a parent. If you make a big deal about it, the texts will only be deleted and your ability to gain useful insights gone forever.

Sheena - posted on 11/19/2012

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Did you go looking or accidentally find it? I think this makes a difference in how you approach it. With my teens we discussed us checking the phones before we actually gave it to them. This makes it easier when this situation arises.

Katherine - posted on 11/19/2012

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I feel that you should not read their messages, unless you have a genuine concern.

Kids talk to there parents very different than they do to their friends and a lot of the time they are trying to fit in,

Do not believe what you read is the truth inside their immature minds.

Nikki - posted on 11/18/2012

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If you are encountering things you are uncomortable with concerning your teenager then a discussion is in order. Open communication both ways is key.

Vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv - posted on 11/15/2012

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You should have a talk with her and make her tell the truth. The truth is always better!!

Nina - posted on 11/15/2012

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I think each child is different, however I'm doubtful that sneaking around to check up on a child, as Lisa pointed out, is the most efficient way to build a close bond. If they don't know and they're forced to find out during a difficult or intense confrontation with a parent, he/she loses the authority/high ground of having acted in a trustworthy manner as a parent. A child is often irritated with the knowledge that her parent that involved(aka "nosy"), but knowing is better than an unwelcome surprise and the destruction of trust that occurs upon finding out she's been snooped on. However, I really like the idea that Shannon attempts to be subtle in her efforts to interfere in her daughter's relationships. I believe that if both honesty and subtlety were employed, a child might feel both protected and respected which is what all parents want their children to feel. It definitely encourages open communication as a teenager explores her world while still needing her parent's approval, acceptance and protective safety net.

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