12 Yr old daughter lying, cutting, and talking to men online

Michelle - posted on 08/09/2013 ( 33 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone! This is my first post here and I'm really hoping to find some support/advice with this issue.

My 12 yr old daughter has, within the past year, declared that she is "emo" and has started wearing band t-shirts, eyeliner, and listening to scream-o music. That in itself does not bother me at all (I was goth when I was a kid lol!). However, she had an app called "Kik" which I thought was a kids social network app. Boy was I WRONG. I decided to check her phone and there was disgusting messages to her from God only knows who...We had a long talk about it and I told her that I would be checking her "Kik" every few days and we discussed internet safety etc. So the other day I walk into her room to gather up some laundry and she is skyping with some guy (did I mention that my kid is TWELVE?!?!). Anyway, I walk up to her laptop (which was originally purchased for homework) and look and there on the screen is some dorky looking guy. He looked to be about 18 or 19. I was so upset. I told her to disconnect IMMEDIATELY and her father and I had a long talk with her. We told her she had to get rid of Kik, delete skype and that we would be checking her phone and laptop daily.

The talk went really well and she seemed receptive. Then she says to us, "Ok...I have to tell you guys something...I'm Bi"...My husband and I were completely taken off guard and just kind of stuttered.."Ummm...ok..." This is going to take me some time to digest. So today I go into her room to check her phone and laptop and she was really resistant giving me her phone. Turns out she's been TEXTING with the same guy she was skyping with. I was SO MAD! She says, "Well...I'm not skyping with him and I like talking to him...we talk about music and gaming"...

A little history...she had a cutting incident about a month ago and hubby and I have been scared to death ever since. Her best friend moved away 2 months ago and she has stayed in her room for the most part since then. She has no interest in making other friends etc. We have an appt. with a counselor Monday so I'm hoping it goes well but OH MY GOD...I need help! My sanity is packing its bags and is headed out the door. She's always been strong willed but this is getting crazy. I'm hoping that all of this is just a phase. Any advice/support would be so greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!

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Elizabeth - posted on 08/11/2013

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Forcing therapy on her will only make her resent you. So be careful how it is approached. As far as the talking to men online and stuff, good job for taking all that away, keep up the daily checks, and don't make them at the same time everyday.

As for the cutting, as long as the slashes are side to side, not up and down on her arms, this is a way for her to cope. I used to cut A LOT. It was never suicide attempts, never trying to harm myself. There is a difference between harming and hurting. If she is HARMING herself, ie way too deep, up and down, over arteries, then worry. If she is only hurting herself, shallow, away from arteries, etc then its something she will have to work out. The more you tell her no, the more she will. DON'T do body searches or inspections. This will humiliate her and she will just come up with new places to cut. If she can figure out WHY she cuts, I did it to punish myself for getting bad grades, not As, when boys turned me down, when I dropped the flag in Colour Guard. I also did it when I was so crazy upset I needed to calm down. Cutting releases endorphins that are released when you run or exercise, so it helps calm, those endorphins allow someone to cut and not even feel it. Others use it for the opposite reason. When they feel numb, ignored, invisible, it allows them to see blood, feel pain and realize that they are still alive.
So don't flip out on her over this. It will pass. For me, when I realized I could find the healing and help in Christ I tapered off. I listen to Christian music a lot when I am stressed, also check her B-12 and Vitamin D levels. If these are off then you add supplements and it should help bring her moods to more stable, not making them perfect but deficiencies in these can mimic bipolar so you want to make sure you give her a good foundation

Anna Haroldine - posted on 08/14/2013

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That's good! I'm glad she's starting on the road to recovery. Family time is precious. Yes, whilst personally I think martial arts are great for this, if she is interested in boxing, great! If she enjoys it then thats awesome :D

Anna Haroldine - posted on 08/14/2013

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I don't have much suggestion, but what may help is if you enrol her in a martial arts class. This will maybe help her make friends and there are added advantages.
She will not only learn some self defence but a true martial arts school will teach her self-respect, discipline and self-control. This should help her. Hope this helps, --Anna

Bridget - posted on 08/14/2013

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Everything that you have done, to discipline her, that is good. Telling her to not only, not talk to the guy, but reminding her again that you do not want her talking to him and attempting to take her phone away, you have done everything you could. I say, all that is left to do now is continue reminding her that you do not want her talking to no guy and as far as the phone goes, if she does not want to give you her phone, than let her know you will cut off her phone. Let her know that she has the choice to keep her phone, if she does not talk to no guy on it and, but let her know, also if she decides to go against your word, again and refuse to give you her phone, that you will not only be without a phone to talk on, but also, you will not have the opportunity to have mobile communication with people, anyone, in general, which i do not think she would want. So in doing this, it will still give her freedom of choice and in the same token it will keep you in control of the situation, the way it needs to be. The situation that you are going through with your daughter, is similar to like, when a parent refuses for their child to play with a knife at a certain age. There is a certain age to deal with different issues. Us playing with knives, is not something to be played with, so and because we know it is not something to be played with, we shall not recommend it to children that is 6 and under, all depending on the level of their maturity, but yeah 6 probably being the youngest to use a knife. Same with girls talking to guys. at some point we should learn how to talk to the opposite sex, but as far as your daughter goes, the age that she is, and just what she has showed you as far as her knowing how to have a relationship with a guy, not too well. You and me plainly see that she is not ready to have any type of relationship with a guy right now. As far as this age, goes, this is the time that our girls get periods, this is the time that their hormones start running in every direction, and with that in mind having relationships with guys right now would not be such a good idea. Let me say, also, that there are some girls out there, that can handle having relationships with guys, without any sexual involvement, but still, even at that, because we as parents, being in that boat before, whether if we were those type of girls that were able to resist the temptation or not, it is best to not even give them a taste of that life just yet, because it is just that hard.and so when you talk to her again, let her know about this, also. That way discussing this with her she will get an idea of where you are trying to get at. so anyways, like i said, you are doing a good job, just continue doing what you have been doing, she still wants to disobey than, do what i told what i told you to do. just communicate with her and that should help. as far as that counselor goes i wouldn't even take any advice from them. I am a mommy just like you, the situation that your daughter is going through, now, I went through something similar to that, growing up, so if anybody is going to give you some helpful advice, it's somebody that not only knows what you are going through as a mother, but also, someone that knows what your daughter is going through right now. take my advice, stay strong, and keep reminding yourself that you are still the parent and you still have the rule over your daughter and not her and when that is done, everything should be the way you would have wanted it to be. if you have any comments or questions about this issue, just let me know, I am here to help :).

Angela - posted on 08/13/2013

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Michelle, it's the easiest way to keep a journal, I really would recommend it for ANYONE!!!

You only need your strips of paper with you when you're out and about - or away on vacation etc ....

Roll them into scrolls and place in your jar when you get back home!

Also, though I don't recommend anyone snoops into anyone else's journal jar or leaves their own jar lying around for casual scrutiny, it's probably more secure than writing in a book. Anyone opening the jar and unrolling a scroll to read doesn't know what date the first scroll is that they pick out .... The scrolls are thrown into the jar randomly! But keep your own jar safe and leave anyone else's jar alone.

I do this! I have a journal jar of my own.

33 Comments

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Krystlescreations - posted on 03/10/2015

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Also get your daughter into post hardcore music! \m/ and stop being an overprotective, boring mother.

Krystlescreations - posted on 03/10/2015

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Honestly, you need to see boyinabands video on Internet friends not being real friends. Finding people online is actually better than in real life as we can find specific people with specific interests. How do I know? I have 6 years of online experience with one male friend who I skype with and even have fallen asleep with on Skype.

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2013

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UPDATE: I put very strict parental controls on all of her devices (I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner!). We've been keeping her very busy...she's spending lots of time with family and loving it! She's only been on her laptop for about a total of 4 hours over the last 3 days :) And when she's on there she's just listening to music. We have started implementing mandatory family dinners. Tonight my sister came over and we all ate and played Apples to Apples :) She had a great time! On Monday I took her to her primary doctor and she ordered a blood draw to check her Vit B, Vit D, and Thyroid. She's also switching her anxiety meds (from Zoloft to Lexapro) and she put her on something called Deplin....it's a "medical food"....so weird but it apparently works very well for depression so we'll see!

She honestly really seems to be enjoying the family time. At night she usually goes into her room and plays games on her laptop and listens to music. Tonight, she brought her laptop out to the living room to hang out with us while she played her game (we didn't even ask her to!). I think we're seeing some positive changes and I just can't tell you guys how much I appreciate the kind comments and suggestions that everyone contributed. I think I knew what the right the to do was, but I needed some other moms to tell me it was ok (if that makes any sense?! lol).

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2013

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Thank you Anna! We actually talked to her about joining martial arts and she said "nah...but I think I might like to try boxing!" So I think we're going to look into that :) It will be a good way to get some anger and frustration out :)

I'm also enrolling her in a local non-profit that helps kids with social issues and builds self confidence. I think that is really going to help her a lot!

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2013

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Thank you Bridget! Very good suggestions! I liked your analogy too about how we don't let children of a certain age play with knives and her being on the internet is like letting her play with knives!

Michelle - posted on 08/13/2013

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Angela...what a wonderfully creative idea!!!! I'm going to try that! (And I think I'll make one for myself too! And maybe the hubby!)

Michelle - posted on 08/13/2013

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Kandice I agree lol. I was very goth in high school and I thought I was sooooo cool! I look back now and think WHAT WAS I THINKING!!! But I was an extrovert. My kiddo is very introverted so she tends to keep a lot inside. That's I think, like you said, drawing is a really good thing! :)

Mommy - posted on 08/13/2013

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That's very good. My 16 does a lot "emo" type drawings. It is good for them to get it out and be proud of their drawings. Sometimes I can't help it but inside I chuckle bc some if my daughters drawing are so teenager'ish. I was the same way as a teen so I get it.

Angela - posted on 08/13/2013

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Give her a "journal jar". This can be an ordinary glass or plastic screw-top jar - maybe one that you bought with cooking sauce or mayonnaise in it originally. And several strips of paper - again these can be cut from old envelopes, anything. This is a very inexpensive and easy way to keep a journal.

The "journal keeper" - you, your daughter, whoever! - writes their journal entries, whether good or bad, on a strip of paper, rolls it up into a scroll then pops it into the jar. Anything private, negative or bad that they didn't want to be seen can be removed and destroyed at a later point, or even immediately. The good, happy memories can be kept and re-read. When she wants to remove and destroy something that's scrolled up in her journal jar, chances are she might pick up and unroll a few scrolls which document some HAPPY or PLEASANT memories/experiences whilst looking for it! Bonus!

The most private and personal journal scrolls can even be kept in a smaller jar that she carries about with her for security (e.g. a mustard or spice jar).

You don't go snooping into her jar. Ever! But you might decide to keep your own journal/jar!

Any jar will do for this project. The jar can be artistically decorated if the journal keeper wishes.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/13/2013

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Oh ouch.....calling me a bitch in a very indirect way. That hurts.

Yes, i read your post, and you essentially said if she does it a certain way, it is fine for a release. I am sorry you have had your own issues with cutting, but anyone will tell you cutting is from something deeper that needs to be addressed and treated. I was not being judgmental. See it as you want.

Cutting is never ok.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/12/2013

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Little Miss how about NOT being a judgemental female dog?! First off re-read my comment. I NEVER said it was ok or the best option. Just it's not as severe as people portray it. Cutting shows that the coping mechanisms we are supposed to learn as babies/toddlers/young children aren't there. Even a family who loves their kids, no abuse or being yanked from the home can have children who don't learn. If there was a severe illness, loss of a pet, or other family member. Any kind of trauma as a youngster. These can cause a break in the child/parent relationship and cause deep seated issues when it looks like there should be no problem.

Delana - posted on 08/12/2013

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Like I said, I even went as far as burning it if it was that personal. Journals aren't for everyone but it did help me. Thank you so much for your kind words and I do honestly hope that what I said helped and that you all get through all of this sooner rather than later. ; )

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2013

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Delana you sound like a very good person and a very good mother! Thank you again for the encouragement! It means more than you know! I think I have cried more in the last week than I have in ten years...but I know that good often comes from bad and you have to go through tough times to appreciate the good times!

I mentioned a journal to her but she said she didn't want to do that. She definitely has trust issues with me now since I went through her phone & computer but I'm going to mention your idea about shredding the paper after she writes it!

Delana - posted on 08/12/2013

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She may not go to them now, but like you said at least she knows that they are there for her if she were to need them. I think the thing that helped me the most with it was my journal. I didn't keep it, I just would write things down when something would happen or when I would get upset. & then I would take it and burn it or rip it up in a million pieces. That way I knew no one was reading it and I could still get it out without the worry of being judged or anything else. & although she is mad at you now for setting parental controls she will thank you when she is older. As I have with my parents. I hated it then, when I had to give them passwords, emails, etc. But now I know had they not done that the road I headed down could have been much worse. I am thankful that I had great parents who were willing to have me "hate" them just to protect me. I can see that you are a great parent just from reading the post on here and your replies. You are doing all you can for her & like I said she will thank you in the long run. & you are welcome, I hate to see any child going through what she is going through, but I also hate to see you going through what I put my parents through. I hope that the therapy sessions do help her. But more than anything I think family time is more important. Keeping her occupied, because that was a lot of my problem, even though I went to a counselor I didn't care what she said and didn't want the help/didn't think I needed it. So until I did want it, I didn't get much from it. I pray that she goes in and takes the help. (not that anything is wrong with her, just that everyone needs an outside person to talk to sometimes) Maybe you should even do a joined therapy session. Where you both go in and talk about what is going on. (just a suggestion) She can't get in trouble for what she says, it's an open discussion... & counselor is like the mediator. That way she can tell you how she feels with out feeling like she will be grounded for something, and you can tell her your problems with how she has been acting etc. I truly hope that all goes well for you both. The roads I have traveled both good/bad have made me the person and mother I am today. I like to think that that is a good person. We all make mistakes in life and though this is a rough patch for you both as my parents told me, it made me a better woman and them better parents! ; )

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2013

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Delana...thank you VERY much! I'm very sorry that you went through something similar when you were young but I'm very happy to hear that you are ok now! It's very encouraging to hear that too!

I showed my daughter a couple of websites yesterday (boystown.org and yourlifeyourvoice.com). They are both great sites for support for kids. She was like "Ok great, but I'm not going to go to those sites". I said Ok, but they're there if you need them. She is very angry with me for putting super strict parental controls on her phone/laptop but I'd rather have her mad at me and safe than happy with me and in danger!!!
Again I really appreciate your suggestions and kind words! :)

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2013

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Kandice...thank you so very much for your kind, encouraging words! She actually is very big into drawing! We're encouraging that a lot. She is very good at it and while her drawings are dark I think it's a positive way to express herself. She was in her room tonight drawing and came out to show my husband and me what she had drawn. To me that is a good sign :)

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2013

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Thank you very much Little Miss...She had her first therapy session tonight...I think it's going to take a very long time to break down her wall. But I told her afterward that I know she is in a dark place and that I am there with her and I will do everything in my power to get her the help she needs.

Also, I've been keeping her very busy! She spent the day with my sister today, tomorrow she's hanging out with my in laws, Wednesday we have something planned as a family, my moms house on Friday etc. This seems to have helped a lot as she has seemed A LOT better. My plan is to surround her with family and give her as much attention and TLC that she can take :) I really appreciate your advice! Thank you so much!

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2013

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Elizabeth...WOW! Thank you so much!!! I am really trying to keep my cool with the cutting (it's funny...I have my masters degree in social work and I counsel people everyday but when it's in your family it's funny how you kind of forget everything and immediately panic!). She had her first counseling session tonight and was very aloof and stand offish. BUT she told my sister today that she was excited to go to see the therapist so who knows.

It was VERY interesting that you said to check her B12 & Vit-D. She had routine bloodwork done a few months ago and her Vid-D levels were VERY low. The doctor put her on prescription Vit-D every week for 6 weeks but we haven't checked her blood since. I'm so glad that you mentioned this as I didn't even think of it! We're going to the doctor tomorrow to discuss meds and I'm definitely going to bring the Vit-D and B12 up!

Delana - posted on 08/12/2013

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I went through a lot of what you are saying your daughter seems to be dealing with right now. I had an incident happen to me when I was about 15 and I went down hill from there. I began scratching... not cutting because I was too scared to really hurt myself. But I wanted some type of physical pain, because the emotional was overbearing. I didn't want to spend time with my family, I constantly locked myself in my bedroom. I wanted nothing to do with anyone. I stayed on my phone and out of the house as much as possible. My parents from the get go made me give them my email and password to my Myspace or anything else like that I had so that they could at any point in time get on there and see what I was saying/doing. & see who I was speaking with. I did go see a counselor for my problems, but when I was forced to go, I did resent my parents. It made me feel like they felt like I was crazy or something was seriously wrong with me. & to me nothing was wrong I was just dealing with crap in my own way. I would have her find a website with other young teens on it that she could communicate with about her problems, like you found this one for moms. I'm sure there is one out there for her. I would also suggest she right in a journal. Let her know she doesn't have to share it with you unless she wants to. & don't invade her and read it, because then that will escalate the problems. As for her being bi, though it may be a shock to you, she may not be bi. A lot of young girls are (what we called it in school) bi-curious. They just want to explore options. I know this may sound bad, but at least she's not experimenting with drugs or anything like that. If she does in fact come out and say she wants/is dating a girl, then I would just make the rules the same for that girl as if she was dating a boy. (And clearly she isn't really dating, she isn't going anywhere she is 12, but they consider it dating) I hope that this is just a phase for her as teens go through many. I can't imagine going through what you are and I wish you the best of luck.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/12/2013

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I am not going to read any other comments first, I am just going to write my responce. First off, get that girl into therapy. If she is a cutter, she needs help and clearly has issues regardless.

Second, get all texting and internet connection cut off of her phone asap. it can be used for phone call emergencies only. If this is not an option, the phone is no longer hers. She is 12, and does NOT need a cell phone.

Third, a computer or laptop should ONLY be in a family community area. SHE IS 12!! She does NOT need privacy on the computer, and her actions are proving that.

Talk with her about her body, chages etc. Teach her about sex, her period, what happens to her body during puberty, and what happens with boys, protecting herself against pregnancy and std's, and educate her on what saying "NO" means in sexual circumstances. Define for her what rape is, and molestation. Talk to her about masturbation. You need to talk with your daughter about all of this so she is well versed, cause she looks like she is headed down a scary road. Also talk with her about what statutory rape is.

Mommy - posted on 08/12/2013

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I would take her off the Internet and phone completely not as punishment but as protection. There are tons of sneaky ways for pervs to find a girl on there, especially a depressed one. I think without meaning to her being on all that will depress her more. It's one of those things that I think it doesn't work I ration it out if she ha some sort of addiction or is using it for "wrong" reasons. Sort of like a alcoholic. My daughter's have been through some of the same things as yours, and so have I as a teen. She has emotions that she doesn't know how to deal with yet. Is she into art or poetry? I'd try to get her to vent creatively. I know it's simple but I'd also go for walks with her I you can, to talk and just get her body moving to make her feel better and distract her from her darker thoughts. The good thing is that's its just a phase of life we go through as a teen, but the Internet opens up an awful place for teenagers dealing with self esteem issues. The cutting is a cry out for attention. Good luck you sound like a good mom, it's very good you notice what's going on with her.

Natasha - posted on 08/09/2013

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You are more than welcome :) if I can ever give anymore advice just let me know

Natasha - posted on 08/09/2013

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No I was never touched innappropriatly, I was made fun of a lot however, and I too have anxiety and depression issues but i have never taken any medication for it. I think my pain derived from not being accepted by kids my own age, because I never wore the most up-to-date clothes or shoes, and I was somewhat overweight, which just made me feel worse about myself. And the journal has worked wonders for me, it was actually my counselors idea, but I found poetry to be a way that I could not just relieve stress but express how I was feeling day to day. Another thing I did was play softball, I don't know if your daughter is into that kind of stuff, but I'm sure she would love taking some frustration out in a batting cage. But yes I'm sure there is something triggering her actions lately, it may be that she's struggling with her sexuality, I did too, and her best friend moving away probably didn't help either. But I am confident that you will help her find ways to cope and eventually overcome her problems :)

Michelle - posted on 08/09/2013

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Natasha...thank you SO much for sharing that with me! I am so very glad that you are doing better now and that you are able to resist the self harm. Your story has given me hope that I can somehow pull my daughter out of this black hole she is in. I forgot to mention in the original post that she suffers from anxiety and depression and is on antidepressants. If you don't mind me asking, was there a specific reason for the pain you were feeling inside? My kiddo is an only child and we've always been very close. I cannot for the life of me think of what has happened in her life that would have caused her such pain and anguish. I ask her, "were you touched inappropriately?" "were you bullied?" Everything I ask her she always replies "no". But she is VERY good about keeping things inside. Thank you again so much for your kind words! And I like your idea about a journal! I'm going to try that! :)

Natasha - posted on 08/09/2013

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I used to cut myself when I was younger, I started when I was about 13 and didn't completely stop until I was 17. And it sounds like your daughter may be having some of the same probems I was. For me it was stress relief, and a way to get away from the pain I was feeling inside, as crazy as that sounds. I also began talking to older guys, it made me feel special and accepted unlike with peers my own age. I began seeing a counselor at my school in 8th grade and it took awhile, but 3 years after I wasn't cutting anymore. Yes I still have urges to every now and again, but I overcome them by doing something productive, also you could try giving her a journal to write in everyday, it doesn't matter what, a story, what happened that day, or poetry. I sincerely hope this helps. I would be more than happy to help more if I can.

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