My 12 year old is lying and keeping secrets.

Lindsey - posted on 05/08/2012 ( 30 moms have responded )

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Hello Everyone, th is my first time using this site. I could really use some advice right now about my 12 yr old daughter.



It seems as though for the past year or so my daughter has become very secretive. She is not very forthcoming when I try to talk to her about friends or what happening in school. She hides her phone at bedtime.



Against my better judgement, I allowed her to start a Facebook account, in which, I had access to. She was banned from using it shortly thereafter for inappropriate comments and language



I just found out that she has signed back on to FB without my knowing. I was able to sign on to her account...what I read on her pages made me sick to my stomach. She made a explicit references about male body parts. I cant believe the things she an her

friends were talking about and the words they were using.



I confronted her, took her phone away. I don't know how to handle this. I've talked to her time and time again about loving and respecting herself, about the importance of trust and honesty. My husband and I are trying to raise her in a Godly way....but I'm afraid if I push the being a Christian on her too much it will make things worse...it could make her resentful.



I take part of the blame for her behavior. I tend to be on the overprotective-side, and I can overreact at times(which I have been praying about and working on). I hope and pray I can steer her in the right direction. Any advice would be appreciated.



Sorry for the long story!!

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Shawnn - posted on 05/09/2012

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In my home, dishonesty is punishable by removal of privileges. She's hiding the phone? Why does she even have a phone at this point, if she's being dishonest, and disrespectful? Why does she have computer access that is not monitored by an adult?



She's 12. Facebook rules say that you must be 13 to have your own account, so she broke the rules, and you let her. Why do you think she thinks lying is ok? Because you let her break the rules with Facebook. And I bet that you didn't just let that one little slip happen, I bet that was the end of a lot of "little" things that you probably thought "oh, won't hurt to do that"...



When our children see that we allow deceptive behavior (FB pages underage for example), they get the impression that deception is ok, and they continue to practice it.



The language that so shocks you can be heard pretty much any day, any time, anywhere, including school yards, television, and even in the home, or the homes of friends. She's testing that independence that she's created for herself through deception. Honestly, At this point, my kids would both be doing volunteer work somewhere, probably a shelter situation of some type, to learn the value of what they have been provided with.



You can talk and talk and talk until you're blue in the face, but until you start enforcing some punishment, she's going to do exactly the same things she was doing, only the next time she'll be even more secretive. Time to sit her down with solid consequences for her actions. Move the computer into a public area of the house. Put it under full parental control. Cell phone goes away until she can prove that she'll be responsible. CHORES start to happen.



Yes, my kids went thru the lying phase too. It lasted (with the oldest) one day. He lied, he got caught, he figured out pretty darn quick that he'd better not do that again. My youngest? Lies, gets caught, gets punished, does great for awhile until something happens that he thinks he's going to be in trouble for, so he lies, gets caught, gets WORSE punishment for not being honest in the first place.



Punishment in my house varies from picking up after the dogs daily to laundry, dishes, errands, extra chores as needed at the time. None of this is compensated, except the gas to run errands. I might add that these are their regular chores, that they normally get compensated for, and should the deception involve any monetary amount, they work to pay off that amount. Currently the youngest is working to pay off the repair bill for his cello, and the eldest is working to pay me back for the money that I wasted sending him to Germany. (he failed his german class, thus the money is owed me. Had he passed his class, the money would have never been mentioned.)



In other words, the stuff that they normally do for allowance purposes now is done for free.



Other punishments include writing apologies to any who have been affected, community service volunteering, helping clean neighbor's yards, sheds, etc, and in an extreme case, being sent to our cousin's pig farm for 2 weeks to learn REAL shitwork.



Ye who spareth the rod shall spoil the child. Time to get the "rod" out, in whichever form you see fit.



Dang, sorry for the novella! Best of luck with your girl, whatever you decide.

Verona - posted on 05/10/2012

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Raising a middle schooler isn't easy! They're "smelling" themselves right now; going thru all kinds of changes with their bodies, no longer little kids, not quite big kids, trying to figure out where they fit in. Although I think it's harder for the girls (thank God I have a boy!), they will test and see what they can get away with.
I don't know what type of relationship the two of you have, but she needs you now more than ever. She needs your guidance and direction, whether she admits it or not. You said that you've talked to her time and time again about loving and respecting herself. Don't stop. She's listening, even if it doesn't seem like she is. Don't be afraid to discipline her either. Good for you for taking her phone away. Parenting isn't for punks! God's Word says "Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it!" That's a promise! Why would you blame yourself? Keep praying for her and that you and your husband will be the parent that SHE needs (not that everyone is, or you think everyone expects you to be).
My 12 year old son and I are very close and we talk about everything! He comes to me with some doozies, but I'd rather he come to me that his goofy friends. I've established early in our relationship that he could come to me with anything and talk to me about anything. I let him know that his friends are dumb and don't know more than his dad and I, and we'll always be honest with him. He started asking about sex at about 7 or 8...whatever he wanted to know, we told him, we were transparent (pretty much). Some of the kids in grade are afraid to talk to their parents about questions they have and he's not. He talks to me about the girls he likes, about going thru puberty. He's talked to me about the urge to want to curse and what I thought about it. He tells me when the kids in class say inappropriate things. He tells on himself when he does something he shouldn't. He knows that I won't approve of everything, but that I'm going to be there thru everything and love him thru everything. I also make my home the hang out spot. His boys can come over (so I can know all of his friends) and hang out. I take them places - they've become comfortable enough to talk to me.
In essence, what I'm trying to give to you is to make sure you're approachable, and maybe try having her invite some of her friends over (so you can see who she's hanging around). She's trying to find her place. Trying to fit in. Make sure you and your husband are validating her. Building her up, telling her she's smart, pretty, etc. Make sure she knows she's loved and gets the attention she needs. Girls self esteem is really tested during this time and they can do some crazy things!

Okay...so mine was way longer than yours but I really hope it helps!

Joanne - posted on 05/10/2012

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Hi Lindsey, I also have a 12 year old daughter and so I know the challenge. I certainly agree with setting clear boundaries, however, I really don't believe locking everything down works. I believe it just encourages them to find other ways, peer pressure being so great.... which in fact may lead to the lying and secrecy. I think you may need to get to the root of the problem..... why is she lying, why the secrecy? Maybe concentrate on working on increasing her trust in you to let her know that you are there for her and the reason you are protective is because you care and you want her to be safe and happy. There will be many times when she's really going to need your advice but may be afraid to turn to you because she may fear your re-action. Re-affirm that any problems she has you will always be there to work them through with her.

Do you spend much 1:1 time with her? Maybe doing girly things together, allowing her to feel grown up... go and get your nails painted together, or hair done together (or even having some girly time at home) maybe get her to decide where or what she'd like to do?. What about activities maybe sport..... could you all learn to play tennis together, or go swimming together or something else? The one thing I find is that the hormones really kick in at this age and my daughter's emotions are all over the place.... I find increasing the amount of exercise we all do really helps alleviate it. Also, does your daughter talk to you much about her day, her friendships, squabble, worries? How open is she with you? I know that my daughter is far more manageable when I make time for her alone and I listen to her problems as and when she tells me, however small and silly they seem to be. I also try to encourage her to feel strong and confident enough to be independent and do what she wants to do, not always give in to peer pressure. Here's a link to some other tips too http://life.familyeducation.com/adolesce... Also remind her that you are not perfect either but you are doing your best to give her the best. I wish you well.

Robin - posted on 05/10/2012

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I would be worried, too, and don't think there is a "right" answer. As an outsider I can make some observations though.

At her age (and one of the commenters son's age) it is natural to be interested in body parts, sexuality, and so forth. Seeing nude pictures online is one thing, or body parts, but in the case of porn it often involves sexual acts that they are too young to be exposed to. I agree with the commenter who advocated the educational conversation, of course. Also she needs to know that writing about male body parts and sex often invites unwelcome advances, date rape, etc, since her peers might believe that she is interested by her language. In addition, when she gets older and a profession, employers sometimes monitor facebook, and for all we know what we write never goes away.

None of this addresses your main concern, the lying and secrecy. I believe that tweens and teenagers begin to want secrecy because they are curious and ashamed of being curious, or they don't think their parents would approve. It also could be embarrassing to be curious about sexuality. But secrecy could also mean that they are doing something they aren't supposed to. So its a fine line, how much privacy to give them. Certainly for a 12 year old, shutting down her FB account was appropriate since she shouldn't be on it. But even when she is 13, it sounds like she will need some supervision.

A comment about pushing too hard: you are right, it could backfire. You don't have to phrase things in terms of being Christian though. Christians are curious about sex, too. Being loving and respectful is important, regardless of religion. So the lesson that using foul language and speaking about body parts and sexuality openly in a forum where peers and strangers can see it all is not respecting herself or them, and could really invite danger. I think the danger and safety aspect of this whole thing is the biggest concern, as well as her reputation amongst her peers.

Sarah - posted on 05/08/2012

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Is there a youth group at your church? Maybe hanging around other kids in a supervised way might help her to realize that she can have fun and be a teenager without the pressure for sex. IMO, she's way too young for free Internet access and a cell phone. I think these things provide far too much freedom and information to children that they aren't socially or emotionally ready to deal with yet. It could be that she's going with the flow, so to speak.. Maybe since all her friends are talking that way she it too? Maybe keep her tighter to you right now until she can prove herself to be more responsible and trustworthy might be in her best interest. She may not like it, but you're the parents, you set the rules.

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Michelle - posted on 07/01/2012

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hello! I can relate to your story in part! I have a 12 year old daughter who I am bringing up on my own! it is difficult these days! there are so many influences in all our lives which make us choose the right or wrong decisions! but it is all part of growing up! I have batisped/christened my daughter when she was less than a year old because its the faith I grew up in, but I did not enforce my opinion of religion on her as I felt she needed to choose! I taught my daughter to not judge anyone by their race creed or colour, she will let people into their lives and will judge them by the actions by which they decide to choose! yes she is now 12 and being secretive but I have her passwords for all her accounts and she knows I look at them! yes we have our arguements about what goes on! but I trust her! she can make the decisions she needs too! we have talked about sex and what happens between men and women! but also I have talked about gay and lesbian relationships because many of my friends are either straight, gay, lesbian or bi-sexual! unfortunately we would all like to protect our children from what should happen and what should be, but we cannot these days! if we are too enter a time where prejudice is a thing of the past we have too start looking now! xx

Deb - posted on 05/11/2012

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I agree with Shawn Lively. I am going through the same type of thing with our 13 y.o. 15 y.o granddaughters we have adopted and are raising. We even go as far as if you have committed the offense against someone in the household you will do their chores,as well. They throw fits anytime demands are place on them to do anything, chores which are not many with 6 people in the house, Myself, my husband, 17 y.o. daughter and 15 y.o. son, and those two. Chores usually don't take over 15 minutes if they keep up with it everyday. They want to yell at me if they don't have clothes to wear and I say well why are they not in the hampers in the utility room. I am not going in your room and picking them up off the floor. I used to spend all day cleaning house from one room to the next but I don't do it anymore if it's their stuff they are going to take care of it. If they don't it goes into a box and they have to earn it back. The 2 girls have been with us for 11 years. So you would think that rebellious streak would be out of them by now, but it is not. They take things that belong to my youngest daughter and I all the time. They say they are borrowing it and I say when you don't ask permission it is stealing. The 15 y.o. does not have a phone because she has taken mine from time to time without permission. She went as far as to get the law involved by sending nude pics to a boy last fall and she has no remorse for wrong doing! She got out of it because the boy she sent them to was 18 and they went after him. She sat the winter out of Color guard because of that one, and now won't get her plaque and blanket for 4 years of participating. You'd thought that would have been enough to straighten her up. She will start the tears to make people think she is sorry but she is not. She'll be right back at the same thing again! She had councilors that gave up on trying to help her. They soon found out she was just playing them. We got her an I-pod nano for Christmas. I had put it in another box before wrapping it because it is so small and I didn't want it to get stepped on or anything while under the tree. upon receiving it Christmas. She didn't open the box to see what was in it. She looked at the outside of the box and thought that it was a pair of ear muffs and threw it across the room and it hit the wall and bounced back to me. My husband started to open it and show her what it was. I said no give it to me. I waited until everyone was done and opened it , showed it to her and she said give it to me! I said no, now you do not get it until you can prove to me you can appreciate things. Well that has yet to happen. She keeps asking for it and I say no you just keep getting in trouble. She took her championship ring to school and I told her not to. She snuck it out of the house on a chain from my jewelry box so there was two things she had done wrong. The chain broke and she dropped it. Someone else found it. Her name is engraved in it so they called me. I now have the ring. She has extra chores she is suppose to do to earn things back, she refuses to do them. She will say if you don't give me..... I don't do..... I said well then you won't get.... I'm the parent and your the child and I am responsible for you until your 18 and you'd better learn that. I continue to report things to the police when necessary. They have to at least keep a record whether they act on it or not. behavioral therapist have told us to just be consistent and keep disciplining the way we have been. Bad behavior has to equal consequences. My son, her father, and his wife was as rebellious as she is now and it landed them into trouble that they didn't get out of for a long time. That is why I have the girls. At 38 y.o. he has finally learned a few years ago, it is best to follow rules and laws.

Shawnn - posted on 05/11/2012

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Lindsay, are you aware of a "sin of omission"...Just because you did not educate yourself on FB rules, and allowed your daughter to open that account doesn't mean that you didn't imply (to her) that the deception of the altered birthdate was ok. It was your responsibility as a parent to make sure you knew the rules, because SHE knew darn good and well that she was breaking them, and that you weren't aware.

I'm sorry, but that's the way it works. I'll continue to pray for both of you.

Vivian - posted on 05/11/2012

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Make your house the place to hang out, have sleepovers, food for teens, open your house to a weekly bible study. She needs more supervision and you need to be there to provide it. Try to only work when your teen is in school. Now is the time to lock away alcohol and prescription medications because those are the drugs most kids begin with and they steal them from home!

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Prayers are always welcome! Thank you it means a lot. I have faith that God will see me through.

Susan - posted on 05/11/2012

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Make sure your computer is in a public place in the house so you are aware of what is going on and have a password to access the internet so that she cannot go on it when you are not there. I wouldn't worry about being overproctective because obviously your intuition is right. Tough love is the answer. The older she gets the harder it will be to limit her from those kinds of things so take care of it NOW with no empty threts. More so than church groups, make sure you are spending quality time with your daughter and that will help raise her self esteem.

Ann - posted on 05/11/2012

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Hi there.. I Will start by saying that most preteens go through the same things.. It's a lot of pressure for them to handle going into teenager mode.. Having to deal with more than we can believe. I have to girls,a 13 year old and a 15 year old. We are from a born again Christian back ground. I wanted to address the Christian aspect of what you said. My home and my family is based on the word of God. Actions and corrections are maybe by what's in the bible. Religion is never pushed and Gid is never used as a clutched. Praying about situations and getting your church members to pray with you is a huge help. When it comes to deciplining my girls I always explain, every action have its conquence .. Finding the things they love most is what I used to help with their conquesces.
Please remember the most important thing is to love her and spend time with her at this time. I used to counsel teenagers and one of the most things that was said is that my parents are to busy,am never heard,am not important and the list goes on.. She needs to have just mommy time. Family time and not any time right now after school sleep overs,hanging with friends and I think you got the ideas ..
You are a child of God,pray for her,pray for directions,pray in her room. God is not dead,he alive,he is powerfully. This to He can see you though.. Sometimes we forget to ask Him and dig deeper,about what to do today and I can go on and on..
But you have the answer in you ... Discipline and love
I'll be praying for you
Best of luck
Social worker

Donde - posted on 05/10/2012

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Hi Lindsey!
I agree with Sarah. There has to be some sort of youth group within your church that could help you and your Daughter. I hear your cries for help! I have a 12 year old Son that I am trying to bring up in a Christian environment. It is difficult with the rest of the world pushing him in opposite directions. My advice is to always listen to your Daughter and if you feel she is in trouble, then by all means you are doing the right thing by stepping in. You are the Parent and your just acting as such. I feel if the child is doing things to make you not trust them, then it's understandable that you would need to keep a tighter watch on her until she shows you that she can be responsible. I will pray for you!
Donde

Betsy - posted on 05/10/2012

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try some positive reinforcement. negative consequences tend to make matters worse. have her do chores or something to earn time back on fb or to earn her phone back. take baby steps and help her to earn your trust again.

Reseda - posted on 05/10/2012

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I too have a 12 year old old daughter, and thankfully I haven't had any problems with her yet. However, I know that her friends and classmates are all going through the same things as everyone on this post has been talking about. My best defense to the terrible tweens has been communication. I started having conversations with my daughter years ago in preparation for what was to come, so by the time she started experiencing things - boys, drugs, drinking, body changes - she knew what was happening and wasn't taken by surprise. Also, I listen to everything my daughter has to say whether it's school or personal related, and don't get upset when she talks to me - yes, even when it's something bad. I don't want her to ever be scared of coming to me, but know I'm willing to listen to her and offer her advice. It seems to have worked so well, her friends ask her to ask me questions for them! Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "friend" nor do I let her get away with anything, she knows she has rules and what will happen if they aren't followed. But I also want her to grow up in an environment that is open, honest and trusting.

Are you friends with any of the parents of her friends or in her class? If so, you could talk with those parents to get another perspective and perhaps get more texture of the situation.

Kimm - posted on 05/10/2012

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How involved is her father with her, could be they may need to spend more time together. What type of friends is she hanging with? If you are not thrilled with her mates I would make it hard to hang with them alone. You could only allow her to hang with them at your house when an adult is home. If they are bad news they will not like it so will start cutting ties with her themselves. Kids don't come with a mannual. You have to make her understand consquenses come from her actions. I made one of our children go to the Sr center and read for the folks there for one day a week for a month for lying one time. What about 4-H great program does not have to be farm animals they can do pocket pets, cats, dogs. Most kids I have seen in 4-H are pretty good kids. Call your local extension office ask what different programs they have.

Angie - posted on 05/10/2012

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Hi, idk if anyone else said any of the same I'm about to say, but I have a 12 yr old too that I'm kind of going thru this with too. I took her on a car ride to the store and we talked, well I did most of the talking, but anyway, I told her in order for me to trust her she needs to be open n honest with me. My husband is kind of strict and she don't want him knowing some stuff. He is aware of some, and I asked him if he wants to know if she has a boyfriend, ECT. He said no. So I told her I won't go to him unless I feel I need to. So if she is honest and talks to me and I'm comfortable with her honesty, then I don't need to go to him. I keep him up to date, but not with great detail, and he is fine with that. This will show her that she can trust me and we are slowly building a better relationship. This might not work for others, but I'm just telling u what is slowly working for me. I don't believe in lying,cheating or stealing, but I do believe in helping my kids develope into successful, confident, trusting adults. What works for one kid may not work for another. I have 4 kids, she is the 3rd of the 4. I didn't have to go thru this with the other 2. Good luck!

Meg - posted on 05/10/2012

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You said you have been overprotective and have overreacted at times...this can make even a "good" kid lie. How are her grades? How does she treat others in the family? Does she do the chores she's asked to do in a responsible way? In other words...what is the whole character picture? If overall she's doing pretty well, then you might want to sit down and calmly ask her why she feels she has to lie. Relate an example from your own childhood near her age where you either felt the rules were too strict, or you knew someone else who did. Girls that age tend to forget that their moms were young girls once, too! I wouldn't be too concerned about the "explicit" posts between her and her girlfriend. I remember being 13 and going to the one bookstore in town that had a paperback book that talked about sex and had some pretty explicit pictures in it. My girlfriends and I hid in the corner behind the rack and said the words out loud to each other, giggling the whole time. The shock of hearing it and saying it was a "naughty" thrill! Try not to over-react. Try to explain YOUR feelings when you find out she has lied to you. Most likely she is not trying to intentionally hurt you or get into actual trouble...just pushing the boundaries.

Sharon - posted on 05/10/2012

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I had some of the same issues with my son. First of all, I had to stop trying to find "blame" for his behavior and attack the issue head on. It's never wrong to talk the "God" thing! How you approach that may make a difference. Does she have a "Youth Pastor" who is competent to help you out? I ask that because some youth leaders are good in one area but aren't mature enough to handle these major issues. The more I was able to get my son involved in the youth group and other interests that we could participate in, such as sports, the less problems we had. Positive reinforcement is always better when possible. There comes a time when you have to be straight forward and say, "this is how it's going to be in this house!"

I am an advocate of looking into my child private affairs. I believe it's Biblical! How can we lead them if we don't know where they are!

Miranda - posted on 05/10/2012

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I'm sorry you are going thru such a stage. I was the same way as a teen but the reasons were b/c so many ppl around me was doing it. I hurt my mother so bad and now I'm a mother my self I make sure to talk to my kids about some of the things I went thru. There's ways to see what she is doing on the comp. W/out checking in, its software and also if u have a smartphone there's an app. That u can see what's she's is texting and what they are texting to her. You have to let her know her worth and make sure she demnds respect for other or they will look at her a dif. Type of way. I know your in a"idk what to do" mode but I agree w/the woman that said do some one on on and just install it into her head she's better than this and be a leader n not a follower! I hope all goes well & ur trying as much as you can.. respect!

Michelle - posted on 05/10/2012

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Well there are a lot of good ideas here I agree with a lot of them a phone and Internet for your daughters age shouldn't be allowed to deal with her disobedience I suggest u start your own bible study group you have your daughter bring some of her friends over if it is okay with their parents of course and you discuss it with them I have learned that kids today need something else to occupy their time instead of the stuff you don't want them doing you can also get out plant some trees or pick up trash there are a lot of things you can do to get your little rebel back to bein a little angel and you could always just sit her down and tell her we aren't leave this table until everything is talked about

Valerie - posted on 05/10/2012

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I haven't read many of the responses so I apologize in advance if I am repeating things that have already been said. I have twin 16 year old girls. They are in a lot of trouble and addicted to drugs.. I am not saying this will automatically happen to your daughter, but I am also not saying it won't. Their troubles started around 7th grade (age 12) with smaller things like lying and starting with some risky behavior similar to what you found on your daughters facebook- talking (or typing I guess it would be) in that manner, and as I later found out, dabbling in drinking alcohol and trying whatever was offered, which here 7th grade is middle school, so it's very similar to the access kids have to drugs and alcohol in high school. My best advice is to listen, even to the lies. Read into them, find out what's going on. If she's hiding her cell phone from you, then there;s good reason, which is also good reason for her to not have one as she is quite possibly using it inappropriately. Girls at this age LOVE the attention they start getting from boys... and it can really escalate from there into many things.. Good luck to you, and I hope your daughter is just in a small rebellion phase and doesn't take it to the levels my daughters have,.... I now have both of mine in juvenile hall and drug treatment programs. The only plus is that with all the treatmnent and counseling, they are really honest with me now, and have told me how and when this all started.. it all started around age 12-13 ... it's a critical age where their choices now will really shape their future. Get to know her friends, her friends parents, let her know you are there watching and caring about what she is doing and who she is doing it with. Such a hard age for both the teen girls and the parents.. I wish you lots of luck!

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Lock the computer. If you run Windows, it's very easy to do. She no longer has a right to it. When my son was 13, I caught him downloading porn and I immediately put the parental controls on high and restricted his ability to use teh computer.

I think some family counseling is in order because she's clearly learning stuff that it uncomfortable.

She also should not have a cell phone to herself until she begins to respect your household. No child will die from not having one.

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I didnt allow her to lie, because I failed to educate myself to the rules of FB...i allowed her to start an account. I was not aware of that age requirement on FB. All her privileges has been taken away. My children have chores each week that they get allowances for. They have rules and boundaries, they are aware that there are consequences for making bad choices. I let my guard down with her...I didn't think she was capable of doing something like that.

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Yes, we have had that discussion. But to be honest, my concern is about the lying and disobedience right now.

Dove - posted on 05/09/2012

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Have you had a full blown sex talk with her yet? Informing her of all types of birth control and their failure rates? Showing her pictures of STD's and what they can do to her and her body? Explaining the cost and responsibility of raising a baby from conception til 18 years of age?

Granted, her behavior does not automatically mean she is or will be having sex anytime soon, but a full blown information talk would probably be my first step (as well as taking away the phone and supervising all internet activities).

My second step would probably be to talk to the youth leaders at your church. They, most likely, have seen it all and may be able to steer you in the right direction. Or a Christian counselor that works with teens (that YOU could approach for guidance).

Lindsey - posted on 05/09/2012

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She is involved with the youth group at church, but they only meet once a month.

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