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

Michele - posted on 05/07/2011 ( 179 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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Nina - posted on 10/28/2012

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Sheena, it's a delicate balance between discipline and alienating your child. You seem to have that down :) All children act out SOMEWHAT and do things they're not supposed to, but you reigned her in while maintaining a good relationship with your daughter. That's a terrific achievement!

Sheena - posted on 10/28/2012

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I've been there. It was a shocker to me that I cried. She was mad at me because she asked me to go somewhere andI told her Yes! Two days later her teacher contacted me to tell me she has been late for school for three days so I asked her about it and told her she couldn't go to the event. I periodically check her cell phone and this time I heard a recorded message with her talking to a friend,calling me names and cursing. Which was the first time I heard her talk that way. I didn't tell her I heard it until about two months later she asks to go somewhere I didn't appprove of and when I said No! She got mad and I said to he, are you going to call me a ... and I quoted the same words she used on the recording back to her. She was shocke, her expression was Priceless. I told her I never had my Mom to call names, but all my friends did and everyone of them are successful today because of their Moms, so that's OK. The only thing she could do was cry. That was two years ago.Today we have a very good relationship.

Nina - posted on 10/27/2012

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That's a bit different from the inappropriate phone usage/texting implied by Michelle, Patricia, but I'm glad that you and your daughter worked things out. :)

Cassandra - posted on 10/27/2012

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I took my daughters phone for a month. I also told her i would remove texting if I found any more crap like I had found.

Patricia - posted on 10/26/2012

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My kids look at my text messages because i have nothing to hide because we use our phones for what they are simply phones

Patricia - posted on 10/26/2012

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My daughter and i had a very close relationship and she made to stupid prank calls to 000 and when i tried to calmly discuss it and asked her why and told her of what that could have done to someone else if they needed emergency i went through all 3 and in her teen age attitude she does shrugged it off and did'nt care i put the hammer through her phone and grounded her until she could care about and respect other human beings it is not always the relationship between parent and child sometimes they do go astray but most of the time with guidance and effort they come back to you my daughter did and thanks me for doing what i did she says she is a bettere person because of it i never bring it up she does

Ebony Gulsum - posted on 10/26/2012

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On the 30th of deccembr my family are going to Gambia that is a poor country every day even if you go to that country only how long you want to go

Nina - posted on 10/25/2012

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Ok. Michele, I just want you to know that my sister had the same issue with her 15 year old. Inappropriate texts were sent/received. Unfortunately, if she had a closer relationship with my niece, this would not have happened. My niece's phone was taken away and she was grounded, etc. , but this will NEVER fix the problem. If my niece had a better support system in her immediate family, she wouldn't feel the need to find attention by way of inappropriate texts. I don't live that close or I could be there for her more. My sister had enough reason to look and my niece was warned. My niece now needs this supervision. However, many teens have their privacy invaded needlessly. This isn't a good thing as it only shows the parent is not in control and can't communicate effectively with his/her child. Trust is a two way street and starts with the parent, not the child who merely models the behavior of others. Trust is not something that's earned unless there has been a breach or betrayal of that trust, then it can be earned back. To say that trust automatically must be earned says your child is unworthy of trust. Not to make this a religious issue, but I don't believe in original sin and I believe to teach your child that they're inherently untrustworthy is irresponsible. You're setting yourself and your child up for failure. Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Something has happened to cause this disconnect between yourself and your child - as the parent, it's your responsibility to discover the source

and repair the problem. How? Talk to your child and find out A) What feelings or attitudes, misconceptions or influences have resulted in these behaviors. B) What your child needs to compensate for whatever he/she is getting from these unhealthy behaviors in a healthy way. (Something else must replace thi s unhealthy reward or the behavior won't stop.) C) Reconnect with your child by finding out why THEY don't trust YOU with what's going on in their lives. Despite the fact that your child is obligated to obey you, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOSTER TRUST AND ACCEPTANCE.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/25/2012

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Molly, who pays for your phone? Is it you, or your parents? If it's your parents, then THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for any content on that phone, which gives them the legal right to search without consent.



If you pay for your phone, then you have a right to privacy on it.



Simple enough. You'll understand, when the shoe is on the other foot, and you're all of a sudden being a hypocrite and searching your kid's room, or reading their email/texts...because your view then will be "I pay for it, I'm responsible for this kid till he's 18, and I'm not gonna get in trouble for something my kid is being stupid about".



But, hey, you're 19, so you obviously KNOW EVERYTHING about raising kids! Good luck with that.



As I said in another post responding to you, I'm glad you're not my kid. You'd have learned a whole different definition of responsibility, accountability and consequences.



"trust me" you say...but how can we trust a child that has openly admitted that she doesn't follow her parents rules, doesn't heed their restrictions, and basically could care less about what they say?



Oh, BTW, I regularly check my kids texts, emails, facebook, etc, AND THEY REMIND ME TO!!! Because they've learned that trust is earned, not given. Respect is earned, not given, and freedom is earned.

Molly - posted on 10/25/2012

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Would you like if your mom looked through your text messages? Answer is no. Would you like if your daughter/son looked through your text messages if you don't want her/him to see anything you may have texted to your husband or boyfriend? Look I'm 19 years old and never in my life time has my mother ever looked through my text messages. Trust me if she did i would of been drug tested for weed. And i bet i would never be able to see my old boyfriend in high school ever again or go to a party cause there is always a beer to drink. If it was about sex, well I'm sorry about that but you still should not look through her text messages once you tell her what you saw she will get into more stuff trust me that's how it works. She would be mad at you and never trust you again or talk to you. Don't be a stalker to your kid looking through text messages like that. Your a mom you want your child to be safe but you got to trust her. If i was ever a mom i would trust my kids not look through their phone. It's not like when they go to a party they don't see drugs, or beer cans, even people making out. If you tell her she will back fire don't expect her not to. Hope this somehow helps but its life and when i was that age i did things i don't regret it. I had fun and still am having fun. Good luck.

Lucy - posted on 10/20/2012

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in my opinion -

i am guessing that until now you always thought your child was a sweet little boy? now your finding out that he is not just some bound up little boy, he is a grown boy, a "teen." teens are not concealed off from the entire world as parents think they are... so when you found this txt you were shocked that he is not your 3 year old boy anymore who only wanted a doll rather than a psp or whatever else they have nowadays.

also try to find out who his friends are, is usually helps to see if he is hanging out with kids who just wanna show off and do the stupidest things.

and if its just cursing for no real reason (like i hate this **** teacher)... then i am guessing that he just got the phone, that means you shouldn't worry and its just a passing thing, kids just txt a lot when they just get a cell-phone.

if its other stuff you saw in a txt, then i think you should confront him about it.

Stephanie - posted on 10/17/2012

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Well. I guess it might be time to sit down and talk with your 15 year old. May be have a night out together, if you can do that. And leave the phones at home when you do this.

Kristi - posted on 09/12/2012

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Ariana--You shouldn't give a teenager a cell phone that texts if they aren't responsible enough to use it.



Have you seen what "adults" do on cell phones? Just as bad if not worse than a teenager. Taking away a person's ability to text is not going to stop the inappropriate behavior, suggestions or negative comments. This has happened since the beginning of time, it will continue with or without texting, FB-ing, tweeting or emailing. As Elizabeth said, it is our job as parents to teach our children how to be responsible that doesn't mean we can make them be responsible, regardless of our relationship. Once again, the same can be said about adult relationships. In both cases, the person knows what he/she is doing is wrong, which is why they try to hide everything.



Do you even have a child? You can't possibly have a teenager. Aside from barely being out of your teens, where did you get your experience parenting one? Usually parents have a good reason to snoop, why did your mom do it? Was she just pyschotic? If a person doesn't have anything to hide, or to be ashamed of (doing) and is behaving appropriately and/or responsibly why be so sneaky and defensive. Some kids are just introverted and don't share things just because. Should we just ignore what is or isn't happening in his/her life so he/she can "have his/her privacy?" Do you think tragedies like Columbine could be avoided if more parents checked up on and stayed tuned in to their child's life? Yes...they could.



My daughter and I have a pretty great relationship for the most part. She is a good kid. She gets good grades, plays sports and I like all of her friends. I don't have any real trust issues. But, today I told her we were going to be cleaning out her room this weekend. She just about had a fit because I wouldn't let her clean it first and then I could go and recheck everything. She rarely cleans anything the way she is supposed to. I usually have to go behind her and make her redo her job. She hates that. I told her that was the main reason I was going to help and it was. Now, she may or may not be hiding anything important, but when she puts up a fight like that it leads me to believe something is askew so you can bet your sweet ass I'm going to help and I am going to dig in every nook and cranny. If she's hiding something I'm going to find it and deal with it accordingly. If I don't find anything, hey, at least her room is cleaned properly and now she'll have more space for the things she finds important these days.



Texting and snooping are not mutually exclusive. Like I said, you can take away their phone but that is not going to prevent them for saying, suggesting or doing anything they might have put in a text. Just as with "snooping," texting is not the only thing we should monitor/snoop. Parenting is not easy, there are no manuals with specific instructions on how and what to do and say and when. Every child is different, so is every parent. We all have to find what works for us individually. But, one thing is for certain, it is our responsibilty to know what is going on in our children's lives and if we have to do some investigating to figure that out, then so be it. I'd rather have my daughter be totally pissed at me forever than to find her dead or pregnant or being abused or suicidal. I would die if something happened to her that I could have prevented if only I had paid more attention or looked a little deeper into her life. Chew on that for a little while, have a kid, wait until he/she is a teenager and then you can get back to me on that.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/11/2012

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I have a 15 year old boy and we are going thru the same situation right now. I am shocked at how many comments are about whether or not Parents are snooping when reading cell phone messages. My view is that ANYTHING sent over the internet is not private. I keep telling my son when he sends a girl a suggestive email, her father could read that message and then call me. If he ask her to take her top off and take a picture (yes he did :() The police can pull up those text to make a child porn charge maybe. They are not private, personal or just between the two people involved. Facebook is not the child's personal diary either... it is a public forum. I am not sure how to fix this problem because it is not only my son doing it, the girls are all in as participants. He is grounded from the phone for a week and I will put boundries on his phone and probably take the texting option off. My job is to help him navigate this internet until his brain fully developes. Please let me know if you find something that works, good luck Mom, we need all the help we can get.

Kristi - posted on 09/11/2012

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Ariana--



It sounds, to me, like you are the one with relationship problems. You won't even give your mom your email address, how sad. : (



Teens should be allowed some privacy. You mentioned a diary. That should be kept private, unless you are concerned for her/his safety, parents should not read or snoop through a diary. Texting is not a diary. It is an invitation into one's life. If I send a text or a sext to my SO, he could then share that with his friend(s) and they with their's. If I text Sara that Sally is a two-faced bitch because she f-ed my boyfriend, who's to say Sara won't then forward that text to my boyfriend and Sally. How about a "community" text that says Jenny is a disgusting pig. She is sooo fat and she stinks because she can't lift all the fat rolls to wash herself. That text is also sent to Jenny. Now she knows why the rest of the kids are laughing and making pig noises. If Sara, Sally, the boyfriend or Jenny, were one of my children, I would want to know about what is happening so that when Sally comes home with a black eye, I'll know why...I would also know I should put her on birth control and talk about the responsibilities of having sex, not to mention a lesson in how treat your friends/family, etc. If I were Jenny's mom, I would know why she is so depressed and has begun starving herself.



These are just examples I made up, but I would be willing to bet the house that all of these scenarios have occured in real life. They have also happened to "good kids" from "normal" families, not just the dysfunctional families or the single parent households or "ghetto" households.



Inappropriate behavior goes on everywhere, by kids and adults, this includes the use of cell phones. Taking away a cell phone all together will not stop this behavior. Back in the old days, rumors and fights and betrayals happened all the time and all we had was word of mouth and pen and paper. Certainly, no one was taking our pens and paper away nor were "they" able to force us to keep our mouths shut. My point is that no matter what kind of relationship a child/teen has with their parent(s), inappropriate, hurtful, harmful, unseemly things will be said, written, posted, and/or texted at one point in time or another. (that goes for grown up relationships, as well)



Aside from which, not all kids have cell phones just because it is cool or because they are spoiled. Many parents, myself included, buy their children a phone for safety reasons. My daughter has had one since she was 10 because she wasn't safe at her father's but I couldn't keep her away for good until we went to court. I didn't want her stuck there with no way to get help or feeling like she was trapped. Many parents have to work beyond school hours or kids want more freedom and cells are a way for parents and kids to keep in contact.



In the schools here, cell phone use during school hours is prohibited. If a student is caught using their phone in school, they get their phone taken away, if the behavior continues the consequences are more severe and a parent is called. Does it still happen? Of course, but I refer back to the note writing, it will always happen. As for texting when they should be sleeping, it's nothing new either. We just talked in whispers on the phones we had in our bedrooms all night. Almost every teen I knew back then did that. Most of us had stay at home moms and dads that worked hard and earned a good living. We weren't neglected by or angry at or resentful towards our parents. I guarentee we all said inappropriate, unbecoming things.



If my parents got hold of a letter I left laying around they would read it. If I was involved in poor behavior or making bad choices you bet they'd chime in. They wouldn't be worried about whether or not I was going to trust them anymore. They wouldn't care if I screamed and shouted at them for snooping or for calling me out on my negative actions/words, etc. Depending on the situation, I would be the one who was worried about keeping or losing my parent's trust and/or respect, not the other way around. Their house, their rules. My house, my rules...don't like it, I'll pack your bags for you. They (we) are the parents, I (you are) am the child. Not only does that give them (us) the right to "snoop," but as parents it is our responsiblity to snoop.



In regards to the boyfriend reading her texts or going through her things, damn right I would say to get away from him. He is not responsible for, in charge of or looking out for my child's best interests. I don't care what he claims his intentions to be. Some teenage boys are looking to manipulate their girlfriends into doing/feeling certain things/ways that the girls might not normally do/feel. Many of them are jealous and insecure and feel like they have to know every little thing their girlfriends say, think or do. That is a problem and does not compare at all to a parent's need to know. It's not snooping, it is staying involved and aware of what is happening in your child's world. : )



Just FYI--



than--conjunction

1. used after comparative adjectives and adverbs, to introduce the second member of an unequal equation: She's taller than I am.



2. used after some adj. and adv. expressing choice or diversity, such as other, otherwise, else, anywhere or different, to introduce an alternative or denote a difference in kind, place, style or identity: I had no choice other than that. You won't find such freedom anywhere else than this country.



3. used to introduce the rejected choice in expressions of preference: I'd rather walk than drive there.



4. except; other than: We had no choice than to return home.



then--adverb

1. at that time: Prices were lower then.



2. immediately or soon afterward: The rain stopped and then started again.



3. next in order of time: We ate, then we started home.



4. at the same time: At first the water seemed blue, then gray.



5. next in order of place: Standing beside Charlie is my uncle, then my cousin, then my brother.



There are a few more definitions and examples, but I think this should help clear up the correct use for each term. Just a quick, little tutorial, not a slam or to be mean or for me to presume my intelligence. Your comments and suggestions sound more credible to many, if your grammar is acurate. ; )

Kristi - posted on 06/01/2012

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Aria- Hi! First of all, I want to say thank you for coming on here and giving us a teen's point of view. You were right when you said we've all been there and again when you said things were different back in the day, as I put it. Because I found your comments well written and intelligent, I want to play the Devil's Advocate. And in case you haven't heard of that term, it basically means I just want to debate with you or see if you can maintain your arguement when I ask questions. This doesn't mean I disagree with you or that I think you said anything wrong. In fact, I think you made some very good points and made some very true statements, I just think that some of the reactions to those statements should be examined a little closer. So here we go...

One of your first points was that as teens you have hormones and that it is natural for you to unleash them. While that is true, that doesn't necessarily make it appropriate to act on them. For example, I am at the park and I suddenly feel the urge to pee. It is natural to feel that way and to want to go but is appropriate for me to drop my drawers right there by the merry-go-round? I have to control myself and go at an appropriate time, in an appropriate place. My natural urge and need to pee should not be put above the laws and rights of society, especially at my age. : )

Next, you said you didn't know the conversations you were having with your boyfriend were terribly inappropriate until your dad found them. I'm not sure if you believe they were inappropriate or if you were quoting your dad and being sarcastic. I'm going to guess that these emails were referring to a physical relationship. I guess I'm wondering if the content was bad enough to make your parents go ballistic, where and from whom did you learn the information and how, at 12, did you think any of it was ok? Had your parents not had The Talk with you yet? My daughter loves when we talk about that...not! I think she'd sooner die. lol

Finally, how do you think your parents should have reacted? You said you understood our right to protect you and the fact that we are your parents first. As I agreed before, times were different back in my day, the 80's if you must know! There were no cell phones, the first computers came out in like '88 or '89, if I'm not mistaken, either way their capabilities were extremely limited. So we had to write notes to each other and we talked on land lines for hours. We got in trouble for not answering the call waiting! But sex was not on every channel, in every tv show, in all the commercials, in all of the music (some though). There might have been one or two teen moms, not 15 or 20. I can't say how I would have reacted to your situation because I don't have all the details. I can say I hope I wouldn't have ruined my relationship with my daughter. But is it so bad for me and other parents to try and instill the morals and values we had back then? Why shouldn't we expect our children to live up to the standards we were expected to live up to just because society now says sex is good for everyone. And when I say sex, I mean sexting and the other stuff that goes along with it.

In my house, I have unlimited access to my daughter's FB, cell phone and Ipod. She doesn't go to a friend's house unless I meet their parents and see where they live first. I only check it out once in awhile. But if I were to ever find something that threatened her safety I'd be all over it. She will be 13 in a few months. What is your opinion about my rules? Please be honest. I am looking forward to your comments! I hope you and your parents are working things out. They probably reacted out of fear and disbelief and love. I'm sure they weren't trying to hurt you. Take care!

Heidi - posted on 05/31/2012

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Focus on safety because ultimately that is what you need to be concerned about.
What I mean by this is:
- If she's swearing her head off or being crude, let it go
- if it seems there is always 'drama' or fighting among peers, just accept that for whatever reason, this is common and rarely results in anything that we'd consider dangerous. Kids threaten each other and insult each other alot more now that they can do so online from the safety of their bedroom!! Its probably not worth confronting your teen about, so ignore that too.
- If your teen is sending naked or very sexual pics of themself or has same type pics of someone else, that's a safety issue because a 15 year old is a minor child and could be charged with distributing child pornography if they take a sexual pic of themself and share it with someone, or pass along a pic they received of someone else.
- if it sounds like your teen is sexually involved with someone, its time to stay calm but have a serious talk about birth control being a MUST

Kids text like they are writing in their diary, its far more harmful though because others can see, save, and pass on things your teen writes that they'd consider private. That said, its probably not worth your relationship to get involved every time you don't like their tone or language (or there are no 'life threatening' issues involved).

Alex - posted on 05/13/2012

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i suggest you be glad your kid is normal.

seriously.

it's cool that you're worried. it means you're probably awesome at your job (as a parent, i mean), but seriously, at that age mammals are OBSESSED with sex. it passes.

Aria - posted on 05/07/2012

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Patricia,





Thank you so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it. I agree that having serious relationships at this age is a bit overrated. Many of my friends get into dis-functional partnerships that only result in stress. Truthfully I think that was the best relationship I've had because we communicated and connected intellectually. He and I still remain close friends. Also, it's nice to know we aren't the only logically thinking teens!



And I am consistently working on the relationship with my parents..I think we've made progress:)

Patricia - posted on 05/07/2012

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Aria - Y
our post is very insightful. I think it's helpful for parents to see things from a teenagers point of view because we, as adults, tend to forget what it was like the think like a teenager. And as parents - we tend to analyze our teenager's actions and think the worst - especially when we see/hear horror stories about those teenagers that are a parents worst nightmares. We might forget that our teenager isn't necessarily like that.
You mentioned that you and your boyfriend discussed many aspects of your relationship and you say that your realized these topics were inappropriate - but I have to disagree with you. I think it's great that you were able to talk to your boyfriend about your relationship. When my daughter told me at 15 that her and her boyfriend had talked about sex and protection what they were planning to do - I was very proud of her. Personally - I think you are too young for a serious relationship (I thought the same of my daughter - and now that she's 19 she admits that she wishes she waited and instead enjoyed her friends and being single in high school instead of being with someone) but if you are going to continue with relationships - you need to be able to talk about all aspects of your relationship with them honestly.
You sound like a very smart and mature teenager - and I hope that you and your parents could trust each other again.

Aria - posted on 05/07/2012

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Michele,



So I'd like to point out that I am not a parent..not even close. I am 14 yrs old and I saw this and just thought it was necessary to share an opposing point of view. We, as your children, do understand that you care for us and have protective authority over our actions. But as teenagers we also have hormones and it is only natural that in some way or another we will rebel or desire to unleash them. They most likely will not be in actions that you necessarily approve of. Also, just realize that whenever you attempt to fix a situation or prevent it by becoming stricter it leads most teens to become sneakier. I've encountered this topic before and I can honestly say I am not proud of it.



A couple years ago I had my first boyfriend. He had been in several relationships prier to ours. All the same I was incredibly thrilled...I had butterflies in my stomach and a smile plastered to my face for the entire duration. After about a week or so we decided to share our first kiss (this was after a conversation we had and planned). I was so nervous and excited that I wanted to get it over with so I kissed his cheek the following day. He and I discussed many aspects of our relationship to make sure we were constantly on the same page. I never realized that these topics were terribly inappropriate until my father came across them.



I left my laptop in the dining room (with my email account open) all throughout the night. I have no idea what urged him to read the messages. What I do recall is being yelled at the following night for 3 hours straight (yes I timed it). The relationship was to end immediately I was told. My mother attended school with me the following day where she continued my punishment by speaking to school counselors, all my teachers, and his parents. Our relationship ( between my boyfriend and I as well as between my parents and I) was over.



This may seem appropriate to you all as parents...but as a *child* it is awful. They may have lost their trust and respect for me that day. No punishment you could ever give us is worse than the one we give ourselves. We are constantly thinking about it..feeling guiltier every passing moment. That was also the day I lost respect and trust in them as well. I used to talked to them about everything: boys, friends, teachers, art, future, dreams..anything on my mind. Up until that point they were my best friends.



I am not stating that parents are supposed to be your friend..especially in these cases. What your son or daughter needs isn't to be grounded for all eternity because that is suggesting to them that expressing their emotions is wrong.You were all our age once..you know that feeling. ALTHOUGH during your childhood it was a completelyyyy different time. Other things were and were not acceptable. We may not always address every aspect of our lives with you and that is normal. What we do share is what is really important because boys, texts, and trends aren't going to matter in years to come.



When having a conversation with your son/daughter talk about their interests (music,tv,work,plans...etc) and/or their future. What do they want to pursue when they graduate? What are they good at? This keeps us thinking about our goals and dreams. For me, I find myself hesitating over the keys of my phone..deciding whether to use my logical response or my "teenager response." We may not always make the right decision but ultimately it is ours. It is us who must live with the consequences and experiences. The thought of our actions may disturb you all sometimes but I can guarantee that for some once we press send an unsettling feeling washes over us.







I may have gotten a bit off topic..sorry. Also I'd like to apologize on behalf of teenagers...I've met some that are a parents worst nightmare but I have also met some very well minded individuals. Always..no matter what..show your child you trust them because they may just realize your faith in them and give you actual reason to do so:) Like I was saying before..again I went on a tangent...this is just one opinion amongst many but I hope I was helpful!

Beth - posted on 04/21/2012

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Michele,



I was frozen for four weeks when I read my 14 year old texts. The teens today are exposed to so much sex on television these days. The word "sexy" is used as commonly as the word "cute" when I was a teen, along with other things. You Tube also not allowed in my house, along with rap music. The lyrics in most rap songs refers to sex, drugs, and partying. I have now faced this reality and have started counseling with my daughter. I also exposed my daughter's texts to my immediate family in order for her to feel ashamed. I am not sure if the counseling will work, but I need to get to the bottom of "why" she is talking so shamefully. We raise her with morals and values and I am shocked by her behavior. I actually found out that she is a virgin, not that I ever thought different, but she was talking to a boy about losing her virginity!! Thank GOD I CHECK HER PHONE WITHOUT NOTICE!! She has lost all texting priveledges and can only use face book with permission and directly in the same room as myself. Good luck to you ......it is a rough world!

User - posted on 04/21/2012

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I also have a 15 yr old...and have found unbelievable texts. I confronted her about the texts. I don't think it's being nosey, she is my responsibility until 18. Its my job to teach her and keep her safe, not to always be her friend. I love her and she knows that. I try not to yell or be crazy mad, just say ....I know about..."blah blah blah" and say "you know thats not a good idea"....or whatever the case may be, and explain to her why its not a good idea. If it continues to happen, you'll need to take other measures like taking the phone, etc. Good luck!

Carrie - posted on 04/20/2012

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I have a 14 year old daughter and have read text I didn't approve of, the one thing I told my daughter is anything you write is always out there for people to read. Never write anything you would't want the whole world to read, because you never know who's hand it will be in. Hope this helps. A caring mom of a teen....

Beth - posted on 04/16/2012

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I am also going through this issue. My daughter just turned 14 and I have found inappropriate texts in her phone. I am taking her to counseling now, hoping it has some impact. I have this great fear that she is going to just talk to the counselor, say all the right things, and continue to lye. I have taken her phone away now for the second time in six months. She knows this is wrong and I also know she is still a virgin. Although by reading these texts you would question that. She had revealed she is still a virgin within the text content, but was talking about sleeping with boys. I was totally shocked and of course questioned my parenting skills. I am making a huge deal out of this as I have another daughter right behind her, who I do not want to follow in her footsteps. She is not even in high school yet and I am terrified already.

Lee - posted on 04/11/2012

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The problem is defining this as snooping. It isn't. It is not only a parent's right to know what their kids are doing, it is their RESPONSIBILITY. Parents are held accountable for the actions of their children.

What if a parent could have prevented a school shooting by reviewing their child's text messages? If parents are going to allow their children to have cell phones or access to social media then they are morally (& depending on what is happening also legally) obligated to "be in the know."

In this house, my daughter was told the day she got a cell phone that as long as I pay for it, I reserve the right to view it whenever I want. A cell phone is not a diary. Kudos to parents who keep themselves on top of what their kids are doing. More parents should take the time to be as cautious.

User - posted on 04/09/2012

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I disagree with you. And I would not mind someone snooping through my texts because, I have nothing to hide... I lead by example. If I preach it, I had better be doing it. Our kids cannot afford to have parents who tell our kids what they shouldnt be doing while we live a life that they don't know abou... No secrets. Open communication policies are one of the Golden Rules in our home.

Patricia - posted on 04/05/2012

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I've snooped a few times at my daughters phone and online activity and I felt horrible about it. I think it can cause more problems and actually cause problems in the parent-child relationship and hinder future communication. Your child will not only be upset and feel violated but they will probably learn to be more sneaky about their texts/posts (such as deleting them right away) which does not solve the problem - it just makes it harder as the parent to help our children.



But as a concerned parent - I understand that we should be monitoring our childrens activity and helping them through their issues. I think Erin has a great approach with reading the texts in front of the child and then calmly discussing things. It is important to get the childs perspective first hand and not jump to conclusions. Teenagers will say things to make themselves look cool or without understanding how the other person feels - and texting/posting online makes it too easy for them to say whatever they want.



And of course - we shouldn't wait until we see something we don't like to talk to our teens about touchy topics. I constantly talk to my daughter about drugs, drinking, sex, etc... in general so that hopefully I will be that constant voice in the back of her mind when she needs to make the tough decisions in life.

Melia - posted on 04/03/2012

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Michele,



Had the same problem with my daughter at 13. I am a former sailor and the things she said made me blush. I noticed she was turning the phone upside down when she set it down. I grabbed it and went through her texts. After taking a very long breath, I handed the phone to her father. Needless to say, he was not happy. She lost her phone for 3 months. Her and I sat down and had a long talk about what was approperate and the consequences of sexting. Her and I sat down and watched MTVs 16 and Pregnant for a month. We would discuss the episodes from the angle of what do you think?



Our house rules are:



1. We are the parents. We pay the bills and as such all materials are under our authority and are subject to monitoring at any time.



2. If you don't like or follow rule one...then you will not have the material in question!



Husband is an IT. He sat the phone up so we can see how many messages she is sending and recieving and from whom. He will know if she is deleting anything. We can compare how many messages she is recieving to how many are actually in her phone. If she is deleting messages that is a violation of rule two and the phone is taken.

.

Since we made these rules..we haven't had a problem.

Amanda - posted on 12/01/2011

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I would think of a way to talk about what you read, without letting your child know you were snooping. Otherwise, it will most likely be the last time you are able to look at their phone, and actually see any messages. My 15 year old deletes everything now.

Amanda - posted on 12/01/2011

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I would think of a way to talk about what you read, without letting your child know you were snooping. Otherwise, it will most likely be the last time you are able to look at their phone, and actually see any messages. My 15 year old deletes everything now.

Tina - posted on 11/04/2011

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Since I have gone thru this kind of thing just recently, I would tell them the truth ( because that is what you want from them is the Truth ), in that I read a message on your phone. They will be upset because it is a ' privacy ' issue with them. When they calm down, talk with them but don't lecture. Short and sweet and to the point. You want them to grow and to make good decisions, so it is very important that you stay calm and yet set rules for phone usage. I too have a 15 yr old

Jeannette - posted on 11/02/2011

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Haha! Girl, I have been through this! I even moved my daughter to another school hoping to give her a fresh start due to some of the texts. However, she was who she was even in the new school. My daughter's phone was locked up for about a year because of this (it happened more than once) and she could only text her family. Now, she was still able to send texts through the use of friends cells, which was what she did..but I felt better knowing that I wasn't supporting that. That being said...she is still growing, her phone is unlocked, and I no longer read her texts. I just keep talking to her and telling her what kind of person she is projecting to the world with some of her behavior. She doesn't take in everything, but I know she hears some things because she is way more chill about a lot of stuff.

Dawn - posted on 11/02/2011

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I had dealt with the same thing on August 13th and it took my husband and I untill the middle of September to address the issue. BUT my husband could not deal with it anymore and called his ex wife who lives in Oklahoma about what we had read from their 14 year old daughter telling her brother about some pretty serious things that had happened to her. This was hard but it had to be delt with cause not only did she revile things that had happened to her her brother had admitted that the same thing had happened to him NOT once but three times.
Well we let them know that we had stumbble upon the situation and was concern for them and reassured them that we were there for them.
THANK GOD it all worked out fine GOOD LUCk

Dawn - posted on 11/02/2011

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Michele, My son got smart to that one quick....However it wasn't his phone he was texting on it was mine and every now and again after I would ask for my phone back not only were his text messages deleted mine were as well except for the ones i had locked. This happened only a few times and I said one more time my text messages get erased you will not use my phone again. WELL I am tellin you he took it to the next level and would only erase HIS messages he didn't want me to read. I CAUGHT HIM THOUGH (LOL) the only reason was cause when I asked for my phone back he said hold on and I said no now and guess what???? It was in the process of deleting his messages that he had choosen to delete....BUSTED.. However I did not catch it in time and there was only 2 messages left that didn't get erased... HE LOST THE PRIVALEDGE OF USING MY PHONE..
These kids are figuring out ways around all our rules we set and it drives me insane.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU DEALING WITH THE SAME TEEN DRAMA!

Rlhoward3 - posted on 10/31/2011

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if you feel that your daughter is texting uncofortable things on her phone you should take her phone away. till further notice. there is no reason for her to be talking not textin things like that on her phone to anyone. have you sat down and asked her what is going on?

Toni - posted on 10/30/2011

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It's the parent's phone. If you feel uncomfortable with the conversations. Take away the phone for a few days. telling her exactly why you have removed it. You are the Parent not her!!

M - posted on 10/30/2011

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we have been dealing with inappropriate texts, emails, web searching, etc. for several years. we've had talks with her about how important it is to keep your image clean, especially when potential employers, colleges, etc. could be doing an internet search on you. We have talked till blue in the face, taken the phone away. she's 16 now and just took her phone away for total constant disrespect for me (mom) and read her stuff. yet again, nasty stuff on there, even about me. This time is the final straw. Took away her phone and said once she got a job, she could buy her on line. no more free rides. I'm sick of it! the way she's talking and texting is not how we act or brought her up!

Andree - posted on 09/21/2011

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I had a very similiar problem. I asked my daughter to see her phone one day and she flipped out. I asked her why did she flip out and she just went off on me with a silly reason. Bottom line because she was so over the line I knew something was wrong, so I told her she was to hand over the phone until I said different, she started to cry right away. I found out why fast. Nothing too terrible, but I am a very strick mother. She paid the penalty for that problem and when I gave her back her phone 24 hrs later I told her it was being given back to her with one rule..... I get to look at it any time I want. It has worked out well for me,,, I have kept to my rule for several months now and she is behaving well with her phone. Good luck, it is so hard parenting in this age.

Stacy - posted on 09/09/2011

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honey, join da club. i had da same senerio not long ago. i have a 13 year old son and he and this girl were texting back n forth. well i just had a long talk with him and tried to scare him a lil bit. told a couple of fibbs but it ok. its funny, because i thought having 2 boys it was going to be easy. but i was wrong.

Debbi - posted on 09/04/2011

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No matter how close a parent thinks they are and how open they think they are with their teen try reading their private texts once. They will realize their teen might be living a double life and they don't know them at all. That happened to me once. I thought I was very open and close with my daughters only to find out they were doing things I had no clue and keeping things from me I had no idea they would. Don't be a fool, if you want to be able to direct your children towards the right goals with new devices they have these days to keep parents know what's going on in their lives, I say, for their own sake, keep "snooping" or best, try to stay on top of things. If your kids argue about not letting you read texts, you can bet they are doing something sneaky, and don't forget, they have codes these days as well so parents don't know what they are saying to each other.

LEAH - posted on 08/29/2011

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My daughter is 15. A few years ago I got her a cell phone and found inappropriate text messages..lots of them. Now before I got her the phone we discussed phone usage. We tallked about appropriate text messages etc. We even took a class together about internet and technology safety. She knew the consequences and SHE still decided to do what she wanted to do. I took the phone from her and turned it off. I explained to her the next cell phone she got would be one she was able to pay the bill for. And even then if she is a minor and living under my roof I'm reading text message, voice mails etc at will.

Because she is in a high school that is far from home I bought her an emergency phone with parental locks. She is only able to call me and her grandmother.

That may be extreme to your child, but I have been down an extremely loooong road with my daughter and I don't feel bad about my decision at all.

Did you guys discuss the consequences of inappropriate phone usage and text messages before hand?

Dawn - posted on 08/27/2011

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I have kinda the same situation going on but mine involves my sons face book account..I read some messages between him and someone else on his account and what I discovered was very disturbing. However he had promised the other individual he wouldn't say anything to any one. NOW I am stuck in a situation to where I do not know how to go about it due to the fact it has to do with some very sensitive issues. I don't want to make him feel that he can't trust me or that I don't trust him. I want him to still be able to come to me and his father no matter what the issue is. He has came to us for advise and he feels he can tell us anything (so we thought). Now I have to figure out a way to get him to open up to us about the situation discussed between the two of them with out letting him know I read it. I just don't know what to do or how to go about it. I wish you the best of luck with your issue at hand.

Lovinia - posted on 08/25/2011

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I had the same situation with my daughter and I will admit yes I was snooping and she knows this I told her when she first got her phone as long as I'm paying the bill I can look at her phone whenever I want. I found a couple texts I didn't find appropriate we talked about them and I told her why I was concerned and she understood of course the phone was mine for about a week. I had to make her understand that she doesn't know where those text messages will end up and she doesn't know if they will pop up again. She now understands that text messages, emails, pictures,etc can come back to haunt you at any moment.

Gloria - posted on 07/31/2011

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I'm starting to have the same problems - I see the text messages and her replys are not how she speaks to me or when in a group of friends over the house. she has a lot brewing and I'm starting to get scared.. She deletes but doe not know i read them - how do i approach without over bearing her. I do try to use the conversation method in bringing out certain situations but its like she does not wrong so she does not admit or say anything. What do i do next? I feel like my nightmare is beginning.

Michelle - posted on 05/28/2011

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I am complete agreement with MOST on this. As long as that child is living in my house, they will follow my rules, and I will "SNOOP" whenever I see fit. Tough love goes a long way...especially nowdays. And with tough love, comes respect. I would let your child know you read his texts, and are worried about the situation. Of course your child may be angry, but he/she will get over it once they realize you have done so out of love and worry. He/she may not wish to discuss it at that very moment, but let him/her know that you are available to talk whenever he/she wants. Communication is key to all relationships, and that includes our relationships with our children. I think as parents, we have the right to do whatever we feel necessary to keep our children safe, and out of trouble. How are children supposed to learn if we let them do what they want?

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