not sure what to do...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ksm, May 22, 2013.

  1. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    difficult child has been pushing the limits on just about everything she can. She has no impulse control. I found some things today that are going to have to be talked over with her and I feel so inadequate to do so.

    But the rest of my life is overwhelming right now and not sure how to cope with it all. husband is a Red Cross volunteer and was called up kind of unexpectedly to drive one of the ERVs (Emergency Response Vehicle) to OKC. He got the call and left with in two hours. They need him and the vehicle to help deliver breakfast tomorrow morning. He is scheduled to be gone for two weeks. A week from today I have cataract surgery, and then the following week we have the neuropsychologist testing.

    Earlier today I went to difficult child's room to see if she had cleaned it as requested. (we are out of school) I see my tripod set up next to her bed and her camera is attached to it. I had loaned it to her last week when she and a girl from school wanted to take photos in the park. Well, all sorts of red flags went off, and I took the memory card out of the camera and looked at the photos on my computer. The last few were risque photos... no direct nudity, but no clothes on - but with a scarf or sheet draped strategically over the right places. Then from last week, when she spent the night with the friend (her first time to spend the night at this girls house) there were photos of her and her friend kind of cuddled on the couch taking photos of themselves. In two of the photos, the other girl is kissing the top of difficult child's head. Not face to face kissing. But not silly pucker up face type photos either.

    Should I try to get in and talk to the therapist I saw for myself? But it has been a year since I had an appointment... difficult child hasn't seen her therapist lately, as I was waiting for the neuro testing to be done and the psychiatrist appointment first.

    I am not a prude, if difficult child becomes an adult who has a different sexual orientation I can deal with it. But right now, at age 15, I don't think she needs to be experimenting sexually with any one. And taking photos that are sexually suggestive could really cause problems. She lost her iPod, so I don't think she would be able to share or send the photos with anyone. When she uses the family computer, it is in the family foom and we don't give her the password for it. We have to log on - so we are near by when she is on the computer.

    I know she is going to go ballistic when she finds out I have the SD card and have looked at the photos. Just not sure how to handle this without things getting out of hand. When she is caught doing something wrong... she loses it. KSM
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My own thoughts.

    I've raised four kids (five if you include Scott) and the first one is the one that most parents are most worried over about everything. First off, I would forget about the room. It's not worth the fight. If she chooses to live like a pig, make sure s he shuts the door. I never ever badgered my kids about their rooms and all of them grew into neat freaks. They are such neat freaks now that it's amusing because at fifteen they were all slobs. That sure changed once they were living on their own.

    I don't think you should bring up her sexuality either. in my opinion she is what she is. It's common to experiment and if she is a lesbian, she is one and no therapist can change that. All he can do is make her feel ashamed. And she can't help it. The risque pictures are a different story. You can make it clear that your camera is NOT to be used to take inappropriate pictures and that she needs to go by your guidelines in order to use it.

    While I agree that your daughter is too young to be having any sort of sex, a lot of kids do at fifteen. At least she can't get In all seriousness, I am not sure there is anything you or a therapist can do to stop it if it has already started. I remember a friend of mine whose parents were very religious and did not want her to even date until age sixteen. She had sex in the parking lot at school with an older boy from our high school. I have yet to find a parent who successfully was able to stop a sexually active child from being sexually active. They just get sneaky about it. I'd rather have it out in the open. The only real solution is to lock her in her room until she turns 18 and she will find a way to get out of that room or do it at school.

    This could be a phase that she backs off from too, but mom nagging is sometimes the reason some difficult children get even more involved in their stuff.

    A kind of funny story because, at the time, my son was nineteen and old enough to have sex if he wanted any rate, he did not live with me anymore. I was in his room looking for photos so that I could show a very young Sonic some old pictures of himself (Sonic) with 35, who was once very close to him. I found some pictures and almost screamed. They were pictures of some girl in a towel, like she had just gotten out of the shower. I didn't want to see any more so I shoved them back in his drawer and never told him I saw them. Sonic kept asking, "Can I look and see if I can find the pictures?"

    I think this is more normal than you think. To me, the one big deal is not putting any appropriate pictures on YOUR camera. If she does, no camera.

    JMO. I tend not to freak out over messy rooms or a certain amount of normal sexual experimentation maybe because I've been through it many times. But I was the most frantic about Mr. 35, my first child, and for all my worry and hypernness and in my opinion unnecessary confrontations with him, he actually turned out to be the least responsible adult. My nagging at him didn't help him one bit.

    I support whatever you decide to do :) Just telling you my point of view, which you are free to reject without making me feel bad :) We're all different.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with MWM. I am not assuming to know what is best, I am simply reacting to your story. I think it fits in the realm of normal too. I also feel that perhaps you might not make a big deal about it at all, no drama, simply a statement by you as to what your guidelines about camera use are and drop it, don't allow it to escalate out of control. At a later date, when cooler heads prevail, you might want to open the door to talking about sexuality so she knows she can talk to you.......... I would try to not say anything that would make her feel shame. Just my thoughts, it is a bit of a dicey issue..........
  4. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I don't want to make a big deal of it... I want to be calm. But how does one handle the normal girlfriend sleepover thing if it is more than a friend?

    And for someone who wanted to take photos and keep them private - you would think she would not leave my tripod up in her room and it is pointed at her bed. It was her camera.

    I already have an appointment with her doctor, and tomorrow I see the same doctor for my preop for eye surgery. And I had already planned on asking her about contraception for difficult child (at my appointment - so that the doctor is aware of it before difficult child has her appointment) I am just not sure what type to do... or what the doctor would recommend. I lean towards the injection or the implant thing... but probably not the IUD. Of course, that would buy us 5 years of protection. But then the pills are good for acne breakouts - but she is horrible about remembering to take pills... But, I was hoping that we would have the neuro testing and the psychiatrist appointment out of the way before we needed to make these decisions.

    difficult child is terribly impulsive and just from past experience she will go overboard on whatever it is that she wants at the moment. There is no waiting, or planning, or being prepared. She doesn't think rules include her.

    The reason I mentioned seeing my therapist was to get ideas on how to best talk and handle this - not to shame her. Or, her therapist, in case she needed someone beside me to talk thru this... and at least try to set some boundaries. If this girl is "more than a friend" then no more overnights. But, difficult child will just tell me what she thinks I want to hear and what ever she thinks will get her what she wants.

  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sounds as if you have a good plan. Geez, I know how difficult it is with typical teens, so when you add all the behavioral stuff, it's overwhelming. You really have a good handle on it. I'm sorry there is just so much on your plate now with your husband out of town and your impending surgery, YIKES. More stress. I would talk to my therapist too, that sounds like a plan of action that makes sense. Good job on moving through it all with a clear head and good options.
  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    In response to how do you handle a friend sleeping over if it's more than a friend ... my easy child is about to turn 14 and came out last year. We talk very openly, which I'd have been doing no matter what her sexuality because at this age I'd rather have her comfortable talking to me than confused or learning through risky experimentation. I know not all kids are going to go with that, talking with a parent about sex and sexuality. Especially difficult child's. So that might not be possible, only you know.

    We obviously had to discuss the sleep over thing. Well frankly, teen girls having their female friends for sleep overs is sort of a right of passage for teenagers and my easy child deserves that normal activity regardless of her sexuality. So we have had to have frank and honest talks, which I do recommend you do with your difficult child.

    I explained to my easy child that she has a right to have her friends stay over just as all teen girls love to do. Regardless of the friends sexuality, she is allowed to do normal activities with her friends. She however knows that because there is always now the chance that something sexual could arise, that any friends sleeping over will be sleeping in the spare room and both that room and her bedroom door will be closed and they will be in their own rooms when I go to bed for the night. And if I ever catch sneaking around, sleep overs are simply out for her own well being. She completely understands.

    We really don't make a big deal out if it, I don't see her sexuality being lesbian as any bigger deal than a hetero teen girl hitting puberty, liking boys and having crushes etc. She knows I am not okay with risky behaviors or premature experimentation etc. Perhaps I'm just lucky because she is not eager to jump on the sex band wagon and is quite content to have crushes and swoon over that person and talk to me about it, but is in no rush to be heavily involved. She does have a crush thing with a cute as a button teen who I think is a great kid. She is much like my easy child even though she is older than easy child. Just focused on school and crushes on my easy child but isn't in a hurry to rush more mature sexual stuff.

    I think a frank talk about those photos is for sure in order. It is super risky and frankly, dangerous and risky and stupid for teens to take photos like that. We all know it's the new "thing" with teen girls. So i wouldn't come at her with a rant or anything. But I think there needs to be open dialogue about the dangers of taking those photos. We hear enough about the effects of those photos getting out, it's for life, the internet forgets nothing.

  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    I agree with MWM, too and WOW Mattsmom - you are the coolest parent!! That is so awesome!!! Your daughter is very lucky to have such an accepting mom. :)
  8. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    Just my opinion.
    I wouldn't ban over nights as that is normal girl behavior some compromise might be reached if she has a more than a friend.

    You are forcing her into being sneaky and lying and there is really no good that would come from that conversation she would feel oppressed for her sexuality whether it is experimental or not.

    I would talk about the camera as she could be listed as a sex offender if she sent really naked pictures of herself to others. That really does happen. And even if she didn't get caught the Internet is forever, and if just one porn site for just one of her pictures it could end up on hundreds of other sites.

    Personally I was on the shot several different times and was on it as a teen it worked beautifully I didn't bleed incessantly like I did with the pill. Later it did bad things to my behavior because of the hormones but as a teen it worked wonders, I was somewhat of a difficult child. Still am some days.
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't make much of the issue about sexual identity part of it. She certainly is in the age to think about those matters but considering all you have told about her, I wouldn't take a picture of her and some other girl kissing as a sign of anything. I think you can get that one covered with making sure that she knows you are cool with her and her sister having any sexual identity.

    I of course don't know that well trends going on in USA but at least here it has been very common for years for girls (some reason not so often with boys) to try to gain attention by claiming to be bisexual (not so often lesbian) or kissing with other girls etc. Some of course are bisexual, some are experimenting, but many of those girls are simply seeking attention. This has been a big trend at least 10 or 15 years and of course has lost it's shock or attention gaining value long ago, but younger teens don't know that and are still doing it. Also nude pictures are kind of attention seeking behaviour. She probably didn't take them just for herself but was planning to show them to someone.

    Attention seeking of course is also typical for girl her age. The thing that worries me is, that with her inability to notice and adhere those invisible boundaries she may do things that put her in great risk and she may get hurt by one way or another. Attention seeking and pushing boundaries are typical and age appropriate behaviours for 15 year-old girls. But most of them have rather clear understanding on when things are getting too far. I'm afraid your difficult child doesn't have that.

    I have a goddaughter about the same age as your daughter (fourteen, turning fifteen.) Her parents are suffering acute parental stupidity and lameness right now (the kind that tends to start when puberty first hits to their child and lasts from 3 to six years with symptoms first getting worst about two years and then starting to disappear slowly) and because my own parental stupidity and lameness (which has very much improved lately, I think I'm almost recovered) doesn't present as godparental stupidity and lameness (neither does her parents, which is a good thing considering they are easy child's godparents) I have had a chance to have many heart to hearts with her. She is a easy child and smart girl. I can easily imagine her both taking nude pictures of herself and seeking attention by kissing some of her friends. But even on her hormonal upheavals she would be careful to whom she would show those pictures and would make sure she has the only copies. And with any experiment or attention seeking or risk taking she does have a clear understanding of when things are getting too serious or dangerous. She does know the limit when things get over her head and understands to call help if that happens. She may do stupid or somewhat risky things, but she does recognize the boundaries of 'too far.' And I worry that this ability is something your difficult child lacks and that makes her very vulnerable.
  10. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

  11. Twin size air mattresses are about $12 at Wal-Mart. I'd pick up a couple and move sleepovers to the family room. My kids like to do that anyway so they can watch Netflix... difficult child would not have to tell anyone it was a requirement.

    Personally I'd be livid about the photos but that's something we have discussed to death with our teens. IPod, I Pad and cell phones would have photo capabilities blocked. The camera and internet access would be gone for months. Those photos were taken to share with somebody!

    Paris currently has photo privileges blocked indefinitely from all her devices. She snuck her I Pad upstairs to video chat and our rule is downstairs only. I don't suspect it was anything more than video chatting so it's sad she chose to break that rule. I'm a meanie.
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  12. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Well, we finally had time to discuss the photos I found... and I guess it went better than I expected... but I still don't believe half of what she is telling me. When I first mentioned why the tripod and camera was in her bedroom she was just vague... "oh, I just moved it from over there to here" and then it was "the camera's batteries are dead anyway, so I couldn't have taken any photos". So today I told her that I had the memory card and there were photos that were questionable and that if she had forwarded them to any one it could really cause problems. She kept saying she didn't remember taking any photos in her bed. Then it was well... maybe a long time ago... but I told her the sheets and bedspread were new in these photos and she had those items for less than two weeks.

    I finally showed her the photos she had posed for in bed.... and possibly they were taken with the camera on her bookcase headboard and not the tripod, but still, they were not appropriate photos to take. But she still insists she doesn't remember doing that. Right. Then the same excuses with the photos of the friend cuddling with her and kissing her on the cheek and the top of the head. She remembered the photos... "kind of" but didn't think anything about it at the time... that they might even look like a different type of relationship. I don't really know what to believe. I tried to tell her that some teens experiment with people of the same sex, but she assured me she was only attracted to boys. I asked her if she thought this girl might have been wanting a different type of relationship... but of course, this girl is in to boys too. Then why take photos of kissing and cuddling. The last time this girl was at the house, I noticed that difficult child was sitting on her lap while they looked up something on the computer. I even motioned for difficult child to get up but the other girl was like "oh, it's fine. she sits on my lap all the time."

    So, we had the talk, we talked about birth control, pregnancy, boys, girls, and I still don't know if she is telling me the truth. I explained to her that at 15 I felt she was too young for sexual experiences and that I, in no way, would raise a great grand child. Well, she was adamant that she would never give a child up for adoption and she wanted to be a good parent. I tried to explain that teens were not equipped to be a good parent, that they would need a lot of help, financially, emotionally, physically and that I was not prepared to raise a third generation.

    I also tried to explain that she is very impulsive about just about everything... cutting her hair, buying a certain dress, eating certain food, having to have a pop. That if a person can't wait for some things now, it will make waiting for sex very difficult. She still maintains that she isn't ready for sex... but I still know that the right boy (the wrong one!) could sweet talk her out of her undies in no time at all. It is like she doesn't have a willpower for anything that she wants. I am hoping we can hold off for about 6 weeks... and it will take that long or more to get an appointment with the OB/GYN. Our family doctor could px the bc pills, but we (the doctor and I) both thought it would not be a good form for her as she is very forgetful about everything. So the implant or injections will have to be from the OB/GYN. Less than 2 weeks til testing - and about 6 weeks til the results. I sure don't want her to have any type of medication that might make her more hormonal than she already is.

    Anyway... that is what we are up to now. And I have her memory card and when I have time to put it in my camera and delete the offending photos I'll do it before I give it back to her. Like I said, I still don't believe her, but at least she knows that I know what she is up to - even if she denies it. KSM
  13. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    I mis worded myself. In my opinion confronting her about the bisexuality or same sex tendencies is forcing her to lie, because the consequences are she is not allowed to have a social life.

    Of course you aren't making her be a liar, or sneaky, my kid is sneaky too. But to use an example. "If you like girls then no more sleep overs here and you can't spend the night with other girls" "nope mom I like boys" too easy, because she knows it would be a social life ender to tell you the truth.

    I struggle with my difficult child and truth telling and sneaky behavior also. Sometimes I will reward truth telling on small issues like "did you eat that pop tart? Tell me the truth and there's no consequences, lie and I will be angry." Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I want her to be able to tell me the truth at least about how she feels.

    Sorry that you still feel like she is lying.
  14. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Actually we didn't discuss limiting sleepovers... just more about being aware of personal boundaries. It was more about photos... things that were explicitly wrong and also things that might be interpreted wrongly. I am glad she didn't lose her temper, stayed for the entire discussion, and didn't run out refusing to talk or listen. So over all it went well.

    I just get frustrated when I show her a picture, probably taken one week ago, in her room, with her camera... and she still says "I don't remember taking that" and you can see her arm holding the camera in the photo. KSM
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    The thing I did regarding compromising pictures and social media outputs, and which to my knowledge has worked with my kids, was to dig good, bad examples of the topic and bring those up as neutral discussion topics with my kids. I still do that to keep those matters in their mind. Anyone tends to get defensive if they feel they are accused oreven warned about something. When it is not personal, it's much easier to talk and take info in.

    Let's face, there is no shortage of public social media and compromising picture gaffes among celebrities and other public figures or just other media. I especially picked blunders made by athletes, because that is something my boys are interested and relate. When having a conversation what a pity it is how much jeering one poor pro athlete around here has had to deal with for years because he took a very personal video with his phone (and it's not that he was doing anything wrong), phone was stolen and video made its way to public or how some minor league never heard American hockey player made it to even our news because he made possibly homophobic comment in Twitter, it is not personal and my kids don't get defensive. They don't think I'm suspecting they have done something wrong or that I would think they are stupid and don't know how to behave. And because of that, they don't concentrate trying to defend themselves and it is more likely that they actually hear what I'm talking about.

    Whatever type of celebrities etc. your kid is interested in, are perfect for these lessons. And of course also real life 'social porn' stories about ordinary people. Keep your eyes open and when you notice something that could be a teaching moment, just bring it up for example during dinner. Don't even talk about it to difficult child but with your husband or younger daughter and let her chime in. No straightforward teaching like "don't you do this or that" but just 'gossiping' and wondering what an earth was that person thinking etc. about the matter.

    That has worked rather well with my boys. And even easy child would roll his eyes or get defensive for trying to teach those things more straightforward manner.