My daughter, who is 14 years old, texts non-stop on her cell phone to her friends every day, but mainly to her boyfriend. She is made to put it up on school nights around 10:00 and can't use it while doing homework. (I have a 10 year-old son whose teen years I have yet to experience - so I will not mention him on this topic)
Confession: I read my daughter's text messages, which are usually fairly innocent, but I recently figured out that she has known this for some time because I learned that on the Blackeberry Pearl, the light quits blinking when you open mail,and then press "mark unread", which I thought was clever. What I didn't know happens is that the blinking light can't be turned back to blinking; plus, the little number in red by the envelope indicating how many new messages received disappears and can't be put back. This explains the lengthy gaps between some of the messages she and her boyfriend send each other - she had been deleting the "really private" stuff and leaving the rest for me. While she was sleeping late at night, her boyfriend sent her a text message that was very forward about how he loved her letting him put his hand down her pants and how he wanted to marry her and have kids then they could do it whenever they wanted to. Also, he said that he loved it when she talked naughty to him. What do I do?
Just so you will know the type of home she comes from, my husband and I have been happily married, first time for both of us, for 17 years. We have no other children except our son and daugher, both of whom were planned. We have been very attentive to them and love being parents. We are not too strict but we do have basic rules such as no dating until 10th grade although you can have a group of girls and boys over plus the boyfriend when one of us are home, bedtime at 10:00, brush teeth before bed, do homework after supper, etc. Overall, we are pretty flexible with the things they want to do, if reasonable, and they hang around good kids from good families. Both of them make straight A's. Bacically, your average ideal middle-class happy American family with a cat and a dog too.
I just can't help not knowing what and who my daughter is texting! When I was growing up and her age, my LAND LINE used to ring and my parents knew exactly who I was talking to because they either answered the phone or said, "who was that?" after I hung up. If they weren't home and I talked on the phone, nothing was in writing for the world to see. I could take the phone down the hall to my room IF the telephone line was long enough! I didn't even get a phone in my room until I was 16! THIS IS HOW IT WAS FOR A LOT OF TEENS 15 TO 20 YEAR AGO AND LONGER. Now, we are parents of teens silently communicating in cyberspace, and we are told that when we look to see what's going on and what is being said, we are "invading their privacy and breaking the parent/child trust bond". Parents of today's teens have it hard trying to find the balance of what is spying and what is being a responsible parent. When we look, many call it spying and we get criticized. When we don't, something irreversible goes wrong and we are parents "not paying attention to our teen". It's not that I don't trust my daughter, but I feel that at her vulnerable age of 14, it is my responsibility to check to see what she is saying and doing since it is being "TYPED" into cyberspace for the world to see - maybe even 10 years from now. I would never put my ear to the door of her bedroom to listen to her and a friend chat. Teens type messages on cell phone and the internet that they would NEVER say in person. This could result in a verbal confrontation or finally getting together to have sex like they texted about, but would have never said to each other's face. Teens now type to each other what we use to maybe think but NEVER say to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
I have not confronted my daughter, but she has been hovering around me and hugging me more than usual (not her typical "teen attitude" behavior, but was when she was younger). Should I confront her about the situation or pretend I didn't see? I do feel guilty for looking, but at the same time, I feel lucky to know this now - it would have been deleted as soon as she read it. Please give me some advice on what you think is the right thing or wrong thing to do.
p.s. I am not discussing this with my husband because he will FREAK and overreact. Right now, she' still "daddy's girl" in his eyes. It would crush him. I have learned to accept she is not my little girl anymore, but I'm unprepared to handle her having sex at age 14!
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