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!


Answers


bella
1934 days ago
Hi Molly,

I'm a mom of 2 girls ages 7 & 11yrs. I understand the dilema you're facing and I'm dreading the teenage years myself. I can't believe the way things have changed and it's scarey. I know alot of teenagers have phones but I'm wondering is it too late to take the phone away - I guess that wouldn't stop them anyway? I can understand why you felt the need to snoop, since she's under age and you're responsible for her welfare. But after you talk to her about ground rules, then you should respect her privacy.

Have you had the heart to heart talk with her about sex? I think it's vitally important to have the 1st talk at age 10 then widen the conversation at around 14yrs. and keep an open dialogue through out the years. She should know the consequences of having sex (emotionally and physically). Last week Oprah was talking about this topic and how young girls are sexually active and how common even oral sex is. I didn't even know what it was till I was 18 yrs. They were talking how teaching just abstinance isn't working. They also said how common it is for them to engage in 'sexting'(sex messaging) and even sending nude pictures of themselves. If the boy is texting that we could get married and then we could do it whenever we want - then that's sounds like they're already doing it. I hope not.

I think you should talk to her calmly and tell her that you read the messages and that you're concerned for her well being. If she gets mad, then you can gently remind her that you pay her monthly phone bill - but hopefully you won't have to go that route. You can say lets talk about this and we don't have to let your Dad know. If you haven't had the sex talk with her, then you should. Be totally relaxed and open with her. If the boys talking about marriage, it sounds like he's being a little manipulative - charming her and making her feel special to get her to have sex. You want to make sure that you don't appear upset where she will just clam up. I know you're not prepared to accept her having sex but don't be shocked if she is. The calmer you are, the more likely she will be to open up to you.

My daughter is only 11 yrs old and already has boys after her. For now she tells them that I like you, but only for friendship. I have already had the sex discussion with her and don't feel uncomfortable talking about it. I would rather her hear it from me than a boy, her friends or the internet. I have told her that the subject is open anytime she needs to talk. Some parents think that if they don't talk and just teach abstinance then that's enough - but it's not. I really feel with you and I wish you the best of luck. You sound like a wonderful mother.



Molly
1933 days ago
Thank you. I appreciate the advice. Molly



end182
1934 days ago
well i think it your every right to look through her phone. im 13 and most of my grade is sexally active..two girls are pregnant. So tell her all the things that could happen such as geting pregnent or hiv aids. other than that be there for her



Edahn
1934 days ago
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bella
1933 days ago
^^^^

Good Points.



Molly
1933 days ago
Thank you. Good Advice. Molly



Tico3169
1933 days ago
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Clyde
1924 days ago
I agree. Trust your children, especially if you value the values you gave them.

I can understand worrying about what they are doing, but would you rather them worry about you not trusting them either?

You can ask without being intrusive.

Best,

Clyde



pbc
1896 days ago
I for one completely disagree with the whole trust your children and what not and let them lead their own lives and what not. You have to be very involved with your kids and know what's going on in their lives. They are gonna mess up, they are gonna fall. It is our jobs as parents to pick them up, and put them back on the bike of life and teach them the rights and wrongs of life. It's our job... Not to say that we are untrusting of our teenage daughters, but hey if she's deleting messages she doesn't want you to see then what is really going on. She's 14, last year she was 13 and 12 the year before that. Now boys can be very impressionable on girls that they feel ideally attracted too. So at that point they are in a very venerable state. Look at all the TV shows with sex and music with sex and movies with sex it comes as a natural thing now a days and more and more teens are having it these days. Do you really want to know the amount of teenagers making it to the hospital with STD's... Let me tell you something it is alot higher than when I was a teenager.

So be involved, and look at messages. Even if they don't like it they know you care and you do or you wouldn't find yourself here. Society today we don't spank our kids anymore, instill religious morals and guide our kids in their futures anymore because we are too busy driving 2 hours to and from work working, working alot of hours and picking up kids and grocery shopping, etc. We should trust our children respect their space. But even the good kids with straight A's are deceiving...its true.. So be involved but be there for them and check up on them. Even if it means reading all their texts and what not, because if you don't they are gonna be the ones missing, met with some stranger on the Internet and never came home.. These aren't the days where they can stay out all night playing until the lights come on. you can't even let the kids play out front anymore. Quit trying to treat your kids like adults but rather teach them how to be a responsible one for the future when they do become one.

sorry, but like being blunt

PB



Molly
1885 days ago
Thanks for your input. I feel the same way too, really, but I was questioning myself after reading some of the above answers. Since then, I have talked to other friends of mine and 99% of them said "hell yes I read my kid(s) text messages - every chance I get! What good parent wouldn't!" I watched a show talking about parenting teenagers today, and they said, good teenage parenting means being ALL UP AND OVER their business, expecially in this dangerously quiet, recorded communication world we live in. Let's face it, teenagers do stupid things without thinking - like sending a naked photo to their boyfriend who, after the breakup, sends it to EVERYONE! This picture comes back to haunt that girl 20 years later when she lands her power job as a Federal Judge. This texting and MySpace communicating can have very long-term effects well into a teenagers adult life - they're too naive right now to understand that and we have to protect them. Parenting is a hard job and I believe watching your kids computer and cell phone activity is a responsibility in this fairly new communication/information age. It's a hard jobparents job to be there to correct them and try to lead them down the right path. I do believe they should have a lot of privacy, but NOT when it comes to cell phone texting and MySpace. If they don't want me to see it, then by God they can pick up the phone and say it in words - which will ensure their privacy. I don't eavesdrop on landline calls - because they can't be forwarded with a push of a button for others to see.

They have their privacy when they are home in their room, talking (speaking) on their cell phone and landline, while they are in the bathroom, etc. See,they don't talk on the landline like they text on cell phones - they don't have enough nerve to say some of the things they text to others. I chose to become a mother, not by accident, and it is the most rewarding thing I have ever felt. I will continue to check text messages because it is my job to keep them safe. By the way, me catching that text message from my daughter's boyfriend told me that sex was not far away from happening for the first time. It triggered me to confront her about what I found, tell her that this boy's parents can read this stuff too (which they do!) and the dangers and repercussions of having sex (pregnancy, diseases, feeling used and empty, bad reputation as being easy, etc., etc.) I told her that having sex is supposed to be a pleasurable experience that two ADULTS share with each other to express their love for each other (preferably after being married)not as a young teenager after a couple of dates. It is not a sport and you don't have to do this to make a boy like you. If you do, they are not worth having. Also, I told her when she says "no" to a boy, that means "NO!" even after things have gone too far and she changes her mind. I have to admit I felt good about getting the opportunity to intercept to discuss this with her. I spoke to her very nicely about this and told her I was a teenager once too, but I did not have a mom or dad who would talk to me about these things and because of this, I suffered some of the repercussions due to no knowledge or sense about things because I wasn't told. If something should happen, at least I had the talk with her.



bella
1879 days ago
Good for you Molly - that you had that talk with your daughter. She is YOUR child who you're responsible for and I still stand behind what I said in my post - that you did the right thing. Young teenagers are having sex all the time - they can engage in adult behavior, but they're still immature and not capable of making adult decisions. Make sure you look for opportunities to talk more with her - the more educated you make her, the better choices she'll make. You're a good Mom! All the best to you and your family. Hugs Bella:)



Ragark
1829 days ago
OMGosh Molly, you and I are living parallel lives. Same family, same ages except I have 2 girls, Same years married, haven't told my husband. We use SpectraPro software on my daughters laptop to monitor her invisibly. I get chat reports word for word. I haven't read smut in a book like what I have been subjected to while spying. I have not said a word, but it is weighing heavily on me. She is 14 and he will be 17. Fortunately, he lives states away. We have had the talk and continuously talk, about what all 17 year old boys have on their mind and will do whatever it takes to have sex. wheter is is Cyber Sex , Text Sex or Physical Sex. She is using this situation to build her confidence and feels good that a boy is interested in her. Mind you I was shocked that she is keeping up with his words and thoughts. I thought this was going to be the stage at 15-16. I wasn't ready. Hope we make it through. My praise to all those who already have. Our saying is No drugs No babies. We told her that if she is going accept the responsibility of having sex and what the repercussions could be that she better be responsible enough to protect her self. She can come to me anytime and She will receive a lecture but that I will give/get her protection. Did I say she was 14.......She doesn't have a clue. We will continue to talk until I am blue in the face. I'm not giving up.



rackem
1821 days ago
Molly, you are the parent, the responsible party. If kids didn't need parental guidance we would all be dying off at 16. My daughter is 20. I had the "epiphany moment" about 5 years ago. I had already had "THE TALK". We actually talk all of the time. I asked her to pretend that her life line was 3 feet long. I explained that her choices were/are very important. I told her that bad choices made in the first three inches would result in consequences that "WE" would have to live with for the rest of her/our lives. I explained that if she was going to have sex, to please use protection (from pregnancy and STD's). I asked her to let me know when she thought she might be ready/curious and I would get her a doctor's appointment.

I found out a year later that she had gone to Planned Parenthood for birth control. They told her if she got pregnant that she should go back to them, I wouldn't need to know. That it would be none of my business. When I found out,I told her that,although I was disappointed, I appreciated her taking responsibilty in searching out BC. I also explained to her that there were far more permanent consequences than getting pregnant. I told her having a baby was something she would "grow out of" compared to an addiction, abortion or an STD. If it is none of my business, then who's business is it? I don't think the Planned Parenthood people would be around to help her deal with any of those issues as she matured and tried to live a "normal" life. When we were kids we got guidance from parents, friends and family members and we still made bad choices. Today our kids are getting "guidance" from Facebook, Myspace and Twitter "friends", from TV commercials, celebraties, politicians, "reality" shows on MTV along with the parents, friends and family members. If you don't look listen and act who will and when? Its not easy and sometimes its not fun, but it is necessary. People who say you are violating "your" kid's privacy, haven't had kids. Follow your instincts. Only you know what's best for your kid.



XxgoofygooberxX
1707 days ago
Lol ok I'm 14 yrs old and I found this thing cuz I googled "can my parents read my txts online" and this showed up. Don't read ur kids txts cuz thts just messed up, if u read their txts and tell them I can promise u they will always remember tht. I have txts I don't want my parents to read, not like sexting cuz I think thts just weirdd, but even if ur kids r doing tht and u find out I don't think u should be tht worried cuz they r probably sexting bcuz they kno tht wouldn't actually have sex. I have asked my friends and even my older sister who is 22 and they all agree most things they txt r things they couldn't say or do in person. Just talk to ur kids bout watever u think they r doing witout saying u kno thts wat they r doing, let them kno tht they can tell u anything and should feel comfortable wit saying it to u.



Molly
1623 days ago
Exactly my point xxgoofygooberxx. You text things you could never say in person which is exactly why parents have to check to see if they need to intervene before HAVING to get involved because of the trouble the texting has caused or is misleading to some boy. If you can't say things you text in person, then you shouldn't be texting them. The fact that you got online to google "can my parents read my txts online" proves that you obviously know you're texting things that you know is wrong. Wait until you have kids. I will bet you check their messages because you will "cringe" at the thought of them texting some of the things you did when you were young.



Mike777
1687 days ago
dont you think its a little strange you spy on your 14 year old daughter? seriously... and you go her room in the middle of the night to check her phone?....back off your being too much of a 13itch



lollipop
1335 days ago
she did the rite thing and is not a 13itch she's a good mother and cares about her daughter...acourse u would say what u said because you would b one of the boys the mother's don't want their daughter's around.



Molly
1623 days ago
Mike777

I would bet you are a teenage boy.



Edahn
1623 days ago
I still think it's wrong, and I'm not a teenage boy.



lollipop
1335 days ago
well i think she did the rite thing because it probably would still b going on.



amybae
1553 days ago
Well. this is really random that i found this. i was looking to ee if it was possible for my father to manually read my texts & this came up. all the responses to this are from 70 days ago. so you might not even read this & probably already worked out your problem. but i couldt resist adding my own input to this & made an account just for it.

Okay. so. I'm thirteen & will b 14 this coming July. I live in Pennsylvania & have been talking to this guy from Michigan for a little over six months. I met him on the internet. Myspace. Yeah, i can almost feel your dissapproving look. i never believed in internet relation ships & how i met him was really a total accident. but thats a whole other story. so. yeah. we talked & at first it was neutral, i just wanted a new person to chat with. well, now we're really intimate. i mean, as intimate as people can be who live 6 hrs away. but we tell each other we love each other & talk about everything. i really do beleive that one day he will b my husband. anyways. my dad knows about him due to a large phone bill. i spilled everything to my dad & told him all the truth. excpet i lied about his age, but then came clean a week after. ( i cant tell lies) HES 17. well. we talk sexually quite oftenly, honestly. we've had IM sex. & text message sex. whenever he bring the stuff up that i've sad to him in text messages on the phone though, i feel really awkward & change the subject. i've never sent him a naked picture or anything, because im just not into that. & im a virgin.

i know that if my dad ever looked at my text messages, i would b really ambarrassed & he would b disappointed. i think something like that could really ruin a relation ship between parent & child. every time he would see me texting he would thin k i would b talking like a little skank. & i would fel really violated & upset that he invaded my privacy. i text constantly & sometimes he asks me who im texting. & i flat out tell him "jonathan". i think he appreciates my honesty. i just think that if yu were really that curious, you could have just asked her. if you had a good relationship mayb she would have given yu an idea. if my dad asked me i wouldnt go into detail. but i might say "yah. we've talked about sex." or "yeah. i love him. & if he lives closer. he would have already been my first". idk. thats just what i think. & i really wanted to get it out there.



Molly
1543 days ago
Well, I can tell you from my brother's experience with an internet girlfriend who became his wife - for one year until he got to know the "real" her. I'm not going to give you the "you're too young right now to understand" speech, but I will tell you that I have learned from experience myself that you don't know someone until you are around them in person - and over one year at that. I told my brother, 36 years old at the time, that "you don't know somebody until you know somebody" which means being around them in person for more than a few months. Who in the world would type, "Well, now that we've been texting for several months, I think it's time that I tell you I have herpes, AIDS, in debt up to my eyeballs, etc." My brother married this girl, who had an 8 month-old child, and after being around each other for one year they couldn't stand each other. She was in debt and her car was reposessed. She forgot to type him the information about all of her financial problems and her bad habits. Well, anyway, good luck.



julianna
1542 days ago
My 15 year old daughter has been in a relationship with a 17 year old boy for the last 4 months. We havent heard anything good about this boy (getting kicked out of school for fighting, smoking pot, fighting with her a lot, and has told other boys how he can't wait to have sex with her)so we have been opposed to the relationship. They see each other at school and text and talk but she knows that we don't approve. She is not allowed to car date and knows that our rules are that she can see boys supervised after they have met us at our home or other supervised places. We suspected that she was seeing him when going to friends houses and we finally caved to keep her from lying to us. We said that he could start coming over. A week passed and she never asked for him to come. Her dad came home last week unexpectedly and found him in our house with her and her brother. Nothing was going on but our rule is no unsupervised time in the house. He angrily told him to leave and took her cell phone. Of course she was wrecked but later that night she tried to overdose on tylenol and ended up in the ER and later ICU for the night. She is fine physically but not mentally. After looking at her phone (which we have never done before)to try to find some answers we uncovered quite a mess. Not only were they having sex they were trying to get pregnant. They were saying how they were engaged and they were going to move in together! There was everything from phone sex to every lie about where she had supposedly been. Where do you go from here? We asked the boy to leave her alone for a couple of weeks so they could both get their heads on straight and start over in a healthier fashion. She has started counseling but still insists that everything has to work out with him. Meanwhile he doesn't think he can handle two weeks apart. She of course can't see that he is not in it for the long haul just that he and her dad don't get along.She is one that if she doesn't have a boyfriend all is lost. He really has as many emotional problems as she has. If he really cared for her he would let her heal no questions asked. We are only asking for 14 days. We are at a total loss. Any constructive advice would be great.



lollipop
1335 days ago
Hello Molly, i'd just like to say that i'm 14 years old and i know how you feel because my mom had to deal with the same things your going through.i have dissapointed my mom twice b4 by using the internet and using my fone to text guys older than me and far away somewhere else from me...and i realize all the hurt and pain i've caused my mother to go through...i've sexted b4 and sent dirty pics i shouldn't have...yes i know your probably dissapointed in me too...but my mom is a good mom and loves me and didn't know the things i was doing...i was really sneeky and went behind her back...how she found out was she went through my fone...yes i was upset but was more hurt that i hurt her...to this day she says she will not give me my fone back...and we have a relationship still and are very close.but now she watches me more and she does tust me just not that much as she did b4 i did what i did....to this day im glad my mom went through my messages and took my fone away because other wise it would still be going on...and i think your a very great awesome mother and i can tell u love your daughter more then anything in the world cuz i know my mom loves me...im her only daughter...you did the rite thing molly. God is with you and beside you every step of the way...hugs and kisses.

Lollipop.

P.S.if you need anymore advice ill b here.that goes for any1 else.



jesuschick
1113 days ago
You touched my heart Lollipop. I am so glad you gave your input on this matter. God bless you.



adifferentworld
1086 days ago
Thank you Lollipop, GOD Bless you. I have an 11yr old daughter who is sort of sexting. Shes leading the boys on and im worried someone is going to hurt her. I have trusted her in the past but have found things (snooped, because I love her and and want to keep her safe. Now Im taking her phone and internet away. I hate being this way but Im so afraid for her. I was raped when younger because I was stupid. No one cared what I did when I was young and never had the sex talk. My daughter wont listen to anyone about this including our church. I wish she could talk to someone like you. I signed up just to tell you this, hopefully i will be able to login later. Well gotta go pick her up and tell her she wont have internet or phone so I wont be a snoop. Thank you again, sorry to babble.



Minus
1063 days ago
I don't think you should be reading other people's stuff, even if she is your daughter. I am maybe not a mother. I'm not even 18 yet. xD But I know that I would totally be pissed if I found out my parents would be reading my messages. I mean think, how would you feel if you found out someone read YOUR private messages or overheard a conversation that you rather have kept to yourself? We have feelings too, you know. Okay, I know you are just trying to protect your daughter. But reading through her messages really goes overboard. And doing it over and over definitely does. Fine, you can maybe go through some messages just ONCE to make sure she isn't texting with some strange perv. But just texting with her boyfriend is fine. Who cares if they are texting sexual messages? She's 14, old enough. I doubt just because of that, she would go on and fuck with him. Just trust her and it will be fine.

And don't tell her or else your definitely gonna make her mad. She probably wouln't trust you for a while and hugging and kissing is out of the question. So just don't do it anymore..



sheri
1032 days ago
Guess what young lady??? You are too young and vulnerable to even really have a clue as to what a parent has a right to. Do you pay the bills? Do you pay the mortgage? Do you buy the groceries? My guess is "no". Therfore, you are too young to decide what a parent has a right to do and guess what else?? IF you are a caring, loving responsible parent one day.... I guarantee, you will be doing the same thing.



karlss8
1029 days ago
Hello I'm thirteen and I just wanted to say I deff don't think what you are doing is wrong. I had done something like this with one of my past boyfriends and I am sosososososososo glad my mom found out because even though she still checks my texts, I learned a lesson and that that kind of stuff isn't right for my boyfriend to say to me. And its helped my self confidence and now I have a boyfriend my whole family loves for a year, who actually respects me and I'm glad I learned that lesson.

I hope this helped(: