oboemom's picture

15 year old girl turned "Emo"

Our 14year old daughter has had many friends throughout school, but each moved away. The last friend she made just moved too, but they still can see each other and talk. This friend is into being "Emo" which I guess means emotional. They aren't Goth but they like to wear black, no bazaar makeup or anything like that.  They both are crazy about the movie Sweeney Todd, watch it constantly. My daughter knows every word, has the music on her MP3 player from the movie. I won't let her watch it anymore.

We have always been church-goers, she is active in communion help, etc. She knows more about the Bible than most kids. However, she hates the kids her age in church because they shunned her when she was younger, because she is shy. She openly shows her hatred by looking angry and downcast in church. She clings to her father, which makes her seem odd to others.

The sad thing is, our daughter has won the President's Award for Academic Excellence the last 2 years at school, is considered gifted and talented.  She is also considered to be "stunning" looking, as most people say to us. We feel she is wasting away, because of this obsession with what her friend likes. She is starting to hang out with kids who are considered in our small town to be "not desirable", but they are nice to her, and since her friends all moved away this is all she wants to do.

Does anyone else have or have had this happen? I am going to speak to her doctor about a meeting with a couselor-but this hasn't worked in the past!

Thanks for any advice. We want our daughter back!!!

mombeenthere's picture

well mom. Have you asked your daughter what it is about her friends that she likes?

Have you tried to find out what she is thinking about when she watches that movie?

I realise that its a bit of a scary thing for a mom of a young girl to witness but- offer her some other options.

I am sure that there are some church youth groups that do not shun or pick on other children ... but i have been unable to find them, either for my son or myself.

the Children that my son has attended school with for the last 11 years who do attend church youth groups are the bullies of the school, and the snobs as well.

as for your daughter clinging to her dad- im not sure what that means or how it makes her odd- i loved to spend time with my Dad every moment he had time.

I told my son that i was interested in him being happy and knowing God. I said i wasnt interested in fighting with him over the length/colour/style of his clothing or his hair- but i would not accept him being dirty or looking untidy.

before you consider a councilor try spending some time with her just the two of you. Some churches or communities have Mother Daughter sports nights or retreats or you could start your own.

regardless Emo is really about music and a feeling of fitting in more then anything else.

be supportive- be present- be fair ( did you listen to the music before you banned it? Many children consider the music that they find speaks their feelings to be a part of their identity)

good luck and be patient

oboemom's picture

Thanks for your insight. It was helpful.
She says the kids she hangs with are the ones that are nice to her-so this is ok with me.
I don't ban her music, just the amount of time she spends watching that movie. It bothers my younger son, so if she wants to watch it it has to be after he goes to bed.
Thanks for explaining Emo-I've never heard that name before she started high school!
I have started trying to be more one-on-one with her, and you're right, it is helpful.
It's terrible that being in church doesn't create some respect for others. I was a Sunday School teacher for 4 years and brought my kids up to know that all we do should be for God and all we have is from Him!
Thanks again!

tamz's picture

Okay, I'm not trying to scare you but being an "emo kid" is not just listening to music and fitting in. Just search "emo kid" on the internet and you will see what these kids are thinking about. Many emo kids have the reputation of "cutting" and suicide. I'm certainly not saying your beautiful daughter is considering suicide, but please don't rule that out.

I personally know an emo kid who was top of his class, very attracitve and better than any of the other kids at soccer, skating or anything he ever tried. He was also the best at being an emo kid. He hung himself in a shed when he was 19. It was too late for us when we learned what "emo" kids are about.

Learn about emo rock and don't be niave!

I feel for your daughter and I agree with "mom" when she says spend time with your daughter and ask what she likes about the movie. I also agree that the music kids select is a reflection of what they relate to. Look up the lyrics and the bands. Have conversations with her about the bands and the lyrics. This is an opportunity to relate to her as well.

I have changed churches many times in my life. It sounds like this church may be serving your needs and not your daughters. Find one that will serve both of you.

Have your daughters friends over and get to know them. Join a class at the rec center with your daughter. Get to know why she likes what she does and understand what it is she likes in order to advise her about it.

Good Luck!

mombeenthere's picture

thats what i ment by offer her options, help her to see that you are a safe person to talk to.. in the event that those feelings or any other feeling for that matter might pop up that mom is really honestly there for her.

Definitly do some research into it but be careful that you look for information not just from the perspective of the adult looking down on fring children- look for the thoughts of the kids.

just because she dresses the part doesnt mean she is secretly on the edge of suicide.
Also remember that talking with your daughter about any scary feelings she might be having is just as important when her hair is its natural colour.

My conversation with my son after i knew a girl into emo liked her was this- "son i know a certain amount about who she is but, I do know that regardless of who your freinds are if thought of suicide ever enters into your head or you ever hear one of your freinds talking about it I want you to know you dont have to face those feelings alone, I am here to help because i love you and even if its a friend whos said it to you you dont have to do it alone."

look at the individual dont judge the children for trying to find a place to fit in- it is really all highschool is about.

EasyTherMac's picture

well it seems like ur daughter already has a lot going for it...I wouldnt worry unless she gets into bad habits...she just be followign he likes of her friends but she may outgrow it ..its definitely the age when i was younger I had a lotof "emo" friends and it was also during the middle school/early high school era but as we grew older and took interest in different things we all outgrew it!

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

When I first read this post, I thought joining this new group of friends was your daughter's way of trying to fit in wherever she cld. Think about it. All her friends move away, she has a hard time making new friends b/c most of the kids are unkind to her, so she joins a group of friends who accept her for who she is. Everyone wants to have friends, right? Now she's in this group, and to fit in, your daughter starts dressing like these kids, listening to the same music.... Even if this was never your daughter's taste before, she suddenly now wants to belong whether she agrees w/ this new image or not. I don't see any of this as harmful. In fact, it's normal at your daughter's age to want to fit in.
The negative side of all this is what tamz touched on. If EMO really is associated w/ kids cutting themselves and commiting suicide, then something needs to be done to help this girl. We already know that she's willing to change just to be accepted, so who knows what else she might do just to fit in. Peer pressure is such a scary thing. We can raise our kids to be independent thinkers and self confident individuals w/ all good values, but even then, kids cave in to peer pressure.
I wld keep a very close eye on your daughter. While it's good that she's made friends, it's not good if she conforms to things that may potentially be harmful to her. I had a brother who committed suicide, so I take this very seriously. If you see your daughter's grades slipping, or you feel she is different in any other way, don't let this slide. Even if you have to change schools to keep her safe, do it. Her life is more important than anything else.

oboemom's picture

Thank you to all who answered.
I think as time has gone by our daughter has realized what our concerns are. She's not as "out there" as she used to be. In fact, since her friend moved away, she's become more like her old self. She's gained new friends,too. Her favorite thing to do is to spend time with us, her family. She's still a little girl in many ways.
As far as church goes, we're just avoiding the tiny youth group she's supposed to be in. She's not missing anything there, they don't do anything much. The lady that took over running it is a major p-in-the-a, (most of the congregation agrees)
Anyway, I'm breathing easier. This "phase" is passing by.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

It's always good to hear some positive news. I'm glad your daughter is finding her own self again and that things are better for her and your family. Thx for the update.

oboemom's picture

My daughter is now going to be a sophomore. Will be 16 in Nov. She is now into show choir and hopes to do well there. Her music teacher told her she could be a soloist soon, so things are going better in that category.
She has a job now, also, which she likes.
She is into Tim Burton movies, which I also like, and has become quite interested in the sound tracks of various movies-many are instrumental/symphonies. I also enjoy them!
So, she is gaining an ear for classical music.
Now she is interested in Annamae? drawings and characters. It's all she does on the computer. It seems harmless. Is it????
Her friends have become strictly those who dye their hair black; lots of piercings, etc. They are nice kids, and I find all are from broken homes. When my daughter gets together with them they just talk. We live in a small town so there isn't much else to do.
We are not worried about suicide. She's smart, loves life, and close to us and tells her father or me everything.
However, family members saw her with her "group" and are very concerned about it; they think the kids look like gang members and are looked down upon because of their black attire!
We aren't going to tell her NOT to keep these friends-they are good to her. But we are also concerned because she refuses to try to make friends with other types of people, and shuns them!

acitez's picture

Everybody (almost) is into Anime one way or another. There is a lot of variety within the genre, some of them are innocent, some decidedly not. Challenge her to try other drawing styles, anime is not all that challenging (beyond me though).

Host some parties for the friends, provide food, supervision, and be a good hostess--engage each of them in conversation. Some of them will be very good at snowing you, one of my daughter's friends was very polite and articulate to me, but involved in some pretty nasty stuff. I still felt it was important that I connect with her.