GirlsMom's picture
GirlsMom

HELP!! Issue with 15 year old daughter

Moms of Teen Girls and Boys, I need your advice!!

Yesterday, while my whole family was at my mother's house for a little get-together, my oldest daughter left her cell phone unattended in an upstairs bedroom. She is 15 and going into tenth grade this fall. My husband found her phone and started looking at the texts in it while she was downstairs with me. He then calls me upstairs because in the texts, he found some disturbing conversations back and forth to one of her good friends and also to her boyfriend. I was shocked that he was going through her phone but when he told me what he found, the "mom" side of me kicked in and the privacy issue took second fiddle.

Fist off....our daughter is 15 and she is a really good teenager by all standards. She is a straight-A student, in all advanced classes, and is ranked #7 in her high school right now for grades. She is a soccer player, has been VP of Student Council, and is connected to a good group of friends. No drugs or alcohol issues within her group or with her. One of our biggest issue with her is that she is drop-dead gorgeous and the boys are constantly swooning over her wherever she goes. She can't help that, but she is quite the popular girl but has not had a single interest in boys until this past January. She now has her first "boyfriend". This boyfriend is someone she has known for three years as a friend. He is also 15 and again...no drugs, drinking, smoking, etc. from him either. He is polite, smart, and treats her very nicely from what we can observe. My daughter keeps her room neat and clean, is a fairly good-natured person, can be moody, sassy, and difficult with attitude at times but nothing that would be out of the ordinary for a teen girl. She also has a 13 year old sister. Her and the boyfriend are NOT ALLOWED to be together unsupervised. A parent has to be home when they are together or they group date. They don't like this rule but we enforce it anyway. Just giving you guys some history and background here.

Now...back to the texts on the phone. Seems as though the relationship with the boyfriend is heating up and so is the peer pressure to "experiment" and talk about things in the sex and boyfriend department with her group of friends. We found texts that they were playing Strip Poker and that some heavy duty making out was going on recently. There was also a text in there that my daughter removed her shirt and bra. I nearly had a stroke and my husband is beyond a coronary at this point. There was no mention of sex on the texts but the actions that have transpired right now are all leading up to that event. I'm not a dummy and neither is my husband. The one friend my daughter was texting about this has also taken a turn this summer into being a little "naughty" with the boys. My daughter tells me a lot of things and has discussed her friend's choices with me. I am appalled to see texts that now suggest my own child is testing the waters with the boyfriend she has now. I know she is 15 and has to experience things and grow up but I am just struggling with this sudden discovery. Anyone have advice?

My gut instinct is to immediately put her on birth control. She will have a heart attack and tell me she doesn't need or want it but I am really heading in that direction now. I can talk to my daughter and she and I have had many discussions about sex. Lately, she has clammed up and is also more secretive and sneaky. The boyfriend adds to that and so do her friends. The friends tell her not to tell me things anymore. I don't think I can ever tell her that her Dad sabotaged her cell phone and looked through her text messages. I was upset about him violating her privacy at first but now, I'm gad he did. What would you do if you were me? Birth control or no? I have to talk to her about this but very delicately. I don't want her to shut me out or go into full-blown "secretive mode". Should I tell her I know that she and the boyfriend are kicking things up a notch? She will deny it but it was right there on her phone! They are never together unsupervised to my knowledge but apparently this happened when she was at his house and his mother ran to the store for 40 minutes. Geeeez! We are also friends with the boyfriends mom. Should we tell her about what we know concerning her son? My daughter is putting the moves on her only child and he is happy as a clam! Both these kids are virgins and they are in love. Teenage 15 year old love....first love. OMG, I remember all that drama. I need to make a move here with this very soon. Any help or advice that parents of teens can give me would be great. I want to handle this right so it makes a lasting impression. Something has to be done but I'm up in the air as to how I should address the issues. HELP!!!



DonnaK's picture
DonnaK

My first reaction was your husband owes his daughter an apology. He invaded her privacy - it's like the mother who "cleans" the teenagers bedroom and reads her daughters diary .. it's just wrong. But no you should not tell her that you read her texts IMO. She would stop trusting you or your husband. I also don't think you need to tell the boys mother - because if you did you'd have to say how you got your information. I'm not sure if you have a teenage boy or not. But the woman knows her son would probably sex if he had the opportunity. You would not be telling her anything she does not already know... except that it is possible he's going to be offered sex by your daughter (and really do you want to go there???)

On that note. I have a pregnant teenager at home. She is also a good kid (thankfully she graduated and is going to live with me and go to college as planned) and I talked to her about sex and responsibility. I even told the girl that if she didnt' want to tell me about going on birth control she didn't have to. I gave her the information about where to go. She has a job and a copy of my insurance card so it would have been no problem. She said over and over again I'm not having sex mom I'm not ready to do that. She also started dating a boy seriously. By seriously I mean she was wanting to be with him all the time, etc. The "group" dates stopped. (keep in mind my daughter was 17 not 15.

Hind sight being 20/20, I wish I had put my daughter on birth control when my instincts were saying to do so. I'm not sure how I would have been able to do that against her will - but I wish I had tried a whole lot harder.

Hey, and don't take it so hard that your daughter is not telling you everything - it's not deceit or some "bad" kids fault - it's just a part of growing up (an important part).

2xstepmom's picture
2xstepmom

Your 15 y/o daughter is your child. As such you have the right to look at her cell phone texts and calls. Also her My Space or Facebook page, her email and her IM's if she has them. You probably bought the phone and pay the bill. She may be using it, but it belongs to you and you have every right to look at it any time please. The idea that she may get angry for you violating her privacy is just wrong. Until she is out of your home and paying her own bills, she lives under your rules. You and your husband are the adult parents and in charge, not her.

Being constantly supervised means just that, not going to the store for 40 minutes. A lot can happen in 40 minutes as you now know. If you feel she may have sex even while being under supervision, then put her on the pill. Both of them should be taken to Planned Parenthood or some place similar where they will be given much needed info about STD's also.

Yes, you are very obligated to have an immediate and honest conversation, if possible face to face, with the boy's parents. How would you feel if his parents had this sort of information and kept it from you? They have the right to know what is going on with their 15 y/o child, as do you. You can't stop them from doing it, but you must be proactive or you will end up with an unplanned pregnancy or worse.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I agree w/ 2xstepmom. You can't tiptoe around your daughter b/c you're afraid you're going to offend her or lose her trust. What's worse: upsetting your daughter or having a pregnant teen? You may think it cld never happen to your daughter, but you never know for sure. Are you willing to take that risk. Put your daughter on birth control, monitor her even closer than you have been, and don't let her over her bf's house even if his mom is home. Furthermore, talk to the bf's mom and voice your concern. She is your friend, and she is also a mom. There's no reason why she shldn't understand your actions.
As a parent, it's your job to protect your children however that may be. Don't just sit back and hope nothing will happen. Take action now before it's too late. Your daughter will thank you for it in the long run.

GirlsMom's picture
GirlsMom

The two moms that commented last....thank you for your support and advice. I was a bit taken aback by the first reply I got where the mother scolded us for looking at my daughters text messages on her cell phone. YOU are right. That phone belongs to me. I paid for it, the plan, the service...everything. It is a privilege for her to have it. I did feel bad for invading her privacy but if it had pertinent information that allows me to see what is going on, then I will take it!

I had a heart to heart conversation with my daughter last night and I told her all of my concerns. She took it well and although she did not admit to "kicking it up a notch" with the boyfriend, she KNOWS that I am aware of something that makes me think she has. I did not tell her about looking at her phone. I may need to do it again so I didn't want her guarding the cell phone for dear life. I also got info. from her that one of her close friends is putting a lot of pressure on her to experiment and "try" things with her boyfriend that she said she is not ready to do. I kind of figured that was going on. I told her that she has to stand her ground and do what is best for her. Skirt the issue with the friend and tell her that you do not want to talk about sex issues and change the subject if need be when the discussions are getting weird. I will be watching this friend of hers very closely now....more than before.

I am struggling with letting the mother of the boyfriend know what happened even though she will side with me and take the news well. I just don't want her to "slip" and tell her son where I may have gotten the information from. He will tell my daughter and in turn, there goes spying on the cell phone. She will get crafty and either not text anything, or delete it all immediately. I have to be careful. Also, my daughter said she is not ready for sex and knows this. I told her we will visit my OB/GYN and get her on the pill just in case and she said that she doesn't want to do that if she is not needing it. I'm not sure if I should listen to her on that or just put her on the pill against her wishes. What do you think? She SWEARS to me that she will come to me if she needs the pill. She said it would scare her to go to Planned Parenthood by herself and that she is not ready for that experience and neither is the boyfriend. I do have to commend the boy she is with. He is very shy and modest and has never been with a girl before so he is not in a rush to be doing wild things it seems. But....I am not stupid and once you flip the sex switch on a guy, it is hard to shut it off. Been there, done that.

Any other advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated. Our discussion went well and I firmly planted my feet in my daughters life to the point of telling her how it is going to be. The only thing I am wavering on is the birth control thing. Do I force it or let her come to me? She was open and honest when we talked and did not deny anything. I think I will speak to the boyfriend's mother in confidence today. I'm going to set up a private lunch. Thank you for all your insight and help. Mother #1 with the pregnant teen scared the hell out of me and made me feel bad for looking at my daughters phone. You are right....my husband and I OWN this house and all of its contents. I do not feel bad about anything!

wmcneill's picture
wmcneill

One simple answer for you: birth control and don’t feel guilty putting her on it. It’s ok and for their protection. You let your daughter know that you DO NOT agree with teen sex and that it is for her own safety only. I have four daughters 21, 19, 17, and 14, trust me this is the best thing you can do for her at this point and is a learning lesson I had to go through. I tell my coaching clients that as much as we would like to think our daughters would never do such a thing we must stay in reality…sex just happens, the moons right, the music, etc. and there you go. Keep your daughter safe, talk to her about sex and continue to instill those very important values and morals in your daughter…always keep the doors of communication open.

P.S. Yes your daughter should have some privacy...I say some because as a parent we need to have skilled intuition when it comes to something being “out of place”. Do give her some privacy unless you feel something is not right and most moms that are “in tune” with their daughters know when this is. Trust is a BIG factor in a daughter/mother relationship regardless what anyone says and it will keep the communication open as they go through their teen life, you don’t ever want that door to close on you.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

You're doing the right thing. Keep the lines of communication open w/ your daughter. Also, if there's a way you can discuss your concerns w/ your friend w/out mentioning the cell phone, try that. You can be vague but also sound confident that you know something "more" is going on
between your daughter and her son.
I don't have a daughter, so it's hard for me to voice my opinion about the pill. I, however, put myself on the pill when I was an older teen and cld give my consent. I look back on that decision, and I'm happy I made it. I don't know how I wld've handled being pregnant at such a young age.
It's so good to hear that you have open communication w/ your daughter. That's so important. Growing up, my parents were very strict, and it was difficult for me to talk to them about such things. The last thing you want is to scare your kids into being afraid to come to you. So, it's a delicate balance. You cld do what my parents did and keep a short leash on your daughter. It kept me out of trouble, but I have to admit I resented this and rebelled later on.
Find a way to give your daughter her independence if you feel she is being honest w/ you. Keep tabs on her always, but give her that space too. I still think, regardless, kids can be sneaky. I wldn't totally rule out the pill, but you also know your daughter best. Every kid is different, and in no way am I suggesting that your daughter will rebel like I did. I have a cousin who is beautiful, smart, and a really good kid. She was always trustworthy as a teen, and according to her mom, she never felt the need to question her daughter's decisions. If you have a kid like that, you're very lucky. The only concern I have is what you found on your daughter's phone. You can't ignore or forget that. You also can't forget that although your daughter may be a good kid, peer pressure is so real and so influential. There will always be girls like your daughter's one friend. There will also be teen boys, even those who have good intentions, who have normal racing hormones. It's inevitable no matter how you look at it. Do whatever you feel you have to protect your daughter w/out totally sheltering her altogether.
I believe kids shld be allowed to have choices, and I also believe kids can learn from their mistakes. However, it's the parents' job to guide their kids, and intervene, especially if their child is faced w/ a decision that can be harmful or signifactly life changing such as in the situation you're facing w/ your daughter.
Although I can't tell you what's best for your daughter, I hope my advice has been helpful. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

acitez's picture
acitez

Be sure you get a good consult with your doctor about birth control. My daughter had depression problems while she was on the pill. I'm not saying don't do it, just be aware that there are side effects that you need to watch for. Postpartum depression at 16 might be a consequence of not using hormonal manipulation. There are no easy answers.

MEANMOM's picture
MEANMOM

ok if you don't want to make her go on birth control yet fine then tell her that is fine you can respect her decision not to be on it for now but make an appointment with you OB doctor and Officially make her a patient and the appointment will be to discuss all the different types of birth control like the pill, the shot,ect.....decide what would be best for her WHEN she is ready.and they will also discuss std's with her and answer any questions. This is what I did with my daughter when she was 14. she decided the depo shot would be good for her once every three months and little or no periods...too.anyway after the appointment she was a patient and I gave her a card with ob number on it and told her when she was ready to call and make an appointment.This is being educated and prepared and she can get things started without having to tell you anymore than mom I made an appointment with the ob doctor, then you will know she is ready.

momof15's picture
momof15

Are you kidding me??? Apologize to your 15 yr old for going through her phone! Who is paying for this phone and who is the parent. I too look at my daughter's phone if she parts for one minute with it. I am not invading her privacy, as my husband also feels, but protecting her. Texting, sexting is too easy now adays. So easy to write everything and going too far without being in the same room. I have found dangerous things and thankfully I did find them on her phone. Leaving it in her room while she goes for a run, is it invading her privacy or a call for help or attention. I found that she was cutting herself, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night and things that I first thought were typical teenage things to more dangerous things that needed assessment by a professional. Don't ever feel that you have no right to watch over your teens. They may have left that phone lying around for a reason.

GirlsMom's picture
GirlsMom

Thank you guys for all of the helpful commentary. Good news...the relationship with this boy and my 15 year old ended and it was my daughter's choice to let it go. She came to the realization that this boy was just a "boyfriend". Nothing more. The break-up did have a little bit of drama from the boy who felt like he was being jilted. She did break his heart.....it happens. The good news is that this bit of drama taught my daughter that had she done anything sexual with this boy, it would have complicated things 100% and made everything worse. She is relieved to be out of the relationship and also relieved that she followed my advice and her choices to keep things non-sexual with this first-time boyfriend. This was a lesson that she needed and I hope one that she continues to remember for a few more years.

Also...I DO NOT feel guilty at all for looking at her cell phone when it was unattended. I paid for the phone, I pay the monthly cell charges, and it is in my opinion that she's damn lucky to have the type of phone she has and a parent willing to pay the fees to keep it activated. In other words...that cell phone is MINE and she is merely a renter of the whole thing. As a parent, if I see fit to look into that cell phone, that is my perogative. I will not and have not apologized for anything concerning that phone. I agree with the many comments here that keeping track of my teen daughter takes priority over cell phone privacy at this age and at this time. If she were 18...I would think differently and she would also be paying for her own phone! Case closed...we have moved on. Thank you for all the much needed help. I appreciate everyone's point of view here.