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11yo, Facebook, and Lying- WWYD?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My 11yo DSD lives with us fulltime, mom is not in the picture at all right now. DSD is on Facebook ALOT, which is something DH and I have disagreed about in the past, he thinks there's nothing wrong with it, I think she's too young for Facebook in general but should at least have time limits and more supervision.

Here's my problem right now: DSD is lying on Facebook. At first it was little things, lying about getting good grades when she definately is not, saying her middle name is something other than what it actually is. Then last week, she posted that her bestest friend in the whole wide world just died of cancer. And it's not just Facebook, she's telling me and her dad that this happened. THERE IS NO SUCH FRIEND! She says this girl has been her BFF since 1st grade, but we've never heard her mention this girl. She's been making posts about her on facebook daily, making references to how they used to hang out all the time, gifts this girl has given her, ect. That simply isn't true. The friend has a facebook page as well, it's a new page made earlier this month, and DSD is the only friend on the page and since the friend died, DSD has been running it for her.

So what do we do about this? How normal is this? DH says he doesn't know what to do about it and he says now that I'm probably right about limiting her time on Facebook but seems to think we should just ignore this made up friend situation. I've been acting as if I believe it's true and have been trying to get DSD to give me her friend's parents' phone number so I can call and find out when the funeral is and so forth, and DSD says she can't find the phone number right now and she'll look for it more later. Is this something that we should be concerned about? Outright confront her about it? Just let it all blow over? What do you all think?
post #2 of 19
I don't have any advice but she sounds a LOT like me at that age. I used to lie about all kinds of crazy things just to get attention. I told kids at school that I was allergic to milk and that I was deathly afraid of escalators. Really, it was all for attention. I was ignored a lot both at school and at home. I guess all I can tell you is that I'm not like that now..I eventually grew out of it.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
That makes a lot of sense that it's for attention, but this girl is not ignored!! I know that she's upset about mom not being around, but her dad spends a lot of time with her, her grandma thinks she hung the moon, little brother and sister absolutely adore her, she's active in theater at the YMCA, I could go on and on..
post #4 of 19
It may well be that she does it to get attention from the mom who isn't in the picture--even though logically you and I know lying on Facebook won't get her mom's attention. I would look into counseling--she may just need a safe outside person to process the loss of her mother with.
post #5 of 19
I had a "best"friend once who told me SHE was dying. The story had as many details (or more) as your daughter's. Well, once I was talking to her mom, something she never wanted me to do, and mentioned something about her illness, and her mom was like, "What? She's not sick." UGH. I can't tell you that feeling. I was in my young 20's so she was definitely older than your daughter. I can say that that experience had major affects on me, and not in a good way. When her parents found everything out, they sought therapy for her, but it did not help. I think now that I'm not in her life anymore, she may be doing better, and may finally have whatever her issues were, under control. Because of this experience though, I am very inclined to say that I would talk to someone - a pediatrician or school counselor - about this. It doesn't sound like normal little white lies that teenages tell to me. Of course, I don't have a teenager so I could be wrong, but I have been a teenager before. I told my share of lies, but they were mild, and few compared to this.

If you think knowing more about my experience would give you any added insight, feel free to PM me. Good luck! I'm not looking forward to whatever curve balls my own son will throw my way when he's older!
post #6 of 19
I was alot like that too. I signed my junior high yearbook from a girl two years older that I admired so my friends would think I knew her. I also lied alot for attention. My mom was an alcoholic and very negligent (even though she was there) and I think I was trying to see "what it would take" to get her attention. Maybe your dsd is trying to see if something "this bad" would get her to come back or call or whatever.

My initial thought about the facebooking is that she is way too young to be spending that much time. But honestly, I don't know what preteens do on FB! Maybe this is sort of like a journaling outlet...except it has an audience. I would definitely limit it, because really, I don't believe it is healthy for ANY of us (humans) to spend hours per day on facebook. It really does take away from other real life experiences.

Hoping the best for your dsd.
post #7 of 19
My dd started doing this stuff when she was about 11. I finally got so disturbed I had a psych evaluate her (over time not a one time eval) and she has been given a bipolar diagnosis.
post #8 of 19
My girls have face book and use fake names, that does not bother me.

The friend with cancer dieing does. Your dsd is doing things to get attention and might need more help than you can offer. She is lying on Facebook but if there was no Facebook, she would still be doing these behaviors.
post #9 of 19
Your dsd may be getting lots of great attention from you and her dad but she is getting none from her natural mom and that must hurt like hell! She is too old to act out her thoughts (like a younger child playing mom and baby etc) so maybe she is using this imaginary friend to help her express how hurst she is feeling? I would try to talk to her and maybe think of counciling?

What ever happens I hope all works out well!
post #10 of 19
I think I would gently, and understandingly confront her. Tell her that you know this is a lie.

I think she'd be much better put to work writing her imaginative thoughts out in stories. There are online teen websites were kids can write short stories and submit them. Or, she can just have a folder in your computer to write them and store them for herself. http://www.teenink.com/ <--that is a really good website for teens to submit written work, art, or photography.

I'd also help her close her facebook, then reopen a new one. There's no reason she can't start over with a clean slate. She just might be in over her head, and doesn't know how to undo this lie. She should also close this other girl's facebook.

If she refuses, I'd report both pages to facebook as being fake. Facebook can close them for her, and she won't be able to get back into it.

We all do dumb things at this age. But, when it's a lie like this, it's hard to get ourselves out of it. It would probably be helpful to her if you sat down with her and told her you know it's a lie, and it's time to fix it, but you'll help her.
post #11 of 19
Nextcommercial, I love what you are saying about her needing help. She is still a child and she does need help, for sure.

I have known some girls who have been habitual liars and in both cases there was some weird stuff happening in the family situation -- one with a parent she seldom saw and one with a distant relative -- sometimes when kids have encountered something really difficult to deal with, they lie as a sort of coping mechanism, then that spills over when things are better.

I also wonder if she worries about being abandoned, for lack of a better word? As in, her real mother doesn't seem to be value her, so maybe she has some insecurities that can happen again; maybe she needs some reassurance that it won't. Sometimes people lie about traumatic events because it's a bit of insurance that their loved ones won't walk out on them -- it's harder to leave someone in crisis than someone who is strong and well.

It sounds like you all know she is lying, but she is so determined not to be caught that she's invented the other account; I agree that helping her close it, having a discussion about it, and keeping some monitoring safeguards in place should she open another account are all great steps.

When I taught middle school I saw a lot of tall tales -- I think part of it just kids trying to get attention, trying to experiment with what works and what doesn't. At her age, it may be hard for her differentiate between the sort of attention you get when people are sorry for you, and when they really just want to be friends; most kids do figure it all out, eventually, but the process isn't always easy for the kids or the parents.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

DH has decided not to confront her, and ultimately it's his decision. He thinks it's possible that this girl was real, and DSD is only exaggerating how close of friends they were. I don't believe it. I'm not comfortable completely going against DH and confronting her myself, but I have been talking to her about people that I've known that have lied alot, just sharing experiences, and talking about how much better it is to get attention for all the good things you do rather than the bad things that happen to you. She had a part in a play this past weekend, and we made a huge deal out of it. Hopefully she'll learn some things from this experience, and, well if it happens again, we'll just go from there! Thanks again.
post #13 of 19
Facebook policy states that you must be 13 to join. My son knows that he isn't able to join until he's 13.

And, yes, I would be very worried about the friend w/ cancer issue.
post #14 of 19
I think this is her way of dealing with the loss of her mother. All of the emotions are the same. I would let her talk about it as much as she wants. I think she would benifit greatly from counseling...not because she is lying, but because her mom is out of the picture.
post #15 of 19
We've been dealing with a similar situation the past few month. My 11 yr old DSD has become completely addicted to being online. She was also lying about a lot of things. She's wasn't allowed to be on FB and was and lied about it. Her father took over the account so it goes to his email and he changed the password until further notice. Her online time on weekends (only time we have her) is very limited (which causes tantrums nearly every weekend). She can't sleep at night because she's so addicted to constant communication. I think he's finally convinced her to sleep with the d*** iTouch not in her room.

By the way, I have yet to hear of FB ever closing the account of a minor, sadly. I don't have any good advice for you, especially being the step mom (as I am). This is a HUGE deal in our house, especially as the lies started getting more serious. I mean the type of lies that could really affect someone's life. We're desperately trying to get DSD counseling, but her mom is resistant and has full custody. s
post #16 of 19
this isn't a facebook or being online alot problem. She is using this as an outlet for whatever is going on. It could be fear of abandonment or something else, she may not even know what it is herself. Counselling would probably be good for her. Alot of kids her age start talking to counsellors, even if it's just the ones at school, about differnet things going on with them.
post #17 of 19
I am not a step-mother.

I am a woman who had two different step-mothers growing up. From my childhood experiences, I gently (yet STRONGLY) encourage all step-mothers to take a more active role in parenting, especially parenting the female step-child. These girls are looking to you as role models. YOU help balance out the birth-mother (natural mother, real mother, whatever term you use) issues. Please embrace your role and stand up for what you believe, even when the other parent has his/her eyes closed.

In the OP's case, I encourage you to discuss this with your DH more. He is enabling the behavior, which is likely to continue and escalate. Facebook isn't the main issue here, but it is putting the issue in your faces to be dealt with. Consider it a gift to find out how this child is relating to life right now. She is essentially asking for help in coping with the loss of her mother (or some aspect of it).
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysandiegan View Post
I am not a step-mother.

I am a woman who had two different step-mothers growing up. From my childhood experiences, I gently (yet STRONGLY) encourage all step-mothers to take a more active role in parenting, especially parenting the female step-child. These girls are looking to you as role models. YOU help balance out the birth-mother (natural mother, real mother, whatever term you use) issues. Please embrace your role and stand up for what you believe, even when the other parent has his/her eyes closed.

In the OP's case, I encourage you to discuss this with your DH more. He is enabling the behavior, which is likely to continue and escalate. Facebook isn't the main issue here, but it is putting the issue in your faces to be dealt with. Consider it a gift to find out how this child is relating to life right now. She is essentially asking for help in coping with the loss of her mother (or some aspect of it).
I am a step mother. And I have been the "real mother" (her words) to my dsd (we never actually use the term "step", but I will here) since she was 7. She is now almost 22. Her biomom has not really been in the picture, except to cause heartache most of this time. If it weren't for my taking an active role in parenting, I just don't know what would have happened to her. It was difficult the first few years, trying to figure out my role. Now, when my dsd looks back, she is so thankful (and at the age to really appreciate my being there) that I was there, and that I ended up treating her no differently than if I had been her birth mother. If your dsd's mom is not in the picture, she must really be needing a mother figure. I'm guessing she is very lonely inside, and possibly feeling rejected and like there is something wrong with her. My dsd felt this way for years--she just couldn't seem to come to terms w/the feelings of abandonment. I do hope you talk more to your dh and together take some steps to get her some counseling. Good luck.

ETA: I also have an 11 yo dd, and I wouldn't even consider letting her on FB. I just think she's too young for things like that. I'm sure that's why FB has the rule about being 13 to have an acct.
post #19 of 19
Does she lye about other things all the time too? I mean all teens lye at some deggre, example:
"Did you clean your room?" "Yes mom, I did.", I walk to her room 5 minutes later and the room is a mess.
If she is not normally lying about everything this may just be a lye that scale out of proportions. She may was just trying to impress or to fit in with a group of friends and when you find out she try to cover her lye by lying more.
I remember lying to my neighbor (a guy a couple years older then me) about my age because I wanted him to don't look me like a kid, my cousin told them the true and I actually hide because I couldn't think in a lye to cover my lye!
However, if she is constantly lying then this maybe a more serious issue. She could be lying from attention, the attention she is looking for, not the attention you think she wants/needs. She may just lye because its getting her something (friends, attention from his friends, hide another lye, etc) or (I hope not) she is just in need of professional help.
In other words, how much I think you should worry depends in how much she is lying besides this "friend" subject.
PS: Also I will like for you to be open at the possibility that this is a half lye, maybe she did knew this girl, but they were not as friendly as she is trying to say.

Take care.
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