Orphie, I think it was a great idea to have your dd read the same book as you!!!! Getting on the same page is so crucial at this point. I don't think it really matters what view point the book takes (haven't read it myself) so long as you and dd can come to an agreeable understanding. I think this is the best step in the right direction. Thanks for the update-I will remember your struggles and those of the mothers who have gone before me when it is my turn to see my daughter through this time of transitions.
Hi Orphie and everyone else --- I just showed up late on this thread, as usual, but it interested me as my oldest dd is 13 and it is just a matter of time..... Am trying my best to keep her safe and informed while still letting her make her own choices whenever possible but it is very hard.
I totally understand what you are saying about the lack of accountablilty. My dd does the same tactic -- it's easy to blame things on your lame parents, especially when all of your friends are doing the same. Just keep on making her accountable and responsible for her actions as much as you can. I really do think they are listening to us at some level. Have heard my side of things presented by dd to her friends as if they were her words not mine - so I know she was listening and ultimately agreeing. It's a good feeling and sometimes hard to come by!
Greaseball --- I do totally understand what you are saying. And until the last 6 months I would never have considered ever looking at a journal. But things have changed and if I was worried about her, maybe I would too ---- I don't know. But the point is that you can't know until you've been there.
Am glad to have seen this. It has given me something to think about.
Just a different perspective - I WAS your daughter at 14! Now I am a mature and reasonable 27 year old with a professional degree...but what I remember, painfully, was looking for my mom to listen to me - I snuck around too - a LOT - and tried talking to my mom about the fact that I was having sex (at 15!) but she just said she'd punish me if she found out I was...so she didn't find out until 17, when she read my diary. I really did feel like sneaking around was my only option, if the other option was punishment or making me break up with my boyfriend. Lying and sneaking was part of our family's dynamic, unfortunately. Very Catholic.
Why sex, so early? I was starving for love, and companionship, and attention...and plain and simple curiosity. I'm not sure what tactics I'll use for my daughter, but I'll try to stress the importance of school, how much I love her, and how she can talk to me anytime, and I won't condemn her for being open. It seems, the families who are *reasonably* permissive (i.e. let their teens have a drink or two at home, don't punish or promote romantic engagements, etc - like my husband's family was), the teens realize that all of these "vices" aren't an either/or proposition...but things to be engaged in the right time, in the right place (i.e. when they're older). He had a considerably more healthy teen and young adulthood than myself.
I still don't trust my mom, and wish that I could have told her the truth more often...instead of the truth she wanted to hear...she's unfortunately still like this to this day. Good luck with your situation though - the "Ophelia" book is a good choice - so is that "Our Bodies, Our Selves" book for teens - it has a good section on respecting yourself.
p.s. orphie - obviously the situation is different if you're religiously against premarital sex! that would probably be a different discussion with your daughter, based on your family's values.
Well, we're really trying not to come down on her hard for the sex part. But she is being punished for the lying and sneaking around. We didn't force her and her boyfriend to break up, but they will be chaperoned for a really long time. Of course, she'll be chaperoned or watched very carefully no matter who she's with or where she goes for a long time. And regarding your search for love, chickachicka, we thought we were giving her lots of it. We were demonstrative and affectionate, and we still try to be. Of course she wants no part of it or us right now. But I, too, was a rebellious teen (when I was 16). Maybe it's in the genes?
Right now she is one week away from being un-grounded. We told her that she would have to earn back every privilege she had before, but she still has a huge sense of entitlement. And now she isn't even acting nice anymore - at least before she used to be nice to her siblings and us. She's become quite hard to live with. I know she can push my buttons like no one else (and vice versa), and I know adolescent girls communicate by arguing, but it's been so difficult to get along with her lately. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells, and I resent having to do that.
We told her that she has to get a summer job, but she is just about refusing. Is she just digging in her heels because it's what we want her to do? I encouraged her to resolve a conflict with her band teacher her own way, thinking through the consequences, and so far, she's done it pretty well, and we've praised her for it.
My husband and I realize that we have to work on a plan to define how she earns back her privileges, but we are having a hard time finding objective goals for her to reach. How do you define a desired behavior, like accountability? Of course, we'll reward her for good judgement, and thinking through consequences, but this means she'll actually have to talk to us, and she doesn't want to do that right now. Any advice?
Those are good questions you ask. I guess - why did she lie to you in the first place - why did she feel like she couldn't be open about her sexuality? Is it more "fun" if she lies, maybe? Was she afraid of getting in trouble? Is it clear to her *when* sex is OK, and that sex isn't all it's made out to be (telling her your own stories might help out!)? My mom said no sex til marriage, which seemed highly unrealistic in my town, where there was pretty much nothing else to do (small town) but get drunk, high, or pregnant. In retrospect, I was pretty responsible compared to friends!
Teen-hood is so scary and weird - you want to be totally independent, but don't know how. A hundred years ago, girls her age got married off and were birthin' babies - maybe it's a physiological thing! A job is really helpful though - particularly if it's something she likes. A selling point is that she gets a discount in the store she works at - maybe a music store, if she likes music? Or clothing store, if she likes to dress hip? I got my first job at 16 and it made such a huge difference in how I felt about myself.
Accountability seems to happen when you make your first big mistake and pay the consequences yourself. Not parent-induced consequences, but simple cause and effect. Right now, she's blaming all the bad effects (grounding) on you, rather than her own behavior. Getting her into the outside work world would probably help with this.
Also, I know this will feel odd to you as a parent, but is there an outside motherly-type figure that's not YOU that she could talk to, whom you trust? Sometimes teens just don't want to talk to their parents, but will talk to other motherly-type figures, and are getting the same advice, but because it didn't come from you...it's cool! I surrounded myself with these women, and it helped a lot.
I SO don't look forward to revisiting this as a mom - I just remember the teen side of things...
I was pregnant with my dd at 15.
Contributing factors to early sexual activity I have observed (I attended a pregnant and parenting teens high school for a while and learned a lot!) and felt are lonliness, need ot activities, and need of rites of passage into adulthood. I feel strongly that involving your daughter in activities that are meaningful to her (dance, sports, drama, mountain biking, etc) will help her meet her needs to explore and grow at this age.
Can you think of any rituals that you can do with your daughter that will celebrate her transitions into woman hood?
I agree with the suggestion for our bodies , our selves.
I would also talk with her about birth control and how it fails! Nothing is 100% I have been there.
If you are comfortable with it , maybe you could go shopping online (like at goodvibrations.com ) and invest in a dildo for your daughter to explore herslf on her own. The more comfortable and educated she becomes about her body and its relation to her Self the more able she will be to respect it and make healthy choices.
Love and Health
Thanks for the advice! But regarding the dildo, I'm just not ready for that, and might never be.
Otherwise, my dd and I have always been upfront and open about sex. We do have Our Bodies, Ourselves, and I'm pretty sure she's explored it. But I worry about her not seeing the consequences of her actions, and only living in the here-and-now, like any other adolescent. She's obviously playing with fire. I just wish there was a non-harmful way for her to get burnt!
She got a job at the pool concession stand for the summer, but she doesn't want to work there with her brother. The deadline to accept the job is March 15, so I told her if she can get accepted at another job before then, great. If not, she has to take this one. I also signed her up for softball, which she loves, and I intend to help coach, or at least show up every game. She also is trying out for high school cheerleading, which she is very talented at, and they have summer practices almost every morning. Of course, she says she doesn't want to cheer for this high school, because it's not the one her boyfriend goes to, and we wouldn't let her transfer. But she really loves to cheer, so I think she'll come around - she'll just pretend that it's not fun. I also got her a punchcard for free gym sessions at the park district, so she can do gymnastics when she wants. So we're really trying to keep her busy, with energy directed in enjoyable but non-harmful ways. But right now, she doesn't care about anything or anyone but herself. I even worry about leaving her alone for a few minutes to take care of her baby brother (4 mos), because she is really cold and insensitive to him. God, give me strength!
Orphie, this whole thread is so timely for me.
Last night we took the toddler to a drop-in center and took our 13 yr old dd to her favorite restaurant for a family meeting. (our 1st) She and dh have been clashing and we also have the accountablilty problem and hostility.
I don't know if a meeting like this would help you, but it really helped us. She had a couple days to think about the meeting in advance so it wasn't just sprung on her.
I started the meeting by saying how important our family is and how much we love each other and that we all needed to try to phrase things with the utmost respect. Then I presented the issues that both of them had towards each other, and how much they are alike, etc. We asked her what kind of requests get her mad, and it turned out to be how he asks them. So then we had her re-phrase how she would like a request to clean her room said, for example. She promises to respond if asked correctly (this will be hard!) and so dh and I both are going to try as best we can. She also will be more friendly and understanding of her little sister. Well, it's only been 24 hrs, but so far it's excellent. Am not foolish enough to think this solved things permanently, but we did get her undivided attention and she enjoyed having ours. Have a feeling that this was the 1st of many meetings to come.
And Chickachicka's idea of a different adult as a mentor/friend is very good. Through our church dd has several options for that and it really works. We haven't got into the huge issues yet as she is 13, but I do work w/ other teens from the church as a mentor and know that those issues are out there.
Want a teen to work? When they need money they'll work. Just explain that you're not paying for a single movie, no extra candy bars, no spiffy little hair things, or computer games or whatever it is that she 'll want.
Explain that she can only keep a certain portion of her money , the rest, well I always make 'em save some for college, etc. ANd once they're 16 or working steady (my homeschooled son did carpentry at 14) I tell 'em they need to contribute to the family income (Ohh, one of my hot topics! Kids used to give all their earnings to their parents. They felt they were important to the familys survival. Now we let them keep all their money and they know we don't really need them. Paying your own way is such a liberating thing!)
So true, Red!
The second she isn't able to get what she wants when she wants it, she'll be dying to get a job. She acts indifferent, but is already starting to feel the pinch. She wanted some cool new shower gel yesterday, and I told her I wasn't buying her any extras anymore. Not a big deal yet, but it will be!
Chicakchicka and Snow, regarding other adults she can confide in: she has an 18-year-old sister that lives out of state, and a 30-year-old aunt she has always known she can confide in. As far as I know, she hasn't contacted either of them yet. I will remind her of their availability. Of course, the only advice she listens to right now is what she gets from her friends, who are just as lost as she is. She also talks to her counsellor at school when she feels the need. I know she consulted her after we found out about her lies recently. She's a pretty resourceful and intelligent kid.
Yesterday was better, attitude-wise. But I think that's only because she wasn't feeling well. No matter how 'mature' and snotty they are, they still need their mommies sometimes!
Thanks you all so much for letting me vent, and for sharing your wisdom and experience!
Ok not to frighten you but I'm 15. I thought mabe I could help because I know what she is going though so you can get an idea on what to do. my edvise-1 DONT tell dad because he won't want her to see boy friend and thats hard on her 2 talk to her about safe sex and then tell her how you feel, but let me tell ya shes probly going to freak because you know so try not to stress her so you guys can be friends as well as d/m and get through it together.
Thanks, Lizzy, but dad already knows - not the specifics. And dd is informed about safe sex. I have a hard time because I don't want to be her friend - just her mom. And I don't think she wants me as a friend OR a mom. But things have been quiet lately. She seems to have dropped some of her friends, and her boyfriend is on vacation. Things will probably get more difficult when they all go back to school after break. Wish us luck!