08-03-2021 10:25 AM - last edited on 08-03-2021 04:58 PM by Philippa-RO
We have a recently turned 15 year old daughter. She enjoys been creative through art and sport and up until recently we thought we knew who she was. She has a history of anxiety and lying so trust has been an issue but we thought everything had settled down after moving friendship groups about 12 months ago. I wasn't sure on the new friendship group, I still have my concerns. If they don't want to go to school they don't go. They are not active in any way , they don't enjoy been social, all the things my daughter enjoys, and I do still believe that she does enjoy these things. Recently for her birthday she just wanted to go kick the ball at the oval.
She is now one to bend the rules at school, not participate in her usually loved PE classes. Her interests have changed, her clothing, her makeup etc and she spends her time glued to TikTok or Snapchat. We also have a 8 year old son and our daughters reclusive behavior is affecting him aswell. She will no longer participate in family games night, not even for one game, she wont come for a walk, generally family orientated events are a no go.
I understand this may be normal teenage behaviour - but we are struggling.
We have raised both our children with family values of respect, manners, self respect, kindness and honesty. When our daughter started with social media we had many conversations surrounding behaviors online. She was targeted online and at school throughout year 7 and half of year 8 and as such many discussions were had about our expectations aswell as her protection and etiquette online. Within those discussions we spoke of foal language and our disappointment if she were to use some of the language used in the school grounds. We are not a family who swears. I understand the need for some children to talk the talk to fit in but for us, there's a line.
Recently, I was told by a friend that our daughter had approached her to tell her she was bisexual. She herself has told me that two of the friends she is close to have both said they are bisexual, within a week of each other. I admit that I cried. I know its not the response I'm meant to have. I know I love her but I cant help but feel disappointed and in some ways not ok. I also know, in this day and age it doesn't matter how I feel. She herself hasn't told either of us so as far as she is concerned we don't know. We have also been told that she has told a girl at school that she likes her and now they are wanting to hang out after school. I know I'm meant to let it ride it's course but i am concerned. After been told by my friend of her conversation with our daughter I did check her contacts on her social media accounts, again I know probably not what should be done, but I needed to see who she was interacting with. Upon scrolling through the lists of names a message popped up. It caught my attention as it was asking for nudes. I didn't recognise the name so I scrolled through the conversation. I was horrified. The disgusting language, the content - everything. I still feel sick. Our sweet, caring, kind, quiet girl seemed to have this whole other personality happening away from us. I regrettably continued to scroll through messages, again knowing it wasn't right but who was this girl? Where did we go wrong? I have failed as a parent.
How do we encourage her to stay true to herself, that it's ok to enjoy been active even though your friends don't. That she doesn't have to be a certain way to be accepted or liked? Should we be trying to encourage friendships outside of school?
08-03-2021 04:22 PM - edited 08-03-2021 05:04 PM
Welcome to the forums @Scoops, I'm so glad you're here.
I just wanted to let you know that I edited some of your post in accordance with our guidelines.
It sounds like you're going through a really worrying time as a parent.
It's obvious how much you love your daughter and how much you want to keep her safe and healthy.
The teenage years can be so hard for young people and for parents... there are so many pressures on young people, and it's really hard to navigate knowing how best to support them. I really feel for you both.
There's some great information on our website about peer pressure, about supporting young people and about supporting teens with their sexuality that might be helpful.
In terms of your concerns re: the images and content on her social media, that sounds so upsetting for you. Sexting is certainly an issue that many teens don't realise is risky and there may be some helpful information on the eSafety website.
I notice with my own teenagers that they're very keen to assert their independence from me at this age and I think that's normal, but it doesn't make it any easier when the paths they choose end up different from the ones we might have imagined for them.
It's obvious how fiercely you love your daughter over and above all the worry you're feeling and I think that's so important.
Please post any time - we're always here to listen.
08-03-2021 04:53 PM
Thanks Phillipa, I do very much appreciate your response. Should we be ignoring the signs even though we feel she is possibly doing things just to feel belonging to the group? I have spoken to her about her friends previously and of course she defends every aspect of them. Ive had discussions this afternoon explaining that I am not in a good space at the moment and feel it is important for the whole family to reconnect and suggested an hour of device free time after school each afternoon and perhaps a regular family activity each week, whether it be a sport or just a walk etc. I'm thinking small steps but she couldn't even look at me while I was talking and had no input to the conversation whatsoever.
We plan on discussing the language on videos that we have discovered while trying to fix her ipad, I'm not sure how that conversation will go.
08-04-2021 04:16 PM
Hi @Scoops I'm glad you posted.
I don't really have any answers as such - I'm just another parent muddling along at trying to parent teens...but one thing that stands out to me from your post is that you've mentioned that you would like your family to reconnect and do some family activities, but your daughter wasn't looking at you and didn't give input into the conversation.
I'm wondering what she might have been thinking or feeling at the time?
Is there anything that draws her out of her shell when it comes to conversations?
For example, what do you think she would do if you were to ask for her ideas on how to improve things, or invite her to talk about what she's feeling or thinking?
Would she generally be open to sharing her thoughts?
09:00AM to 11:00PM
We are not a counselling or crisis service and we can't guarantee you'll get a reply, so if you need to talk nowClick here for help
The current time is Mon, 7:12 AM
(Australian Eastern time)