11-21-2016 02:16 PM
I wanted some thoughts as to how others would handle this situation. My daughter has expressed to me that she is on Tinder to talk to boys as she feels like she has no real connections at school (female or male). I have expressed that I am not happy about her being on there but she assurred me it was just for social interaction and nothing more. I recently went through her phone as I have been concerned for some time (no judgements please, I'm navigating through this parenthood gig as best I can). I have come across some chats with boys which are quite suggestive and sexual. I feel that she is not like this in real life but is somehow acting out some type of fantacy online with these boys. Recently I'm concerned that she may try to meet up with someone and they are going to be expecting the girl they are talking to online and not my somewhat innocent daughter. She is not totally innocent but I'm pretty sure she is getting in over her head. What would you do?
11-21-2016 03:17 PM
@Mumofthree Welcome to reachout parent! You have found the right place!
I have a daughter of 16 too and is also learning to cope with parties, boy friend (s). Here is a joke: when I was talking to my daughter's friend the other day, I said something about "how about your boy friends?" and my daughter pointed out, mum, "boy friend is singular!" or is it? As I know that girl has at least two.
I really have no idea what to suggest for your daughter. If I were you, I would see if I can persuade her to keep her online life online and use what she had learned in real life with real friends/boys.
Let's see what other more experienced parents would say.
11-21-2016 03:45 PM
Hi @Mumofthree, firstly thanks for joining and welcome to ReachOut Parents! This is such a tough situation for modern parents. Navigating the imapct of online sexuality in teens is incredibly difficult. We have some other parents here who have experience in this field so I will let them offer advice but you've done the right thing by asking for advice. It sounds to me like you have a fairly open relationship with your daughter so perhaps the best course of action is a discussion around the differences of online vs offline relationships as well as age differences.
11-22-2016 03:18 PM
Hello @Mumofthree, situations like this bring all those primal protective instincts out, so please rest assured there is no judgement here. This parenting gig can be tough and we are all doing the best we can with the situation at hand.
I know that @taziness and @waldo_pepper also have teenage daughters and they might be able to share some advice from their experience. We also have a fact sheet on online sexual behaviour that could be helpful.
Have you been able to talk openly to your daughter about sex?
11-22-2016 04:37 PM
Thanks for your response. Yes I have discussed this with her prior. I have caught her sexting and sending some photots to boys whom she doesn't know, but one in particular she was making plans to meet up with. I discussed all the consequences with her (blackmailing, future employers might google her etc). She agreed that it was not a healthy way to start a relationship and stopped. However, I have noticed she has started messaging again and it concerns me as she seems to be the one initiating the sexual talk. I am sure she hasn't had sex yet as we discuss these things quite openly and I think its just a way of her getting attention from boys and probably even enjoyment. I know this is not the first time kids do this, but its hard when its your daughter. Since my first comment I have made her delete the Tinder app and have told her that if she is found on it again her phone will be taken from her. I hope I'm doing the right thing. Fingers crossed x
11-22-2016 05:07 PM
Wow mumofthree, you have the big one here and no mistake.
Sorry to say but I have no magic spell for you to invoke. What I am trying to do with my Miss 17 is to stay engaged and have regular little chats about whatever as a habit so she is relaxed talking to me. I try to take the odd couple of minutes when we're doing things like tidying up, even just a few words will do, just so it's a habit talking to dad. She has a chronic medical issue which requires significant monitoring but I studiously refrain from making that a focus of our chats wherever possible. You know the stuff of chats, anything she likes to mention and I do have an idea of how she sees life from them. Hopefully she will come to me with anything serious which bothers her but I really know not what may happen, I just work as hard as I can to keep open communication with her.
My first priority is to offer her unconditional love and I think she knows that. She also knows, I hope/think, that she has my approval for most things she does and I trust her to be sensible. But, and a big but, I worry a lot that she lacks the experience to make sound choices in many areas and I'm not sure how to help her.
Dealing with these sorts of issues is, as I see it, tap dancing on egg shells - make a mis-step and it's a mess. I see open communication as simply vital to help our kids avoid bad choices.
I wish I could offer more but like you, this whole parenting thing is a learning experience and the annoying thing is that if you get it right for one child, the next one will be different so start learning again. Be very aware that I am just like you, an amateur trying hard to help my kids. I have no qualifications in this area.
Good luck and good communicating!
11-25-2016 06:48 PM
I think you have handled it exceptionally well @Mumofthree! It's a minefield out there, we can't wrap them in cottonwool but gosh it is so easy to get in over your head, I think your assessment sounds spot on. Don't forget to tell her that the cute Harry Styles guy on Tindr might be some disgusting reprobate that shuns sunlight with a long list of break and enter offences.
11-30-2016 03:17 PM - edited 11-30-2016 03:18 PM
I agree @Mumofthree, you've handled it well and it's fab that you've got such an open line of communication going with your daughter. I'm surprised that she was even able to get on Tinder, given that you need to be 18 and it takes your age from Facebook. There are other ways to make peer connections, like volunteering or sports for example. They might be a bit "dorkier", but at least are age-appropriate.
It used to be that you read your Dad's stash of dirty magazines when you were starting to explore your own sexuality, but those days are long gone. After all, we're chatting on a forum and kids usually way ahead of us with technology. I was surprised to learn that a lot of teens have their first "sexual experience" online now. Sounds like you've got the safety aspect covered, which is the most important thing.