12-19-2022 10:33 PM - last edited on 12-19-2022 10:47 PM by Taylor-RO
My 15 year old daughter logged into her instragram on my phone as her phone isn’t working properly and notifications came up on it with in appropriate messages of a sexual
Kind to her. I went into the message and they are sending very explicit messages to each other and my daughter has apparently sent pictures of her breasts etc to this boy. She is extremely moody, went through a stage of self harming and has been to a councillor most of this year. I think she is battling depression as well with constant mood swings, angry most of the time and disrespectful. I have no idea how to navigate this and how to talk to her about it . Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I’m very worried for her.
12-20-2022 03:26 PM
Hi @dailystress and thank you for sharing what you're going through. It sounds like it has been difficult navigating your daughter's mental health challenges this year, and that finding these explicit images she's been sending has been quite confronting for you as a parent.
You mentioned that your daughter has been seeing a counsellor throughout this year. Has she been finding it helpful? It can be incredibly difficult to open up an honest dialogue with your teen about their mental health, especially if they're feeling irritable or angry a lot of the time. If you're interested, feel free to check out these articles on asking questions that encourage your teenager to talk, effective communication, and supporting your teen through depression which might give you some ideas on how to talk to her about what she's going through.
As for the sexually explicit messages that you've seen on your daughter's Instagram account, I can definitely appreciate why this might be difficult for you to see as a parent. It can be very difficult to monitor and encourage teens to use social media safely, especially if they are engaging in sexual behaviour online that they might not want to talk to their parent about. Does your daughter know that you've seen these explicit messages? If not, how would you feel about having a conversation with her about what you've seen?
The eSafety Commission has some great resources on the potential consequences of sexting, and you can find some of our tips on how to talk to your teen about sexting here. These conversations can sometimes be tricky and a little uncomfortable, but can be an important way of ensuring that your teen knows the risks of sexting and can weigh up the consequences before choosing to send these kinds of messages to someone else online.
Hang in there, @dailystress . You're definitely not the only parent going through this at the moment, and we hope that you can find some solace and support by connecting with others in our online community.
12-21-2022 09:27 PM
Sorry to hear about your struggles with your daughter. I'm Mum to an 18 year old son and 16 year old daughter. I feel your concern and stress. I haven't come across this with my own kids, but some of my daughter's friends have posted inappropriate photos on Instagram and there have been images which have done the rounds at school. Barriers definitely go down via social media and electronics and many people seem to share things they wouldn't share in real life- young and not so young.
One suggestion I've got is about maintaining personal boundaries and that what she puts out into an online electronic format could end up anywhere and surface any time. When I was young, I used to write really intense letters to guys who had dumped me and my mother really cautioned me about sending them. Sleep on it. That's had a lasting impact on how I handle difficult situations.
I'm not sure most teenagers know the meaning of "sensible" and I certainly did things I later regretted but the impact was a lot smaller back in the day and relatively contained.
One of the things we often recommend in the forum here, is the benefit of going for a drive with your teen and having a chat where there isn't direct eye-contact. That sideways perspective is less confronting. Through these driving chats, I've really built a good bond with our daughter and she's told me more about what's going on with her and her friends. Staying connected with my kids is probably my priority with how I handle difficult situations with them and it can be a fine line but to me very important. BTW when my daughter does go underground, I use the phone to my advantage and send her photos of something non-confronting like a funny outfit I saw at the op shop. Dog photo etc.
I hope that helps and in the meantime I hope with the busyness of Christmas you find the time for a relaxing cup of tea.