12-05-2017 03:34 PM - last edited on 01-25-2018 10:22 AM by Nick-RO
I have an 11 year old step daughters whoms life I've been in since she was 4. She lives primarily with her father and I and visits her mom every other weekend. The mother lives with the grandma, grandpa, an aunt, 2 other kids and the moms boyfriend. About a year ago I noticed my step daughter acting a bit different, being in her room more shutting the door. One day I knocked as I opened the door and saw her on a cell phone that we had given her. It didn't work for calls and we had it in her room at night so she could listen to waves because she had started sleep walking and I read that would help. As i opend the door she jumped a bit i said hey what are you doing, can i see your phone she was trying to get out of what ever she was in. I didn't look at the phone I just said I'm gonna hold on to this for a bit, maybe read or draw for now. That night I looked at the phone she had a Snapchat account and a Musically account. She had saved all of her conversations in Snapchat so I began to read them. Most were to friends, hi how are you...but then I noticed a boy from schools Snapchat and that my daughter was waking up at 5am to talk to him. I had noticed a month ot so prior that the wave videos would be off some mornings, I thought she just turned it off in the middle of the night. So we talked to her about it and she said her aunt by her mom, who is 16, told her make an account so they could talk more. The phone was not allowed to be used and the laptop she was required to have for school was to only be used for school work. Well here we are just shy of a year and her mom's boyfriend sent my husband a message saying he wanted him to know her mom bought her a phone and our daughter is constantly on Snapchat. There is barely any supervision when she is at her mom's. Her mom is at work majority of the time and the grandma is busy with the 2 younger kids. I don't know what to do, we told our daughter she had lost a bit of our trust last time and she'd have to work really hard to earn it back. The lieing is what gets me I don't want her to lie or feel she needs to. These 2 houses are run completely different so I get it's got to be a difficult for her, she is good at talking to me about most things so I thought she wouldn't lie like this. Advice please
12-05-2017 07:37 PM
Hi @acwi2003, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing with us. This is a difficult situation but I want to say firstly that it sounds like you guys have done an awesome job in setting and maintaining ground rules in your home. It also sounds like you and your step daughter are very close and have open communication which will stand you in good stead overall throughout the coming teenage years.
I notice by your use of Mom that you're not in Australia, which is absolutely okay, it just means we can't recommend any services to you, but hopefully other parents in the forum can share their experiences and advice with you. I don't have any experience with combined families myself, but I am a mum and understand how upsetting it can be when we find our kids haven't been honest with us, particularly when we've always had a good relationship with them.
As they get older social media does become a bigger part of their lives. One suggestion I have is maybe working out a compromise with your step daughter around the phone and use of Snapchat. Maybe you could give certain times when she can use it, and discuss consequences if that agreement is broken. That way she may not feel the need to wake up so early to talk to this boy. At that age my daughter knew that I monitored her phone, and that was part of being allowed social media.
Does that sound like something you'd feel comfortable trying?
12-05-2017 10:46 PM
"These 2 houses are run completely different so I get it's got to be a difficult for her"
This is very frustrating indeed, I have heard of quite a few different families struggling with the two households and their varying rules. It sounds like you are consistent in your approach which is great, so long as she knows at least at one house their is a consistent boundary around social media I think that's very helpful to your step daughter.
If there's no supervision at the other house, it will definitely be confusing for her. Perhaps it could be worth holding a family meeting on your side, letting her know that within your home - there will be some basic supervision for her safety, and that she needs to understand it is different from her other home. I can imagine this is quite confusing for yourself as well, do you have any support during this either partners or a counsellor etc?
12-07-2017 09:32 PM
It can be quite challenging when there are many adults in a child's life, all with their own ideas of whats appropriate. Great work trying to set boundaries though.
It always helps if there is some dialog between the 2 house holds, and keeping consistent boundaries where possible. It can be very difficult if there is tension though.
Sometimes as parents we need adjust our expectations and boundaries for our children. Many young people have snapchat and instagram, especially at the 11,12,13 year age bracket. I think this could be a great opportunity for you to have conversations with your step-daughter about using social-media safely, and set the ground rules now as she has recently started using it.
12-08-2017 12:22 AM