My daughter is 12, going to be 13 in August and lately I have found out that she has been following in her friends footsteps. Such as, she had a friend that was cutting herself, so she started cutting herself. She is in counseling for that right now. She has a friend that smokes weed and I suspect she does as well but won't admit it. She has a friend that wants to start having sex, so she wanted to have sex too. It didn't happen because she broke up with her bf before that had a chance to begin thank goodness. A friend wants her to runaway with her this summer but I know she doesn't want to nor I doubt she will but the pattern is set if you know what I mean?
She is a follower not a leader. I have talked to her on so many occasions about making the right choices, standing on her own two feet, fight in what she believes in and don't give in to peer pressure. But I feel like I'm failing! She is a super smart girl (A's and B's in school), pretty, popular, funny, witty - all that a parent wishes a child can be. I don't put undo pressure on her to achieve in things because I always tell her to try her best no matter what. That if she gives a try and fails then at least she gave it a shot. How can I get her to be stronger? To try and avoid the peer pressure trap? I know that it's super hard to get your child to listen to you and heed your advice and that they must learn on their own, but still I worry constantly about her willing to try anything attitude. Any advice? Please?? :) I'm going gray here!
I know you think it's all just going through one ear and out the other but she hears you. Just keep talking to her, not in a preachy, judging way, just talk to her every chance you get. It's ok to show your concern about her behavior. You can tell her, too, that the more responsibility she shows, the more freedom you will give her. With freedom, comes responsibility so she must show that she can make good choices. Just keep encouraging her.
Your daughter sounds a lot like mine. It does get better, I promise. The older she gets, the more mature she will get. Sometimes these kids have to learn things the hard way. I know my daugher's like that. She's so strong willed! She tends to have to learn everything the hard way no matter how much I've talked to her or warned her about something, and then she gets hurt and so do we watching her. Like I said, it's getting better though. I think my daughter's finally starting to figure out some things. She's almost 16 but she started acting the same way as your daughter when she was her age. She too has been a follower. Their peers mean so much to them and they want to fit in so badly. My daughter was bullied in middle school. She kept trying to be their friend, though and buy them food and stuff! I kept talking to her about it and asking her why she wanted to be friends with people who mistreated her. It shows an insecurity on her part and I suspect your daughter's a bit insecure too. Like I said, she'll learn. Make sure she knows that she can always come and talk to you. Keep the communication lines open. You, as her parent, are the most important, influential person in her life.
I hope any of this helps. I understand about going gray! My daughter has given me a lot of gray hairs the last few years. Hang in there! It will get easier as she gets older. Just be there for her. God bless.
Thanks so much for the advice. I sincerely hope that when she gets older she will "find" herself. I remember being an awkward teen and seeing her going thru the same stage makes me cringe! lol At least I know (or pray) that this is just a stage and things will even out.
Yankee, I don't think you're seeing this completely clearly, and I think you need to.
Most kids are followers - few are leaders. But kids find other kids who are like minded - birds of feather flock together, as they say.
Your daughter is a follower and she is carefully choosing bad girls to befriend. This isn't an accident, it's because your daughter wants to behave in the ways these girls are behaving. She could just as easily be following girls who are the star athletes, or star musicians if she wanted to be around those girls instead of the misbehaving (actually, criminally misbehaving) girls.
I have an 18, 17 and 13 year old boy, and I'm connected to the neighborhood and schools, and I've watched the kids around me grow up. I've seen some kids turn out great, and there are kids who used to come to our birthday parties who are now in juvenile hall. This is going to be a stern, ugly warning, but I've been there.
You can't just shrug your shoulders and say I don't know maybe my 12 year old girl is smoking pot. Life is about to get ROCK hard for you, and her, if you don't have the courage to put your foot down and get her off this path. Go out and get a drug test at Walgreens, and test her.
If she were wearing black and acting haughty, I'd say eh, just a stage. Cutting, perhaps having sex and perhaps smoking marijuana are NOT things that will pass without real intervention.
Sorry about your grey hairs - I've found L'Oreal works well. ;D
RockRose has a good point, Yankee. I don't think I read through your post carefully enough. If you suspect that she's smoking pot you need to get a drug test and confront her about it. We actually had to do that with our daughter before she admitted that she did try pot a few times. She was grounded for a month and we've watched her like a hawk. She says she doesn't want to do it again but we will still watch her.
She also experimented with the sex and cutting too. These are kids who are very insecure and want to fit in and do what they think all their friends are doing. If you don't get a handle on it now she could go on to worse things.
I'm afraid I may not have given you the best advice earlier. Sometimes I read these posts too quickly and I apologize. I strongly suggest you get her into counseling, preferably one that does CBT. We've had our daughter in counseling for over a year now and she's doing much better. I think your daughter would greatly benefit from that. The cutting, drugs and sex can all be addicting if not caught early. Please forgive me for not catching this sooner and giving you better advice. Maybe I was half asleep that day, I don't know. Listen to RockRose. You do need to take this seriously. Again, my apologies for dropping the ball on this with my last post.
I wish you and your daughter the best. Let us know what happens and how she's doing, ok? Take care & God bless.
What makes you think that I am NOT taking this seriously? To assume that I am not is assumptious. She is in counseling which I have already stated. As for the weed, when I posted that I had just learned of her possible usage. I didn't even have a chance yet to do the drug test. So don't think I'm shrugging my shoulders at this. I appreciate the advice, really I do - but I can't help but feel that you are condemning me for seeking help for my daughter in which I AM watching like a hawk. I read her emails, her Myspace posts, her instant messages and I monitor her online activity. I also keep track of where she is going and with who. I talk to the parents of the people that she is going with. If and when I find that she is hanging with an unsavory crowd, I put a stop to it. Until she finds a new friend to hang with and the cycle repeats. I talk to her constantly and we have made headway in her abiltiy to confide in me. I am simply looking for ways to make her stronger as an individual and to help her find ways to help her cope.
Oh no! I'm not condemning you at all! I'm so sorry you saw it that way. I guess that's what happens sometimes with typing stuff like this. You can't really hear the person's voice or tell their emotions or whatever. Please forgive me for upseting you. I do understand! Really I do. I've been going through a lot of this with my own daughter. I didn't mean to say you weren't taking it seriously. I know you are doing everything you can to help your daughter and keep her safe. I can tell that you are a very caring, concerned mother. Please keep coming on here and posting. I don't want you to feel you can't come on and ask questions, etc. I'm the last person in the world who would ever judge you or anybody. I've been very humbled myself at what's been going on with my own daughter. Who am I to judge anyone else going through something simular?
Again, please accept my apologies if I offended you or didn't word things right. Sometimes I'm in a bit of a hurry and I don't stop to think how it may come across to someone else. I guess I assume people can read my mind, when of course they can't. :)
I know what I meant to say but it obviously didn't come out right. Please forgive me! I can tell you're a great mom who loves her daughter very much. I hope everything gets better for you and her real soon.
April, my comment was aimed mostly at Rockrose. Sorry about the confusion. Yes you are right, you can not tell a persons tone when they are typing. I just found it like a slap in the face that RockRose would assume that I am shrugging my responsibilities for my daughter. I am highly active in my daughters life and I try to keep up with all the girly drama that having a preteen involves. It's not easy but I try as much as it annoys her! :) But this is also not my first rodeo with a teenager, I also have a 16 year old son. But luckily having a boy doesn't involve as much of the worry that having a daughter entails. My son is a great kid and other then the occasional ER trip for doing stupid stunts as boys are prone to do, he has his head on straight and is his own person. And that is what I am trying to instill in my daughter. Unfortunately my daughter is too much like me - stubborn and headstrong!
Yankee, go back and read your first post and read again how cavalier you sound.
I'm standing further down the road than you are, having seen girls (and boys who did this at later ages than 12) and I think their parents would have loved a heads up. Heads up.
You need to drug test her tomorrow, and make her stop hanging out with those girls. Make her.
I'm a weeny parent, and had I behaved like other parents who would get on the phone that minute and contact other mothers, and drug test kids, and not allow kids to go to loosely supervised events, it would have been for the better.
I'm speaking from experience - if I could have my 12 year olds back, I would be quick and shrill.
It's like you can't see the mack truck headed for your daughter because your vantage point is different than mine - from my view from way down the street, I can see it.
If that makes you mad and irritated, I'm sorry, I wish someone had yelled LOOK OUT at me earlier.
How is it cavelier to speak the truth?? Do you have to little faith in people that you don't believe that what I say is the truth in how I participate and encourage my daughter? I have no time for bitter people. Life is too short to dwell on negativities that people throw my way so please move on RockRose to let people who are not bitter with life and can have positive things to say help me.
My daughter is 13 and its a battle every day about something.....maybe get her involved in something...karate classes,volunteering... where she will meet new friends.....I think its the age where they are trying to find a place to fit in......I would watch her very closely....I bring my daughter to church (not a big holy roller) and tell her things that will make her a better person...so she has values..things I did and learned from....and maybe talking to someone she looks up to....best of luck
Thanks for the suggestions. In fact, her therapist has said the same thing. Maybe enroll her in a youth group with kids her own age that are more positive. I just need to find one in my area. It's sort of tough at this age, I agree. She is in junior high - her JH starts at 6th grade which I really don't approve of because I think that she is too young to be in JH just yet. But anyway, just like any junior high or high school, there are always "clicks". She is part of the popular crowd. So I know that she may be doing some of these things to try and fit in. That is also what we are working on in therapy. It's nice to be able to compare notes with other parents though and see how they handle their own children and the issues that come up.
I have a chronic illness(es) that sometimes leaving the house can be a challenge. So I'm thinking that if I can get her involved in something in the community that I can partner up with another parent of a positive child so then we can take turns driving to and from activities - that it would be better.
So here's a question if you or anyone else can advise me on. If she was to join up with a church/community/curricular activity and hang out with more positive kids. How likely do you think it would be for her to slip back into her old ways once she is not around those kids? Have you seen anything like that happen before?
Oh yeah! I saw a huge difference in my daughter when she was hanging out with the "good Christian kids"! I also saw a difference in her whole attitude when she was hanging out with kids who cussed, smoked, had sex, etc. She was more rebellious, talking back, using bad language and tried some of the things these kids were doing - all to fit in. However, when she was grounded for a month, she acted great. Pulling her away from those kids, even through the computer, was like night and day. Of course, she'd deny it but I saw it. She has a friend who talks to her online who's a good Christian kid and he's so good for her! He asks her politely to not cuss around him and tries to advise her on boys, smoking, etc. He even talks to her about God but not like an adult does, you know? She listens to him! He's the reason she's been willing to learn about God, etc.
Teenagers are so impressionable. Their peers mean the world to them. So yeah, if she can find good kids to be friends with then they will rub off on her, just like the bad kids will rub off on her.
I think she'd find a youth group to be fun. It's not like it was many years ago where they just met to do Bible studies and expected them to memorize, etc., making it all work and no fun. Now days. they reach the kids in fun ways without getting too preachy (most of them). They will have music they like (like Christian Rock - not something you or I would probably listen to but the kids like it), drama, sports, trips, and just having fun! They take them out bowling or to an amusement park, etc. They will also do missions trips which I think is so important because it opens their eyes to how bad off some people have it and it makes them appreciate more all that they have.
So yeah, I think youth groups can be a good thing. Just don't pick a church that's all legalistic. There are some out there like that. Look for one that's Non-Denominational. They usually are pretty good. Like anything though, check everything out. Don't automatically assume they're all good. Most of them are but you should still do your homework.
There was a time last year that my daughter was acting sullen and not really talking. She has never been disrespectful to me or her father. Always did what she is told with no attitude but I could tell something was bothering her. So it got me curious as to what she was up to in her life. That is when I started recording her instant messages. This when I found out how confused she really was. This is also how I found out that she was cutting herself, not sleeping at night and depressed. So I confronted her about it. She has always been a sensitive girl so when I asked her about the cutting, she broke down in tears. She felt ashamed for doing it and I had to reassure her that I was not angry at her, but extremely concerned. So she opened up about why she had started. It turned out that she had started because one of her friends was doing it. I told her that I didn't want her to hang out with her friend that was doing this. We had many talks about this and she came to realize that cutting was not the proper way for her to express her emotions. She then proceeded to tell this friend (no avoiding him since they're in classes together) that what he was doing was stupid and dangerous. So I'm glad that she was able to try and influence this kid to stop hurting himself. So I believe that she knows the right from wrong, just maybe a good push in the right directions if you know what I mean.
My daughter has a lot on her shoulders though I try to make it easy on her as much as I can. Like I said earlier, I have had a chronic illness for the past 16 years. And as much as I try to hide the pain, it's not always possible and it scares her. I found this out in therapy. So then instead of hiding it, I talk to her about it. The scaryness is still there for her, but at least she's not left in the dark not knowing if her mom is going to be ok or not. Her biggest fear, in which she still has trouble talking about, is that I am going to die. I have tried to reassure her on so many occasions that what I have is not fatal. And that I plan on being around for a verrrry long time just to make her life hell! :) Jokingly of course!
But I do notice that when she hangs out with her friends that are good, that she is a different person then when she was hanging out with the bad ones. Her judgement is a bit off at this stage. So thank you very much about advising about the non-denominational. I wouldn't have thought about that. I was sitting here thinking on where to even start! Because me and my husband don't go to church - I won't get into any religious debates here. But technically I am Luthern and he is an athiest. I don't belong to a church because of my conflicting beliefs so I didn't know where to begin. Thanks for the push in the right direction on that score! :)
If you grew up Lutheran you may be surprised at the Non-Denominational churches. They're not as rigid or rules based. They are much more relaxed which I personally like. I grew up Baptist but didn't agree with some of the doctrines. With Non-Denominational churches, they are independent, not accountable to anybody but their own church and tend to focus more on God's grace and forgiveness. At least that's what I've noticed. The Gospel is supposed to be simple. The different denominations sometimes get so caught up in their own man-made doctrines that they forget about what's the most important part of the Gospel and that's God's grace and forgiveness. That's why I like Non-Denominational churches. They don't get all caught up in doctrines. They just teach out of the Bible, plain and simple. Like I said, they are much more relaxed. You'll see people dressed in jeans and people in dresses. It's what's comfortable for each person. And I love the worship! It's usually so uplifting and joyful.
I think it's great that you are open to letting your daughter find God in her own way and not be hindered by you or your husband. Some atheists won't let their family go to church. I'm glad your husband's ok with it.
Well, gotta go for now. Take care!
My daughter just turned 14. She is gorgeous which she is really starting to realize (people often stop her out in public and tell her she should be a model). This seems to be getting her into trouble. She has always looked/acted 2-3 yrs older than she is. When she was 6 her best friend was 9. She was just always advanced mentally and much taller than kids her age. Lately, she's been pretty out of control~ attitude and behavior wise. As yet, I've had no "real" proof that she's making poor choices regarding things like sex and/or drugs. Just a motherly instinct that she's been hanging around the wrong crowd. I try to talk to her about it and she says things like "geez mom I'm not stupid" or "mom, I am not going to do stuff like that...I know it can ruin your life".
We've always been really close and have always had open communication. Now all of a sudden she doesn't want to talk to me about anything. She's more defiant than ever (not that I thought that was possible). She's getting pretty casual about her use of inappropriate language. She's basically obsessed with her "friends". On the computer chatting with them, on the phone texting them or both! If I ask her to take a break for any reason whatsoever she flips out on me. She can't even watch a favorite program any more without texting through it. How much of this is just being a teen in the world today? How much is the beginning of something horrible? *bites nails*
Well, she recently joined the youth group at the church my sister attends. She decided she wanted to go back because there were other "Scene kids" like her. (There is nobody with her "style" at the school she goes to. She attends a magnet program within a school, unfortunately the school is on the other side of town in a pretty bad area ..which I did not know at first and a lot of the kids are pretty rough)
Shortly after joining the youth group, she was invited to the church's winter camp. I thought "ok, sure, what could possibly be wrong with that?" So I said she could go. I spent money I didn't have to get her everything she needed. The whole time thinking this would be a good influence on her. Then as we were packing and getting all the last minute details taken care of, she mentions to me (more like it slipped as she was telling me excitedly) that the kids in her youth group said she was going to love it, that "church camp is the sh**!" (yes, I asked and those are the words they used). My sister comes and picks her up. I start getting a little concerned. So, I call and start talking to some of my friends (men and women) and they ALL said in one form or another "yeah I went to church camp..hehe..and she's right..it is the sh**!" (in a devious tone no less). Then they each went into their own sordid church camp tales. Needless to say, at this point I had to just trust that she was going to make good choices. Did she? There is really no way I can know :^( She says that she did, and I really hope that is true.
I am telling you all this, because I feel that if you don't already, you should know that many church youth groups have just as many "bad" kids as any other pre-teen/teen group/functions, if not more (though I'm pretty sure anyone you asked would say "not my church"). Something that every one of my adult friends that attended youth groups agreed on was that their parents gave them much more trust and freedom because they assumed that since they were with "good kids" they would be good. It does seem logical.
In reality though what I think most of us learned back as teenagers was that the kids that everyone thought were the pure well behaved angels were the same kids out doing the craziest things!
It is like my friend's husband (a recovering drug addict) said to me, "The meetings never really worked for me. I mean, when I was really wanting to use, everyone wanted me to go to NA meetings, not realizing that I could always score the best drugs there".
I guess the point I am trying to make is you might not want to assume that only the obvious "bad" kids are having negative influences on your kids.
Uh oh, now you have me concerned. She is supposed to go away for a weekend with her friends church group in May. A girls retreat - so I'm hoping at least that will be less to worry about since it will be only the girls and their mothers?? But thank you for the heads up on that.
My daughter, physically sounds much like yours. She is 12 but looks 15 and very attractive. She knows this too and many say also that she should go into modeling. Many people try to treat her as an older teenager when in reality she still has the mentality of a 12 going on 13 year old. So between her older appearances and people treating her like she is older, she is very confused to say the least!
I don't allow her to text on her phone and in fact, I took off her texting ability on the cell phone subscription. She doesn't chat online as much as she used to for which I'm grateful. She is a very active girl so she normally chooses to ride her bike, jog, play sports or basically do anything physical.
Thank you for sharing your story though - it didn't enter my mind as a possibility.
The best thing you can do is get on the phone and talk to the youth leaders about your concerns. They are supposed to be chaparoned pretty well on these trips. I've never seen where they weren't and we've been going to a big church. My daughter went to a couple of youth trips and I investigated all of that. Yes, they had a lot of kids but they also had a lot of adult chaparones. They were really strict at ours. They gave them a list of what to take and not to take. They wouldn't let them take IPods or cell phones because they wanted them to interact with each other. They had emergeny numbers you could still reach though. They said of, course, no drugs, cigerettes, alcohol, etc. and if anyone was caught with that, they would be taken back home and not allowed to go on any more trips through the church. And you've got to imagine with all the girls sharing a room or cabin that someone would snitch if anyone was doing that stuff.
Try not to worry. Kids are going to brag and make things sound a certain way to sound cool. These church trips do try to reach the kids at their levels but they don't just let them run wild. I've never seen one where they aren't watching the kids. And they do seperate the boys and girls. Yes, kids might try something but most kids going to these trips are seeking God as well as looking forward to some fun times with their friends.
Like I said, try not to worry. Go ahead and call the church and ask to talk to the youth leaders and express your concerns to them. I think they will be able to reassure you. Church camp can be a wonderful experience. They can make lasting memories so don't keep her away over fear over what COULD happen or what MIGHT happen. They keep these kids pretty busy with activities. They do plan them out for the whole day. Like I said, they don't just let them run wild and don't know where they are, etc. They will usually asign them into groups and it's pretty scheduled and organized. If it's not, that's the first church I would have ever seen that and in that case I wouldn't go back. Like I said, I've gone to different churches and my kids have gone on different trips and I've never seen them unorganized or not watching the kids.
In fact, if you ever see the church have a missions trip, like to Mexico to build homes for the poor, let her go. It's a real eye opener to these kids how much they have and how little others have. It's very humbling to them. I saw kids come back from such a trip totally changed (for the better!).
I hope this helps relieve your mind a little bit! Go ahead and let her go. Try not to worry. These church trips are monitered better than many other trips she could take. Call the church and then try and relax and let her go and have some fun. Let us know how it goes too when she gets back. Take care & God bless!
I haven't been on here in a long time but I wanted to come back and update everyone who has helped me with my daughter. First of all, I really appreciate all the nice and encouraging things you have said.
My daughter is now 13 and last year was a roller coaster. We had our (then) 89 year old grandmother living with us. She developed Alzheimers. I did not realize some of the things she was saying to my daughter when I wasn't around. My daughter finally told me and I was shocked. I love my grandmother dearly but my daughter comes first. I am and was the sole care taker for my gma and I had no choice but to move her out into an assisted living center. I did this last August.
My daughter has changed definately for the better. I talk with her frequently and I show interest in her life and what is going on with her friends. She seems to like to share because I don't judge her and her friends. Of course I'm still her mother (not her friend) and I step up accordingly. She is on the honor roll (3.4 GPA), she has enrolled in kickboxing twice a week and she recently joined the girls basketball team. I believe that she is starting to find herself. I know that things may get rocky again in the future but for now I am enjoying the calm. I am hoping and praying that she stays on the right road.
Thank you everyone for helping me in my time of need.
Our prayers with you and your child, hope your late teen years will be less rocky and more joyful. Children will constantly challenge you throughout your life, so we need to be prepared, so stay more mom and less friend, but don't forget you need both. Patience is the key, so handle your emotions - you will desperately need it in the future.
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