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Subject: 13 yr old daughter
Question: Where to start? My 13 yr old daughter is extremely oversexualized in my opinion. She lies, she is manipulative, she doesn't respect boundaries. She is impulsive and does just what she needs to to get by school.
I've tried to keep her involved in sports and other activities. I'm conservative, but have a middle of the road approach to parenting. Step father is authoritarian which isn't helping (police officer).
Bio father is on other extreme of permissiveness. While at her father's house she was allowed to get on-line without supervision and created a myspace. It was suggestive and appalling. She had 300 emails from a bunch of perverts 0 I read some of these to her to try and have her see the impact of what she had done. She was tearful.. but continues on. I see a road ahead that isn't pleasant for her, or us. It is so hard to battle everything going on in our culture. I'm exhausted.
I've tried logical consequences- no effect, I've taken parenting classes and applied what I've learned - no effect. It is a CONSTANT battle in our home and I feel stuck in the middle. I don't allow step dad to discipline due to the lack of relationship between them after 7 years, as well as his authoritarian and controlling style of parenting - he is absolutely off base with his treatment of her. I feel like grabbing my kid and running to seclusion. I really feel like giving up, and am beginning to understand why parents do. I've married my father and feel like I'm reliving my teen years. Help :(
Answer: Dear Julie:
Okay we need to separate these issues out immediately.
First there are the issues with your daughter and then there are the relationship issues you have with your spouse and ex. You need to see these clearly as SEPARATE issues.
Okay let's start with your 13 year old daughter. INSIST on getting into her myspace account and put it into an underage status AND deleting the pics which are not appropriate.....when I say insist it is either she complies or no computer or privileges of any sort at your house. Complete shut down here. Then when you get it set her space to private and insist she only have her friends on her space and invoke your right as a parent to monitor her space IF SHE WANTS TO CONTINUE TO HAVE A MYSPACE page. This is non negotiable. She is only 13 and you are the parent.
Next. If she is only getting by at school, lies, is manipulative and doesn't respect boundaries AND there has been NO physical abuse then get into family counseling with your daughter. IMMEDIATELY as you can turn this around before it gets any worse. That is the good news, hear me when I say because she is only 13 you can turn this around.
Regardless of what is going on with your ex or your current spouse you can focus your attention on your individual, one on one relationship with your daughter. Focus on building a good, honest, I am here to support you and be your parent. Being liberal in your parenting is not about being permissive. She needs to know you are still her mother and can set boundaries and also be real with her. Spend some quality time with her doing things she wants to do. Listen, listen, listen, listen and listen some more. Find out what is going on in her world at school and with her friends. You have a need to know without grilling her. It needs to be friendly and still be mixed with the expectation that she will respect other people's boundaries as she expects for her boundaries to be respected.
As for the ex and the current spouse their relationship with your daughter is their responsibility. Back off and make sure your own is stable and caring.
Please feel free to contact me again for follow up.
M Kay Keller