Monday, August 9, 2010

My 14 yo daughter sent partial nude pics to boyfriend

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Timeliness Politeness Nomination?

10                       10                           10            10            Yes

Comment: Thank you for your quick response. I will definately follow up on your suggestions. I really appreciate that you responded to the immediate situation at hand, as well as giving me advice that will have a impact on our future.

Questioner: Sheila

My 14 yo daughter sent partial nude pics to boyfriend

Question: My daughter is 14 (will be 15 in Oct.07). She had a "boyfriend" (she's not allowed to go out on dates yet) last fall and they talked on the phone alot and saw each other at school. He is 1 year older.
She told us that he called her stupid alot and it seemed he was trying to separate her from her best friend and cousin by complaining about her behavior around her friend (acted silly, giggly, etc.) He broke up with her but they continued to talk as "friends".

A few weeks ago she told him that she still had feelings for him and he "asked her out" again. He broke up with her again last weekend because he was going to a party and "didn't want to do anything to feel guilty about". Afterwards we found out that she had sent him a picture over the cell phone of herself nude from the waist up (at his request).

He also sent her a picture of himself with an erection. We told her that we didn't want her to have contact with him anymore. She told me that she thought about it and had learned her lesson but that she wasn't going to stop talking to him because she doesn't want to lose him as a friend. We've taken her cell phone for one week. She's very attached to her father but over the last year has become very embarrassed, easily angered, wanting to fight with me. I just don't understand what's going on and I don't know what to do. I'm upset about what she did, but I'm more upset because I don't understand why she did it.

Answer: Dear Sheila:

Well the good news is your daughter is growing up and becoming an adult. However, watching our teens make decisions we know are not good for them is always a stressful situations for parents.

You could tell her not to talk to him however you will find if a teen is determined they will find ways to circumvent your power as a parent. It is important to keep the flow of communication open and responsive to know what is happening with your daughter.

I would suggest you focus all of your energy on strengthening the relationship between you and her. If you make time for positive, nurturing time that you both enjoy you will find her more open to your feedback when she asks you for it. (Besides keeping her busy doing things she loves to do with you is another way to keep her from focusing on him.)

If you think you are not going to be able to shake him then by all means invite him to your home! Keep him where you can keep an eye on him and have opportunities to ask her questions which target his behavior. Like "how do you feel when he says such and such, or does such and such?" Then let her talk.

One of the mistakes we make as parents is to interpret communication to mean talking rather than listening. Listen when she wants to talk to you without interrupting, without making a comment and then listen some more. I know you will be tempted to share your wisdom with her however timing is essential in communicating with your teen. You have to wait until the seriously feel you have understood them. Of course this takes some work because they do not see adults as being human! :) LOL Just kidding.

Maybe you could even talk to her about when you were a teen. How you felt your parents didn't always understand you either, how you felt about a boy and wanted his approval, (what women hasn't struggled with this at some point in her life).

Also, find out why she thinks all this control is equal to love in her mind. Does she make choices on her own and deal with the consequences or do her parents limit her ability to make choices.

As parents we have a unique opportunity to guide and support our teens while they make choices about their own lives. The good news is most mistakes they make at this point are not life threatening. Learn to support her and understand her without criticizing her abilities. She needs to grow stronger in order to not choose someone who only wants to control her.

As a last suggestion, you mention that she is fighting with you alot. Remember it takes two to fight. Do not engage in this behavior with her as it frustrates both of you. If you still feel things are out of control please seek out a qualified counselor, one who has expertise in teens and families. Strongly suggest someone with a Marriage and Family Therapy license and a successful record working with teens.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

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