I thought I had a few more years before this started.....

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I've been a bit upset with my stepdaughter lately. She has been lying and sneaking behind our backs. She is twelve, almost 13 in a couple of weeks and I just didn't think she would be this way already. Before she started 7th grade we found some pictures on her cell phone where she was taking pics of her behind. Like she was checking out what her butt looked like. Which is OK, shes curious about herself. But then we found a pic of a boy with his shirt off so that made us feel like she is sending out pics of herself. Cell phone taken away for good. She was good all the way to Christmas so we got her an ipod. A few weeks ago we found out she opened a twitter account, which she isn't allowed to have because of grades. She also downloaded some video chat apps and was talking to some boys. Again she wasn't allowed to do this because of grades. ipod was for music only and a few games. Then yesterday I found out she hacked into my husbands itunes account. She does all of this when she's at her mom's house with her older step sister.

I know some of this is expected, but I feel like she's trying to be sexy too fast and sneaking around to talk to boys is unacceptable. We never said she couln't talk to boys she just needed to be honest and tell us about them. But she never is. We found out she had a boyfriend (not allowed) and hid it. And she's only 12!!

I hate it now because I feel like everything she does is sneaky, or I don't know if she's lying. I wanted to have an open relationship where she could tell us things, but it's not working that way. I know this is childish on my part, but it hurts my feelings, I don't understand why she doesn't talk to me. If she came to me first about the boyfriend and wanting to open up a twitter account we could have talked about it and come up with a solution.

Just had to get it out. I'm having a harder time than I thought with this.

 
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From my personal experience, if I child assumes an adult to be too strict, the child will not come to the adult for guidance.If she feels that you don't have an open mind about her being attracted to boys, she won't ask for your opinions.

Also, the child may think it is better to "beg for forgiveness then to ask for permission."

I think there is a lot of pressure for young people and children to engage in social media. So she is going to get Twitter, Facebook, etc whether you agree or disagree - its what she and her friends think that matters.

Rather than being mistrustful and taking things from her, sit down with her and her father and calmly discuss what has occured. Ask her what she thinks is appropriate action. Let her know what you and the father consider appropriate. Come to a decision that the three of you can live with, is fair, and is age appropriate. There needs to be consequences that you and the father MUST be consistent with rather than only being angry about some of the time.

I would also recommend Parenting Courses. I took several when my son was a toddler. They will provide a wealth of information and will teach you how to listen effectively to your child, and act appropriately when necessary.    

Hope this helps

 
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Yeah - I was that same 12 years old.  I developed very young - one of the first of my friends and that cause a lot of attention.  The more I developed the more my parents became guarded and I felt like I wasnt allowed to do anything.  It go so bad that I stopped asking if I could go out all together (even to school basketball games) because they would always say no or have some excuse.  So, I started doing what I wanted to do and not tell them anything all together.

I became VERY rebellious and by the time I hit highschool I was out of control. 

I admit that I was bad, but I also learned from my parents mistakes.  They didnt understand, they both grew up in much harsher conditions.  Beating was the norm and since they didnt hit me or make work on a farm or something they thought I had it easy and had a good life and should be thankful. 
 (Like I was supposed to understand that at 13?)

I digress.

Point is . . . try not to be too strict.  If she has a twitter or facebook account, make sure she "friends" you.  Dont post on their page or reply to their comments... just have a watchful eye.  And dont come down on her for every childish comment on there.  Chances are her boyfriend at 12 is very different from what you and I call a boyfriend.  They may just hold hands down the hall and pass love notes to each other and so forth.  They may even kiss and experiment - its part of puberty... and the more you try and stop it, the more they'll do it behind your back.

My mother didnt gain my trust in regards to knowing my life until after I moved out at 19 - only then did I feel that we could have an open conversation about boys, friends, money, everything.  It's sad that I never spoke to her growing up, but she truly didnt understand or want to have an open mind about the things I was going thru.

Also, as a step mom she may not feel that you're priveledge to know or have the right to make decisions about her life - its harsh, but you never really know what these kids think of.  Just be patient with her and try not to fight.  If she was anything like me, the more you kept quiet the more you would get out of me.  Even if you cringe at what she has to say - just smile, point is... she's saying it to you.  She may not even want advice, just someone to vent too.

 
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Okay so i'm young and I have no children; but before you read this and say i'm TOO young and i don't know what i 'm talking about please read with an open mind and heart:

i'm only 18. And at the age of 13 I was doing alot of what your 12 year old is doing. My mother gave me and AOL account and i used it to talk to a 21 year old man, acting like i was 21. This went on for a year before my borther found out. He cault me, and told me if i ever talk to the man again he was going to tell ma'. Me being young and thinking i could make my own distions talked to the man anyways. Then when my brother found out he told our mother. But the only reason i talked to this man is becuse i didin't feel loved. I wasn't getting the attion that i wantted from my mother. And my step-dad was always being kicked in and out of the house. Me be thing oldest of my sisters (yet still havieng an older brother) didn't have anyone to talk to. So i found someone.

Maybe she dosn't feel the love from eaither parent. Going back and forth from mommy to daddys house dosen't exactly say i love you; it sends the message i'm gonna put up with you. Now i'm sure that isn't the case but remember in a childs mind nothing makes sence. I'm not sure how you approch her about her twitter acount and the pictures but maybe just sitting and talking with her and getting her to express how she feels and why she's doing the things she dose; maybe you both can get to a comon ground. its alwasy a give and take with kids. They have to see something happen before they can move themselfs. Also aliening her from the outside world wont help; she'll just find ways to get around you.

also..and some may dissagre with me on this but; cutting meat out of her dite will help. The cemicals in meat make hormoans go crazy, so detoxing her will help. make her drink alot of water and vegeys; just as a test it helped my sisters it might help her.

P.s sorry for misspelled words. 


 
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Thank you very much for your replies. I appreciate your advice and stories.

Right now though we are still at a loss. Her father, uncle, grandma, aunt, step-father, real mother,school counselor and myself have tried talking to her and we get nothing. Absolutley nothing. We have found out she hasn't been doing any school / homework  either, she has about 25 assignments to make up. This week, we have given her space, let her be, she was to work on her missings assignments and nothing else. She understood she did wrong and said she would make up the work, but I just was e-mailed from her teachers an hour ago that nothing has been made up. So I'm seeing that as giving her space isn't working either.

We can't just sit back and let her fail school because of the way she's acting or feeling. It's like she feels sorry for herself and wants everybody else to feel sorry for her. Both of her families are involved in her life, and we all get along. We have birthdays, holidays and just events together all the time. She has lived with me and her real father since she was 4 years, so she hasn't been moved back and forth. She has two families who are involved in her life, involved together, and show love to her. So what do you do when you have so many people reach out to her, try to help her and she does nothing back? How can you help somebody when they tell you nothing? Like I mentioned, she acts like she doesn't want help just people to feel sorry for her. I don't feel sorry for somebody, even my child, when they lie straight to my face and have a I don't care about anything (even school) attitude. Especially when SO many people try to help.

Again, thank you for reading and your replies. I just needed to let it out

 
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If all these people have spoken to her and are having no affect, then I would suggest taking her to a doctor to rule out anxiety/depression.

Also, perhaps something has happened to her that she is not comfortable talking about.

If she is behind in her school and might have to repeat the year, then I think she needs to work with a guidance concellor or social worker to help her get back on track academically.

She needs to her from the principle that she will have consequences if she doesn't improve in school. Hearing that from her family is falling on deaf ears.

Hope things improve soon

 
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Loving and watching someone hurt themselves is hard. I followed my daughter I would show up when she didn't expect, it ask her how she liked someone I saw her chatting with or something she tried on, say hello or just be seen by her. She asked me why I did this  and I told her I would be her frontal cortex because I never want her to make a decision without her thinking her mom is watching what will she think,this gave her a sense of safety and comfort. 

 
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Oh boy, does this post bring back memories. I was that 12-year old girl. It was hard for me to trust my parents, too. Now, having a 14-year old daughter, I am faced with some of the same things you are going through. What I had to keep in mind is the way I thought as a 12-year old. I remember doing things to SPITE my parents. If they said "no," I did it anyway to prove that I could. With my daughter, I try to be open-minded, and remind her that I am here for her for anything, no matter what it is. If she doesn't come to me with her problems/questions, I try to make it a point to engage her in conversation. She may be reluctant at first to talk, but usually after a few minutes she warms up to the idea of chatting, and we get into some pretty in-depth conversations about school, boys, sex, etc. I try to be caring in my word choice, because if she thinks I'm prying or nagging, the conversation ends immediately and she shuts down. It's all about the tone I use with her that really gets her to open up and feel like she can trust me to listen and not judge. 

I hope things have gotten better for you and your step daughter over the last month. I know it's not easy. In my opinion, girls are much harder to raise than boys ( I have two of them also). It will get better eventually, and you two may even begin to be friends. I know that once I got into high school, my relationship with my mother got better, little by little. Now, she's my best friend! 

 
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Originally Posted by jewele /img/forum/go_quote.gif

Thank you very much for your replies. I appreciate your advice and stories.

Right now though we are still at a loss. Her father, uncle, grandma, aunt, step-father, real mother,school counselor and myself have tried talking to her and we get nothing. Absolutley nothing. We have found out she hasn't been doing any school / homework  either, she has about 25 assignments to make up. This week, we have given her space, let her be, she was to work on her missings assignments and nothing else. She understood she did wrong and said she would make up the work, but I just was e-mailed from her teachers an hour ago that nothing has been made up. So I'm seeing that as giving her space isn't working either.

We can't just sit back and let her fail school because of the way she's acting or feeling. It's like she feels sorry for herself and wants everybody else to feel sorry for her. Both of her families are involved in her life, and we all get along. We have birthdays, holidays and just events together all the time. She has lived with me and her real father since she was 4 years, so she hasn't been moved back and forth. She has two families who are involved in her life, involved together, and show love to her. So what do you do when you have so many people reach out to her, try to help her and she does nothing back? How can you help somebody when they tell you nothing? Like I mentioned, she acts like she doesn't want help just people to feel sorry for her. I don't feel sorry for somebody, even my child, when they lie straight to my face and have a I don't care about anything (even school) attitude. Especially when SO many people try to help.

Again, thank you for reading and your replies. I just needed to let it out
She won't fail school, what will possibly happen is the school will contact CPS if they feel that the parent or parents are not controlling their child enough. If she hasn't been evaluated by a medical doctor to rule out ADD/ADHD, Mood Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety or any other slew of mental health problems then that should be a first step. She should also be seen by a psychologist that deal in pediatric psychology. "You" (as in your husband and wife along with yourself and his ex-wife's partner, if any) need to nip this in the bud. If that all fails maybe scaring her with a visit with the juvy officer might help.

 

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