View Full Version : My daughter's principal just called me

01-25-2013, 10:34 AM
to tell me that many people have told the staff of the school that my daughter (14, 8th grade) has been sending nude photos of herself to boys. To warn me, because this behavior can adversely impact my husband's military career, not to mention the trouble my daughter would get into.

A while back, she had Facebook taken away from her because she was using it to gossip about other girls.

She made a new, secret Facebook account. She bragged about her stupid parents thinking she was doing her homework when she was accessing Facebook on her ipod. We found out about her new facebook account because the sister of one of her friends happens to be our other daughter's friend. And they shared information.

We immediately took away all electronic devices and her access to the outside world. This was over winter break. She has gotten a couple of socializing priveleges back recently, but no electronics. No facebook.

ON HER SECRET FACEBOOK ACCOUNT, she bragged in her private messages about sending naked pictures of herself to a boy. I called her on it and she denied it, and I really thought/think it was bluffing. But now, I am not so sure.

And I don't know how to find the truth. And I don't know what to do with this kid. I want to beat her ass and send her to a boarding school. But back to reality, what the hell do I do? PLEASE tell me someone has had experience in this. PLEASE. :/

01-25-2013, 11:22 AM
I don't have any girls, but my older boys did a lot of very questionable things. I would say it is time to take her out of school if you can. This is the time to be understanding, but very very firm.

These are the years when I made the mistake of believing some things my boys told me when I shouldn't have. My oldest started to run with a bad crowd and it took a long time to realize that I couldn't believe a word out of his mouth. He would look so sincere while telling me a flat out lie.

It is really hard when the child you love and used to adore you now thinks you are a moron and is pushing you as hard as they can. My best advice is to keep your cool and have a frank discussion with her. Let her know that you know she has been less than honest. She would probably rather hear you yell and scream than to have you stay calm and just let her know how disappointed you are. She will probably lose it, call you names, etc.

Try to remember how hard it is to 14. I hated myself at that age. Maybe she needs a new hobby or interest to help keep her out of trouble?

01-25-2013, 11:29 AM
I'm so sorry.

Does she realize that in some places, she can be arrested for distributing child p*rn? :( I'm not for that consequence for minors who are clearly trying figure out their own s*xuality but I've read about that happening in some s*xting cases. Honestly, I would try to find some of the articles about this and talk with her about them. There was a flurry of them awhile back and a long report on NPR... but it was probably more than a year ago now.

01-25-2013, 11:35 AM
She is at a sleepover right now and I am going to go pick her up this evening and talk about her doing jail time for the pron distribution. I just. don't. know. what to do with this kid. She has always been difficult to parent. No smooth sailing here.

01-25-2013, 11:37 AM
My best advice is to keep your cool and have a frank discussion with her. Let her know that you know she has been less than honest. She would probably rather hear you yell and scream than to have you stay calm and just let her know how disappointed you are. She will probably lose it, call you names, etc.

Try to remember how hard it is to 14. I hated myself at that age. Maybe she needs a new hobby or interest to help keep her out of trouble?

Absolutely agree with what Kimberly said here! Not knowing your daughter's personality, it's hard to say what will "work" in this instance, as far as getting through to her.

I would also point out to her - again, calmly - that this is circulating around the school. Most girls are super concerned about what their peers think about them at this age, so knowing this is common knowledge might get her to stop out of sheer embarrassment over her own behavior. I wouldn't tell her she should feel embarrassed or ashamed or anything like that; just make sure she understands she doesn't live on some sort of anonymous little island of one.

One thing of which I am well aware is how our overseas bases are fish bowls - everyone knows everything, and they don't hesitate to tell everyone they know. Rumors and gossip spread quickly, as I'm sure you know. It's such a toxic environment, particularly if the base is really small. So perhaps simply telling her what she thought of as her own private little escapade is now very public knowledge might get her to reconsider her behavior in the future. Though odds are she will throw quite a tantrum, like Kimberly said. After all, most teenagers don't like to acknowledge when a parent is right, so they'll go all ragey out of denial.

I'm sure we all remember what it was like to be a teenager and wanting boys to like us. But I'm not sure how far the "that's the wrong way to go about it" talk will get you... Just save that boarding school as a last resort!

We do have parents of teenaged girls and young adults here, so I'm sure their input will be more practical and useful. All I can do is speak from experience, as far as having something you put out there becoming public knowledge, and the consequences of that.

01-25-2013, 11:45 AM
I wonder if any of the public charters provide free education to military families overseas. I doubt it. I am listening and absorbing all of your wise words. I can't form rational thought right now so please understand if my replies are choppy and disconnected. I am trying to think through this a bit and writing it out helps. So does reading replies.

01-25-2013, 11:49 AM
I have absolutely no words of advice, but I wanted you to know that you and your family have my sympathy right now. That sounds EXACTLY like something my daughter would do when she's in one of her manic moods, and I fear the teen years because of it. I hope you can find a way to get through to her. Good luck. (((HUGS)))

Accidental Homeschooler
01-25-2013, 12:26 PM
I am so sorry, hugs, hugs, hugs.

I have a teenage girl and something like this would send me through the roof, so sending calm energy and resolve your way. I worked with teenage girls in residential treatment and even though I was no angel as a teen, they still shocked me with their complete lack of foresight sometimes. A lot of kids that age seem to be unable to live anywhere but in the moment, no thought to consequences at all. And I think that age is a very thrill seeking time, a lot of them just seemed to need constant excitement and drama. And they encourage this in each other and it snowballs out of their control and they don't know how to stop it.

Just my thoughts:
I think no more social media or electronics and then maybe skydiving lessons. Ok, skydiving was a joke, sort of, but does she have any interests/loves that she could use to channel that need to be engaged in something exciting or important to her? And I would definitely take her out of school if that is possible for you to do. And I would also recommend the book "Hold on to Your Kids" before you start looking for a boarding school (my sister actually did that with her fourteen year old son and it is where he first had sex and smoked pot). There is a lot of good information in it about peer attachment and how parents can fight back.

And more hugs!

01-25-2013, 12:31 PM
Julie, thank you for all of that but especially for making me laugh. I needed that stress break! I'll check out that book. I am going to take her out of school (I'm saying this before I talk to my husband, but he's generally supportive and defferential to me when it comes to education, so I think it's a safe bet). I can't afford a crazy expensive curriculum for her so this is going to be tricky. I have a lot of thinking to do. I am worried about her art lessons, BUT I think she can stay enrolled for art if we think that would work out without her going wild. I dunno. Lots to think about. Lots to do. All out of nowhere.

01-25-2013, 12:35 PM
No advice here, just wanted to chime in with more hugs. It sounds like you can't have too many right now.

(( ))

01-25-2013, 12:40 PM
I don't have a teen yet. I was one though, not all that long ago and I made some staggeringly unwise choices. Thankfully it was before cell phones and social networking though, so it didn't reach a huge population of people and my mom didn't find out about a lot of it. I also co-parented my younger sister and she went through an awful time as a teenager. She makes poor choices all the time, some kids never grow out of it. I agree beating her isn't an option, staying calm isn't totally realistic either. She is not just screwing with her own life, she's screwing with your husband's military career. That is where I would have the biggest issue. Make your own mistakes for the sake of learning and becoming a better person, but don't drag everyone else along with you. That includes the boys she's sending the message to who may be over age and now in possession of child porn. Or the parents of these boy should they have to deal with the fall out following their child being arrested and labeled a sex offender. Unlikely yes, but you never know how far this got or how long it's been going on. I wish you the best of luck staying calm, but don't feel guilty if you can't and she feels your anger.

ETA: I also don't agree that shaming her isn't the way to go. Sometimes that's the only way to go. It's an effective tool for some kids.

01-25-2013, 12:57 PM
When I was that age I got into lots of trouble. My mom thought of sending me to a private school nearby or putting me in a public school 30 minutes away. I knew people in the private school. It's no different. They did all the the same stupid things I did. The harder you clamp down the more closed off she will probably get. I wish I had some great advice, but I didn't fully understand why I did the stupid things I did till after I had kids. All I know is the more my mom tried to keep me out of trouble, the more trouble I wanted to get into. Be careful in the moves you make.

I agree with what someone else said though. I would bring to her attention that other people know about it. If I knew that everyone knew what I was doing back then it would have been incentive to stop.

01-25-2013, 01:22 PM
Big hugs.

The problem with taking away all electronic social outlets is that for our children this IS how they socialize. So if you're going for a "grounding" kind of consequence, then this would be a good option, but if you want your kid to have opportunities to socialize at all, it's dang near impossible now to do that without access to some techno gadget. KWIM?

The only other thing I would add is that whenever my siblings or I behaved like little sh*ts, my parents did a fantastic job of giving us consequences for our actions without making us feel like we were on opposite teams. I may have been pissed about a punishment, but because they always spoke to me as loved one instead of an opponent, I always felt like I could talk to them about my problems. I knew they believed in me and were on my side.

The more you can make her feel like your responses to her actions are as her champion rather than her opposition, the better the long term outcome will be, IMO.

And more hugs. We've been through related sensitive issues. It's scary. But it can get better.

01-25-2013, 01:37 PM
I am worried about her art lessons, BUT I think she can stay enrolled for art if we think that would work out without her going wild. I dunno. Lots to think about. Lots to do. All out of nowhere.

If art is her thing, and is important to her that may be the incentive to get her to straighten up. For my dd it was dance. We were able to get a lot of cooperation out of her by just making it clear that it was a privilege that could go away.

I would definitely talk to her and let her know that it was no longer a secret, what kind of consequences that behavior can have, and that if she can't be trusted all electronics will be taken away. If that will be her only way to contact friends if you take her out of school, make it so she has limited access in public areas of the house. No phone or hand-helds, a desktop computer with a big monitor that can be read from across the room.

Could there be some underlying issues that she is struggling with? Is counseling possible? Another person telling her how destructive this path can be, might be helpful. A neutral person to talk to might make a difference.

She's still very young, you definitely want to get a handle on this before it gets worse.

01-25-2013, 02:30 PM
Losing public school was her incentive. She has done really stupid, really, really stupid things before, and this was her last shot. She thrives academically but she's going to end up in heaps of trouble the rate she's going. She's losing public school. I think she can stay part-time enrolled, though, so that is something I will look into.

At this point, a large part of me is of the mindset that "I just have to get her through to 18," and that sucks, but that's my truth right now.

01-25-2013, 03:10 PM
First of all, I'm sending HUGE virtual hugs out to you on this one. Very, very tough!

I remember the age of fourteen as being pretty rough. You want to be independent, but you don't know enough. You think your parents are idiots, but you're still tied to them. You want to be different, but don't want to feel like a total outcast...

Are your daughter's actions because of peer pressure? A LOT of mine were. The biggest difference is that back then electronic trails didn't exist, so for all the stupid things I did, none of the effects were long-term.

These days, however, photographs and messages are FOREVER, which is a concept most teenagers don't yet grasp. And the idea that your daughter's actions could so negatively impact your husband's career...

Taking me out of school would have been like heaven...SO much less stress and worry. The ability to stop focusing on the social aspect of school and get back to what matters: LEARNING. It wasn't ME doing all those must-fit-in things; it was the me that I thought I needed to be in order to be accepted by my peer group.

My two cents - if it were my son, I would ban any and all electronic devices until he could regain my trust sometime in the future (I'm thinking months rather than weeks). I would also take him out of school and away from the negative influences, preparing myself the best way I could for the hell that would inevitably rain down. The adjustment wouldn't be easy for either of us, but I always have to wonder if things like this aren't a cry for help: an "I'm over my head", not waving, but drowning kind of thing.

Whatever you decide to do, we'll all be here to support you!

01-25-2013, 03:29 PM
Thanks Angela. I know she doesn't WANT to homeschool. She has made that quite clear and it's not fun for either of us. We've done it. She needs to socialize with her peers a lot. The problem is that she is making life-altering bad choices right now and I need to put the brakes on this behavior right away. So the hell will rain, for sure. I'm ready for it. I've got some online learning options I'm looking at for her. I don't know which way we will go except that she is coming home and she's not going to like it at all.

01-25-2013, 03:31 PM
Michelle - In my perfect world, she would hate homeschooling for a few months, then the experience would bring you two closer and repair the relationship. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed on this one! And thank the gods again I have a son ;D

01-25-2013, 03:53 PM

I have no parenting experience with teens, so no real advice to offer - I'm saying that up front. But I may be able to offer something to think about. When I was that age, life felt so meaningless. Graduation seemed like it would take an eternity to get to, and the idea of four more years of meaningless life as a half-person was almost unbearable. I think when I did stupid things, it was because I didn't feel I had anything meaningful in the world that I could move toward. I was stuck in a limbo age and I knew it, and I almost could not stand it. I think maybe a lot of teen turmoil and angst comes from this. (You might read The Case Against Adolescence - it explains some of why this happens.) If someone had offered me a way to finish high school in a shorter time and get on with my life (by starting local college earlier, or a job), it could have made a big difference for me. That would have been a really meaningful goal. American School allows people to graduate in less than four years. From what I have read on forums, kids can finish in about 2.5 years. It's pretty cheap to do their 4-year program. I understand that it costs more if you want to accelerate. But it might be worth looking into. If she is strong academically, but bored with her life, being able to finish early might appeal to her.

01-25-2013, 04:15 PM
Oh, yuck. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. It's possible that she wanted more attention from the boy(s). It's possible she's testing you and/or wants more attention from you. I've already told my husband that if DS (whom I adore but who has a talent for creative mischief) pulls crap like that as a teenager he is going to wind up basically handcuffed to me, with all the rights and privileges of a three-year-old.

I would cut her off from absolutely everything for about a week (no school, no phone, no computer, no social outings, not even classes, though she could work on her art at home) and dive into an Introduction to Law class. Start with the current issue, technology, privacy, the military, etc., but then go on to everything else she'll need to know in a few years anyway--voting, driving, marriage, renting and owning property. What she needs is orientation to her future, in hopes that she will really think ahead and work toward the life she wants for herself.
Then she can start earning privileges back, slowly, with the internet last. Let us know how it goes.

Stella M
01-25-2013, 04:18 PM
Hugs to you. It isn't easy being a mother to teens.

Commonsense Media has a free digital citizenship course for teens. It would help you address the factual aspects of your dd's online behaviour.

I'd suggest getting some support. Getting good, professional support to help my dh and I with our 13yr old last year made all the difference. If your dd refuses counselling, go yourself.

You don't need to parent a difficult child alone.

More hugs.

01-25-2013, 05:12 PM
I really appreciate the support I am getting here. Thank you all.

01-25-2013, 05:42 PM
I don't have any better advice than what has already been offered, but having been a teen girl myself once, I can promise you that although she may hate you for the next few weeks/months/years, eventually she WILL be grateful for your intervention, and if you're lucky, she may even thank you for it one day.

01-25-2013, 06:01 PM
The more I read online and the more I learn about homeschooling through high school, the more terrified AND at peace I feel about this decision. I am leaning toward Progress Academy for her. It's affordable and still homeschool with no strings. And I can have some hands-off time which I think we will both appreciate. I'm still looking around but Progress looks good to me. Any thoughts?

01-25-2013, 07:14 PM
Ugh. Ugh.....ugh!!!

Don't have much to offer, but I admire you for sharing this and seeking support. Hang in there....

01-25-2013, 08:34 PM
Here are some reviews of Progress:

HomeSchoolReviews.com Progress Academy Curriculum Reviews (http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/reviews/curriculum/reviews.aspx?id=707)

Also, I really do not believe they are accredited for the US. I cannot find any evidence that they are, and their answer on their FAQ page seems really evasive. When an online school is accredited in the US, they come right out with the agency they are accredited by (it should be one of the recognized regional agencies), and they should be listed at AdvanceED. I just did a search there (all private distance education schools) and Progress is not listed. Keystone, American School and many others are listed there.

Many homeschoolers do not really care about whether or not a distance program they use is accredited or not, but for those who do want a diploma that is accredited, it's frustrating to start a program and spend money only to find out that it was not, and their child's credits won't even transfer into another program. Usually one accredited school will accept credits from another accredited school. And if a child may at some point transfer back into a public high school, the chances of credits transferring are much better if the distance program was accredited.

Here is the page on AdvanceEd where you can search for accredited distance schools:


If you put in "school" for institution type, "private" for public/non-public, and "distance education" for school type, it will generate a long list of accredited distance learning schools.

It seems there are a lot of highschool distance learning programs being marketed to homeschoolers that are not accredited, and they almost never come right out on their website and state that they are not. They will say things about their standards etc. but not really answer the accreditation question. On different forums, I have seen quite a few threads in which someone's child got more than a year into a program, with the parents believing it was an accredited program, only to find out that it wasn't, and nothing can be transferred to be accepted anywhere else, so the only thing to do is either finish to earn the non-accredited diploma, or have the parents just issue a homeschool diploma, or start from scratch at an accredited distance school. When I see these threads, I feel so angry for these parents because I think they were deceived.

01-26-2013, 12:57 AM
I have a lot of sympathy for you - I too can imagine one of my daughters doing something similar in a few years. I hope the real life people around you are helpful too and you are not feeling judged by your community - I think sometimes people can lack understanding with these kids of issues.

I do have a lot of sympathy for your daughter too - we are living in a culture where girls are taught their value lies in their sexuality and it is not a big surprise that many of them believe it. There's a great NYT article about a similar situation I read a little while ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/27sexting.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The girl in that story was as much a victim of 'mean girl' antics as anything else - someone else forwarded her photo around the school and she suffered a lot as a consequence. From what you've written so far, it doesn't sound like you've got the full story from her yet (or maybe you have now). I would probably concentrate or ensuring you have her trust and, like someone else said, making sure she knows you are on her side. Even if she acts like you as an ally is the last thing she wants, you can bet she needs you now more than ever. It is possible she has so much confidence that she is not fazed by whatever might happen as a consequence of this, but I would guess that more likely she is scared and maybe feeling alone and helpless. I would think it is more important than ever that she knows she can rely on at least on person.

I would also be wary of presenting homeschooling as a punishment, if you can avoid it. I would guess that would be a surefire way to instill resentment and lack of co-operation right from the start. Maybe presenting it more as the best way you can think to protect her and keep her safe, as her actions have shown that the school is not doing that right now. It sounds like punishing her by removing privileges has not worked brilliantly up to now - I know that for some kids/people this strategy can be counter-productive!

Although I don't have teenagers myself, I can recommend "Queen Bees and Wananbees" by Rosalind Wiseman which is great on some of the social issues facing adolescent girls, as well as ways to communicate with your teen. It may be a bit out of date on the social media stuff though.

I know these things can be particularly hard to deal with when they have been building up for a while and you already feel that you are at the end of your tether. It does sound like a nightmare for you! I hope you have success in talking with her and finding a good alternative situation.

01-26-2013, 05:19 AM
Oh, I know. It's not a school. It's a curriculum, and it's parent-driven. So just like Tuna's "schooling" is not accredited, neither will hers be. They do talk about that in the FAQs, and it's something I'm cool with.

They have a good course layout that reminds me of my high school program. With her, I need the structure of "school at home" at least partially, but we may find that she does well with hands-on activities. I hope so, because I would love to add some extras in.

01-26-2013, 06:16 AM
FD was wild as a teen so I know your pain. I think you're handling it right and getting good solid advice from folks here. Hang in there

01-26-2013, 09:13 AM
My daughter's been at a sleepover and has no idea I know all of this and that she is leaving her school. I'm about to leave to pick her up. Thanks to all of your advice and input, I have a clear, calm mind. I'm going to take her for coffee and pastry and confront the situation there, rather than at home.

I've spent the last several hours finding resources for homeschooling high schoolers and I am pretty excited about it, actually. Now I just have to figure out how to homeschool two kids who are five years apart and worlds apart personality-wise.

01-26-2013, 10:25 AM
Good luck, Michelle. Keep us updated! (( ))

Accidental Homeschooler
01-26-2013, 10:57 AM
My daughter's been at a sleepover and has no idea I know all of this and that she is leaving her school. I'm about to leave to pick her up. Thanks to all of your advice and input, I have a clear, calm mind. I'm going to take her for coffee and pastry and confront the situation there, rather than at home.

I've spent the last several hours finding resources for homeschooling high schoolers and I am pretty excited about it, actually. Now I just have to figure out how to homeschool two kids who are five years apart and worlds apart personality-wise.

I will be thinking about you today Michelle and hoping it goes well!

01-26-2013, 12:24 PM
ok, i just have to ask - why would you give her bad news in public instead of at home? that means that if she's really upset she either has to throw a tantrum in public, or she has to try to cope with devastation without expressing herself at all. would you like your husband to tell you he's leaving you when you are out at a restaurant or at home? I DO NOT like getting really upsetting news in public places. i would feel like i was being ambushed.

are you thinking of HER feelings in this?

01-26-2013, 12:40 PM
I think telling her in a public place is smart. It means instead of going straight for an emotional screaming match she will need to think about her responses before voicing them. At home daughter would probably yell in her face for taking her out of school then hide in her room. Then mom would get frustrated and probably yell back. In public daughter will either "man up" and think before speaking or shut down and not say anything till they get home. Either way they will have time to think about their responses instead of knee jerk yelling.

01-26-2013, 01:08 PM
This is totally useless input from someone who hasn't parented teens yet...but my middle child, my 5 yo son, already gives glimmers of being one of Those Kids. He's so easy to upset, so hard to calm, and he doesn't make anything easy, ever. It runs in the family. My DH has a sister who has always been that way, even as a baby, and she's still that way, into her 40's..doesn't ever believe anyone loves her, always sorry for herself, etc. Not an adaptive personality.

I hope my son will not have as hard a life as the worst-case-scenario for him depicts. I know my management and guidance will have an impact, but only on raising or lowering his preset buttons within their range. I can't change his buttons; all I can do is raise or lower them to their uppermost or lowermost range through guidance and experience.

And that's where I am going with this.
I believe there is something extremely toxic about mainstream American society. It has to do with objectification, materialism, and consumerism.

To expose them to alternative realities, I hope they will be able to travel outside the US, and also within different cultural and social strata within the US. Finding many different realities from which to choose, helps us know ourselves, and teens need to know themselves, to figure out who they want to be, and to feel useful, important, and relevant.

School keeps kids infantilized. All institutionalized life does this, whether it's daycare, school, or a nursing home. Infanitilization is one way to keep people subdued, and dehumanization is another. I don't believe school systems or nursing homes are intentionally malevolent. But I do believe they do harm inevitably, because institutions must have a certain type of power structure to function, and that power structure depends on dis-empowering the individuals within, so that the administrators of the institution hold power over them. That is what institutions do, and that is why institutionlization has adverse effects on the individuals within.

For what it's worth, a lot of teen recovery efforts (trying to turn around teens headed for trouble) are based on putting them in situations where they must develop and use skills that the surrounding community needs. They are able to feel needed, useful, and valid, instead of infantilized and disempowered.
I think a lot of teen angst stems from feeling powerless and without validity, at a time in life when they NEED to be coming out of the chrysalis and becoming useful and needed, and relevant.

So even though I haven't been there yet, and stand a good chance of later eating my words, my intention for now is that starting as young as legally possible, my kids must undertake apprenticeships, volunteering, job-shadowing, travel, adventures, and engaging the world while using their autonomy skills, and I hope thereby, to bypass the American teenager's sense of futility.

I think finding a personal meaning and purpose to put one's energies and talents toward, is a great approach for teens who feel becalmed by society's inforcement of prolonged infancy and powerlessness, on them, at a time when by nature, their focus and power toward inner directions is at its greatest. They need a chance to become adults in a meaningful and positive way, and society routinely denies them all recognition and outlet.

Here's hoping that if she can get a purpose, feel validated in it, use her strengths and grow where she needs to grow, she will come out great in the end, regardless of momentary ups and downs. <3

01-26-2013, 01:27 PM
ok, i just have to ask - why would you give her bad news in public instead of at home? that means that if she's really upset she either has to throw a tantrum in public, or she has to try to cope with devastation without expressing herself at all. would you like your husband to tell you he's leaving you when you are out at a restaurant or at home? I DO NOT like getting really upsetting news in public places. i would feel like i was being ambushed.

are you thinking of HER feelings in this?

Yes, of course I was thinking of her. Did you really read this whole thread and think I was NOT??? There's a lot to be said about confrontation on neutral ground, and limiting reaction, on BOTH parts, is one of the BEST reasons to do so. It also keeps the home battleground-free. Everything was said and settled before we walked into the house, PEACEFULLY, and ready to start fresh.

01-26-2013, 01:43 PM
Here's what happened, for those interested:

I picked her up and told her we were going to go have coffee and talk about something important. We drove to the coffee shop and got our coffee and sat down and I told her that her principal called me and told me that there are photos circulating the school. I told her I've read all her messages and notes and that they talk about these pictures in detail, and that I know everything, and that there is no point in lying or covering things up or denying the facts. I told her I wanted to make sure she understood the very real consequences of her actions...of not thinking of her family OR herself in her actions (these include being sent back to the US, husband losing his job with the Army, her being expelled from school, jail time, criminal record, sex offender status for her and anyone in posession of her photos for starters, as well as her reputation and her online presense for life).

We sat in the corner and spoke quietly, sitting together. This is a healthy, normal, good way to approach emotionally-charged topics, on neutral ground. This was not a fight. This WAS ambush, for sure, I own that fully, because I didn't want her to have time to stew in her stress over "getting caught" and try to fabricate stories to cover her tracks. This was basically, "you're all done with your crash course, I'm sorry you're having a rough time handling your actions and choices, I'm taking the wheel for a while, and here's why, and here's what comes next."

I think it went well, and after offering to clean up after dinner, she asked to see her new curriculum and is engaging her father and I in discussion about electives and early graduation.

I'm only doing the best I can, with what tools I have, and I certainly don't appreciate the tone of the comment about ambushing and divorce and thinking of HER feelings. Not everyone is going to agree with what I say (nor would I want it that way, and wanting opinion is why I posted here) but the tone of that reply just really rubs me wrong and is a hell of a lot more "ambushy" than what my daughter went through this evening.

01-26-2013, 01:49 PM
sorry, just a personal response - i had a man break up with me in a public place so that I couldnt respond. I was horrified. to me it was very disrespectful. i dont yell at people, but i need some safety/privacy to discuss serious things like that. its not something i'm comfortable doing in a noisy public place. but i'm an introvert.

Accidental Homeschooler
01-26-2013, 01:59 PM
I am glad it went well Michelle. Thanks for the update. Hopefully this is the beginning of a healthy and meaningful journey for your daughter. And maybe someday she will have a daughter just like her lol.

And Cara, if I ever want to break some bad news to you I will PM. It probably won't ever come up, but good to know.

01-26-2013, 02:00 PM
I am so impressed with how you and she handled it. I have no idea how I would handle it, but I hope I could model after what you described. It did sound from what you described, like she responds positively to being taken seriously and treated like an adult, but who wouldn't, once they are not a 'child' anymore?
I'm taking a crash course in the harmfulness and futility of vindictiveness and the punitive mentality, in the form of my kids. They respond so much better to respect and empathy, and here, 5 years ago, I would have thought that sounded wishy-washy. I think there is room for parental prerogative (with Great Power, comes Great Responsibility) and for respect of the individual. Authority need not be iron-fisted to be authentic.

You responded in a way I hope I can someday learn to respond, when I am called forward to show my own maturity in relation to maturing kids. Neutral ground sounds like a good idea. You can be somewhere where reminders of her being a child in your home, aren't present. She can meet you more on her own, and also, the potential embarrassment of causing a public scene, might cause both participants to consider their words and reactions before acting on them.
Great idea.

Unless, on the other hand, your daughter were one to have an emotional meltdown over this, and then a bigger one over having one in public. My daughter might respond that way...she can face nearly anything in private, but mortification in public is her worst nightmare.
Still, looks like you knew her better than anyone, and called it correctly. I hope I will when and if my time comes. Probably, like everything else, what works best or is most compassionate for one person, is different, for another. Thank goodness for parents who are tuned in and can choose well! There's no one-size-fits-all approach. I am finding that out, even with my kids.

01-26-2013, 02:05 PM
That sounds a bit like my daughter, too. I don't know what her Myers-Briggs result would be, but my DH and I are both introverts, and I think she's one too. I just hope I can call it correctly when and if my time comes. Being a homeschool/school-free parent does help one, at least so far as it gives a greater opportunity to get to know your kids in-depth.

I was just replying how impressed I was with how she and her daughter handled it, yet also mentioning that my daughter seems more comfortable discussing things on home turf. She depends on me not to press the issue, if she stiffens up in public. I know something's wrong, but she won't say a word til we get home. I wonder if that will be the same, or change, as she matures? Who knows, but I hope I can maintain as close and intuitive a relationship with her as the OP did with her daughter, that even with the unexpected, the confrontation over it was well-chosen and went smoothly.

Sometimes I think kids are the way we are challenged to overcome our Kharmic debt.

I can see the other way as a valid approach for its own reasons, too. Some kids would feel a certain security in a public setting, knowing that they aren't going to get yelled at, knowing that they are being approached as more of their own agent, etc. The devil is in the details, and the details would be, guessing correctly as to your own kid's reaction and which way would be better appreciated. My big challenges seem so paltry compared to all this!

01-26-2013, 02:12 PM
I'm glad it went well. You sound like a super sweet mom who thinks before they act. I very literally would have been beaten for something like that. I wouldn't do the same to my kids, but I don't think I could have handled it in such a calm fashion. Very commendable. A good illustration for those of us who could use a different perspective.

01-26-2013, 02:14 PM
It almost sounds like she's a little relieved. As much as kids want to be independent, sometimes they still need their parents to take charge when things get too crazy. I hope I can handle my teens with such grace when we get there!!

01-26-2013, 02:20 PM
sorry, just a personal response - i had a man break up with me in a public place so that I couldnt respond. I was horrified. to me it was very disrespectful. i dont yell at people, but i need some safety/privacy to discuss serious things like that. its not something i'm comfortable doing in a noisy public place. but i'm an introvert.

Cara, I think your response is understandable, but I also think this is a completely different situation. When that man broke up with you he was only thinking of his own comfort. He was ending the relationship. He was presuming you would never have another chance to really voice your thoughts because that. was. it. He was just being a selfish arse and you shouldn't internalize that too much. I'm sure that wasn't the only example of selfish arseness he demonstrated through out your time together.

In the OPs case, this is just the beginning. She's not ending a relationship. This is an ongoing relationship with her dd. She's not taking the easy way out. DD will have plenty of opportunities to express herself. If anything, it's respectful because HOME may be SAFE for the OP but it is also the domain where it is clear who has all the power. Home is where dd is the child and OP is the parent. I agree that the coffee shop is more neutral ground, more like "two adults on equal terms" even though it is a facade of course.

I also think that teens in general and some adults as well lack the self-control and skills to engage maturely in these topics. They need some sort of external restraint. It could be a mediator or councilor. But in a pinch, when you don't have time to set that up, a public place can do the trick. Of course, that would slow down some folks who will happily throw a fit in public, but that is where we have to trust the OP to know her own child and have her best interest at heart.

Ultimately it sounds like things went well. Michelle, good job keeping your cool. Sometimes kids do need an ambush, especially one that says "games up" but they see you are still on their side. It also sounds like dd might be secretly a little relieved to have the burden of "driving the bus" taken off her shoulders for a while. Not that she's going to be all easy and sunshine, but take the wins where you can.

Good job in a very, very tough situation. Keep up the good work.

ETA: fwiw, I do feel Cara ASKING if dd's feelings were being considered was a valid question, not meant as an insult to OP or implying she wasn't...just a "trust but verify" type thing. This is/was a very emotionally charged situation and we are ultimately strangers communicating in a limited format. Best to assume we all have the best intentions and everyone is trying to help one another without squishing too many toes. ;)

01-26-2013, 02:27 PM
Thank you all. A meager ten years ago, I was not ready to tackle this huge issue, lemme tell ya. I would have easily flown off the handle. But parenting a kid who is hell-bent on learning every lesson the hard way produces a lot of patience and fine-tunes reactions and discipline techniques down to a science. Really, sometimes, it's all I can do to chant to myself (or my husband) fourmoreyearsfourmoreyearsfourmoreyears.

01-26-2013, 08:48 PM
I am a lurker but just registered (I'll go back into the 'Introductions' in a minute) because I wanted to thank you for your post, mpippin. I have no answers/suggestions and sounds like you have your hands full. I also lived out similar garbage with a teenage daughter and it was awful, embarrassing, exhausting, you name it. It's just nice to know when you are not alone in something.

01-26-2013, 11:04 PM
I am so sorry that you are going through this. I can hardly imagine how upsetting it would be, but I am pretty sure that I know exactly what I would do.

I would literally supervise her every activity in person all the time until she earned my trust back. If that meant going to school with her and escorting her from class to class, fine. If that meant bringing her home so that I can supervise her more easily, fine. Frankly, if I had to take her out to live in our trailer in the woods where there is no internet, fine. She could use facebook or the computer when I am free to sit right beside her and watch her doing it. I would probably look into counselling for her or both of us. On the positive side, I would probably try to find some positive outlets for her energy, or something she can do that would improve her self-esteem and self-respect.

To me, sending naked pictures of yourself is illegal, immoral, and dangerous, which breaks all 3 of the rules I learned from Barbara Coloroso.

I hope you get through this difficult time.

01-28-2013, 06:54 PM
I am really impressed with how you and she handled this. I will be keeping this in mind as I start to navigate the teenage years with a son who pushes the limits.

It sounds like you are off to a good start. I would add that maybe (and I do emphasize maybe as I don't know a darn thing about this stuff) keeping her time beyond school busy would be helpful. Maybe consider having her volunteer, have some activity, or even a job. Also, is there an older (maybe early twenties or even more grown up) person nearby whom you know could be a good influence? Someone who could maybe teach her a skill (sewing, carpentry, photography) but who could also be a mentor of sorts?

Just some thoughts. Not from the btdt perspective of a parent, but a btdt teen who could've used these ideas when I was really messing up.

01-30-2013, 11:33 AM
Michelle, please keep us posted. I too am impressed with how well you and she are handling it. As hard as it is, constantly reminding her that you are doing this because it's your job to keep her safe and help her learn ways to constructively channel whatever her strengths are. It's not a punishment (although I'm sure it feels like one for all of you) it's the best way to go right now.

Not much we can do from afar, but whatever we can we will.

01-30-2013, 11:38 AM
My husband had a meeting with his command about the pictures. The fathers of all known participants were there. Basically, the command has opted not to give this to the military or German police, and let the school handle it instead. Bay will likely have community service and is to expect a Letter of Admonition. She has seven days from the date of that letter to reply with the names of all the people she sent her picture(s) to. There will be no further action. There was a man there to show the parents how to wipe the pictures off the computers. It was a productive meeting and my husband's career is safe. THank you Pefa for being so kind. :)