Well where to start? 4 weeks ago I thought I had a relatively happy family but since then our lives have collapsed. It started with me discovering my DD had sexted selfies in her underwear to a boy in her year. Confronted her on this, had "the talk" re safety, control of her image etc etc. which we've done in the past but obviously didn't sink in! She appeared fairly mortified that we'd caught her and we moved on. But checked her texts sporadically the following week (long, boring story re how/why I could do this as I stopped doing it while ago, trying to respect her privacy....big mistake probably) Anyway then discover some conversation with friend referring to her "depression and breakdown." Again feel I have to act on this knowledge, at which point she bursts into tears and tells me she's depressed, hates herself, hates her body etc etc. I'm shocked as she is beautiful, clever, popular at school and can't believe a) she feels like this and b) she's managed to hide it from us. 2 days later I have two of her friends' mothers calling me independently of each other to tell me essentially the same thing: to say their daughters are extremely worried about her and that she's been cutting herself, is not eating during the day, and after dinner at night is making herself sick. She doesn't know her friends have passed this info on through their own mothers, and I've been sworn to secrecy so as not to compromise these friendships. Next instalment; 2 days ago a third mother invited me for coffee to drop the bombshell that she has apparently had unprotected sex and an abortion...at the age of 14!!! (She only turned 15 last week). Again she doesn't know I know this but I'm planning to sit her down at the weekend and have another talk, although again I can't say how I know this. I've been repeatedly trying to have conversations with her since this all came to light but she is very closed and hasn't admitted any of the above. Any advice welcome from the big stuff down to what my opening lines are going to be on Sat morning?!!!
What a shock for you! I've had a similar experience to you re: cutting and other parents contacting me to voice their concern. It has shattered our happy/sheltered existence and we couldn't fathom the causes. My dd also wouldn't open up. My advice to you is to meet with the school to see if they can shed any light, ask for their help and support. Our school had a counsellor who met with dd weekly and then they were able to make a referral to CAMHs for help. Things did improve but she is still very stressy and prone to episodes of tearfulness. She is on a CBT course and we are trying St John's Wort we are also looking into Transcendental Medidation to help alleviate her stress. Good Luck x
Wow, what a shock for you nnhaha. I understand your wish to be discrete about what you know and how, but I think it's important that you are as open and honest with your DD as possible. You can't expect her to open up to you if you don't. She hasn't told you, so it seems she already feels it's all shameful and secret - and I think you risk implying she's right if you hold some things back.
Have you got a particular reason for waiting til Saturday? I wonder if it gets harder the longer you wait?
My own opening line would be a big hug, then saying something like "Oh my darling, I am so sorry you didn't feel you could tell me about the abortion! How are you?"
How plausible do you find the abortion story - or any of it actually? Of course teens do do all of these things and parents don't know but - something is just causing me to pause here.
Firstly the sex - do you reckon she's had opportunities for that? Is that a complete shock or something you kind of suspected?
The abortion - got to be a pretty sorted 14 yr old to get pg and arrange and have an abortion all without giving you the least clue.
The self harm - is she wearing lots of long sleeves and bottoms that could be covering this?
The being sick after dinner - again have you seen any sign of this?
I am wondering if some or all of this has actually been made up by your dd because she thinks its what 15 yr olds SHOULD be doing. She would then talk to her friends about it and they of course believe her - she's beautiful, clever, popular after all. It's a fucked up world and it does it's absoulte best to screw up our daughters.
I would proceed with great caution tbh. Don't confront her unless you've something more than what's been said. Watch and wait and take great care of her. Exactly where she's at will become clear but tbh atm I don't think you necessarily know as much as you think you do. i don't think anybody does. Do you see what I mean?
Goodness, it didn't even cross my mind that it might not be true! If you think it might be invented, I'd start the convo with something like "I've heard a lot of very worrying things about you. I'm guessing you need some help. I'm here".
Thanks to you all for such wise and perceptive input. I think some of you have hit the nail on the head (northern, korma, finally) as I'm finding it difficult to work out what is fact and fiction in this. I think she's suffering from low self esteem at the moment (which makes me feel terribly sad and guilty that I've somehow failed as a mother) so I think the depression or at least feeling low is true. Because of that I've set her up with a fortnightly session with a clinical psychologist who specialises in kids/teenagers. She's agreeing to this at the moment as I've told her it's so important to talk about her feelings and if she feels unable to confide in me or DH then this might help. She's adamant that the school is not to be told, nor does she want a GP appointment. I've told her I can't promise never to do either of those but we'll keep on hold as options. And thanks for all practical advice tiny....all good ideas. The cutting is possibly true too as I have asked repeatedly for her to show me her arms....so she knows I have suspicions....but she refuses. However I've spent hours trawling all our summer photos looking at her in T shirts/vest tops and both trying to see evidence (none) and wondering how she managed to hide any cuts from us when wearing those clothes. However, the third mum to talk to me said she was cutting on her stomach to hide it. I think the eating problems were possibly a passing phase....again I've spent fairly desperate hours lurking outside the bathroom when she's gone in but no obvious sounds nor smells after! This is when I started to get a bit suspicous about how much is true and how much she's exaggerating to friends....which in itself worries me that she'd feel the need to lie to them. I think she's had unprotected sex (big issue there in itself), poss pregnancy scare and (I'm desperately hoping) dramatised the whole thing to friends. I can't believe she could organise and be given an abortion without us knowing. My big thing right now is to get all this out in the open, both truth and fiction, without compromising the good friendships she has. Take your point, flow...it doesn't sit comfortably with me either, keeping secrets from her but expecting her to open up to me...bit of a contradiction! The reason I'm waiting till tomorrow is that she has had a variety of mid term course assessments every day this week and I didn't want her to go into emotional meltdown half way through! I figured if I sit her down Sat morn, we've got approx 48 hours to cope with the fallout before school on Mon morn!! I think this has helped me a lot as some of you have confirmed my own suspicions. Thanks. Will take a deep breath in prep for tomorrow.
I am sorry I have no real advice although think there has been some fab input on this thread so far.
As a mum of a just 15yo DD my heart goes out to you. Your thread has really made me wonder as a mum how the hell you even start to deal with somthing like this and how do you sift through it calmly and safely enough to work out the fact and fiction.
I wish I had some words of wisdom but all I can offer is a hand to hold should you need it. I truely hope you make some positive progress with your DD this weekend.