Disappointed in DD and feel It's my fault.(55 Posts)
I check my dd's (13) phone now and again. She has always promised to not to upload photos of herself on Instagram. Not only has she started to do this but they are provocative poses in tiny tops, teeny dresses. I was hoping that she would have more self respect and avoid this, in favour of building a healthy self esteem by nurturing her intelligence or sporting achievements. I work in a school and see that she is more like the shallow vain girls who often get into trouble.
We are very very close and I love her dearly but am struggling to accept this side of her.
I will talk about these images and the way she wants to present herself. Is there anything else I can do? Is there anyone whose DD has not gone down this social media path? I feel like I have failed in some way and she is seeking validation because of low self esteem.
I explained to my DC (who are a little older than yours) that at my last job the IT manager had to do an internet search on all the partners' names every week to see what came up. It led in to a discussion on how you will want to present yourself at work one day and would you be happy if some of the photos you took of yourself came up when you were applying for a job etc. If so, don't post them. They sort of understand about taking the longer term view now and think a bit more about what they post.
There is not much you can do. My DD when 14 usto come down the stairs with makeup on before school. When I drove her to school I got her to take it off with a baby wipe. Checked her bag ect for makeup nothing. When she came home from school she had loads of makeup on. You can be strict you can be kind and supportive although they think they know best so it's a loosing battle. I would of been furious with her if she posted herself online and she knows it. Switch the internet off as it sounds to me that she may not see the dangers around the corner. I would feel like you op
Please don't feel disappointed in your daughter. She's a normal 13 year old girl. Crop tops, etc are perfectly normal clothes for teenage girls to wear. She's just copying what she sees others doing. It's not about being sexually provocative and attracting boys, she just wants validation and to be told by her peers she looks good. That's normal and part of growing up, it doesn't make her shallow or vain, or mean she'll get into trouble.
Work on your relationship with her. Talk about the good sides of social media and also what can do wrong. Be open with her and encourage her to be open with you. Help her to be confident in herself and understand that what she is inside is what really matters, but don't dismiss her concerns about her appearance. 'What I look like' is of upmost importance to teenage girls and that's fine and normal. Just help her find a healthy balance.
She’s exploring her sexuality. We all did it. It’s just nowadays everything’s so public!
I don't mean vanity and shallowness being a defining aspect of someone's personality as being par for the course. Some people are vain and shallow whatever happens! But more that rebellion, experimentation etc happens and it does not necessarily define a 13 year old for ever more.
I don't think vanity and being shallow is 'par of the course' at all, actually. They have to learn it from somewhere, and that is usually that they have a strong culture of internet use, allowed social media from a young age, have vain and image conscious parents or have friends like that and they are easily led. My DD tells me ALL the 'popular' group in school are very two faced. Will be nice as pie to her in classes but rude or bullying when with their friends.
I'm a few years off having teenagers and the social media side of things really does worry me.
But for what it's worth, I think it's a shame that you're disappointed in her. The posting provocative pics on Instagram is one thing, but being disappointed that she is vain and shallow is something else. Vanity and shallowness are par for the course during the teenage years, surely?
Doesn't make it right or easy but many, many teenagers are concerned about the way they look. I remember at 13 wandering about with crop tops on, I'm sure if SM was around I'd have done what your daughter is doing. I'm just glad that wasn't around in the 90s! But forever teenage girls have pushed the boundaries about what is 'appropriate' to wear - we all used to adjust our school skirts to make them shorter (and I remember my mum admitting doing this back in the 60s!). None of this means that she will be vain and shallow for the rest of her life. It's a stage, part of the teenage rebellion that most teenagers will go through.
Hooray yes I can see how twee that sounds. It's just the most recent example that sprung to mind as her class was doing a charity bake sale and she didn't want to get involved for fear of being teased by her peers and not appearing to be cool.
This is a really interesting thread for the mother of a nearly-teen girl - thank you so much for all the thoughtful posts from different perspectives.
Also, sorry not helpful, but the idea of a charity bake being an example of an acceptable child really made me laugh
It's not shallow to start to like how you look or want to like how you look - please explore this value judgement. While I agree with the risks of social media and girls only valuing their looks, there is also a risk of not helping your daughter to like how she looks or feel attractive in herself - I know because this happened to me.
I was very vulnerable to male attention precisely because I was unsexy, kept as a small child too long, not helped to understand my burgeoning sexuality or cope with attention. This badly affected my self esteem until I was almost thirty.
It's also why I disagree with never comment on the yr daughter's looks (as in sometimes praise them) - there are many fine lines here and it's hard to manage them but you need to think round this a bit further.
Also explore whether it's the start of her being clearly different to you and if you are finding that hard. Your daughter does not need to make the same decisions as you or change that part of her personality. She does need to be safe, understand the issues and feel positive about herself.
Op you sound like a thoroughly decent and loving parent, and your life time work with teens will surely help you in many areas where we will flounder later!!
It is hard working out the middle ground, and what is imposing 'our world view' on them, and what is appropriate for a child of 13. It is a very fine line that most of us make many mistakes before hitting on something that feels right.
This is going to send very far out, and at the risk of sounding new age I will put it out there. Are you still hugging your teens (when they allow it)? Are you still kissing them goodnight? Are you still connecting them on a physical level as you would have done when they were young?
Some parents back of instinctively as the child becomes a teen, new body boundaries are often put in place by the teen or the parent, and a lack of affection is sometimes the outcome. I say this because I have a theory that many teens of this age and older are somewhat starved of affection, and they go looking for it elsewhere. It may be of their own doing, or it may be that parents feel it is no longer feels right. Every human being needs to be touched, to be held, to feel loved and to feel care for, even snarling 6ft teenagers. We all need to know that we are cared for, and often it is around this time when they in fact need it most. Girls especially will go out and look for this kind of affection from friends, and sometimes boys.
Really being present, listening, developing hobbies together, making sure there is physical connection if the teen is happy to be hugged and cuddled (not otherwise as it becomes an imposition) Really making the time to focus entirely on them even for a short amount of the time daily is really undervalued in this country particularly. There is a value system that once children hit the teens we can check out to some degree, when often the opposite is needed.
This has nothing to do with the way your dd dresses or what she posts, but it may be a stepping stone for the attention she is likely to receive especially from boys, and if she is vulnerable to needing affection she is more likely to get involved. The girls you identify as 'trouble' or often girls that are simply deprived of attention/affection and are taking care of that basic human need themselves.
It all depends on the reasons for her doing this, is she copying others? Does she like the attention? Is she doing it to shock you? Rebelling?
Or simply playing, and dressing up?
Either way the photos need to stop being posted on SM, for her own good, she will thank you in a few years I promise you
Has she always gravitated toward the 'cool' kids? Mine did for a few years pre teen, but found that she did not fit into their stereotype. Still is 'friendly' but felt ostracised so found new friends each time. Do you think this might happen or do you think that she will shape herself to fit this group?
One group of these 'cool' girls are currently posting exactly the type of pics you have described at 13/14. DD showed me one today of one girl in bikinis (just normal bikinis though) posing 'influencer style' in her bedroom. They were the girls that told my DD four years ago that she was boring and lame. They certainly were more interested in only having the conventionally good looking girls as friends and were the 'mean' girls. Now it is all about the 'likes'.
I think insta may be becoming the flashpoint that's highlighting your other concerns. I relate to your worry about whether DCs are kind enough, caring enough, grateful enough, etc. I worry about my DC being followers rather than leaders, about them being naive and too trusting. SM can crystallise some of those fears. Addressing those deep-rooted questions about who our DCs are becoming isn't really about an online photo.
cats Thanks for explaining it.
I was academic and sporty and still 'dressed up' but still not in revealing clothes, but I am over 40 and thought I missed something.
Yes, crop tops are 'the thing' but you can get ones that are not that short and team it as my DD does with high waisted shorts/jeans/skirts. You can still wear fashion items without the clothes being revealing as I am sure you are aware.
I certainly get what you are saying though about body shape and fashion. I can imagine why you felt this way with the tops. They can be a tricky thing to navigate for early developers. They are a tricky enough thing to navigate for me as I often don't fill them out and they gape open.
For those with teenage children who have offered perspective and advice, thank you. I am taking it all on board.
Cats this is why I am asking for advice on here as I want to maintain our strong and open relationship and I don't want to alienate her. I believe it's my job to nurture and steer her gently in the right direction. Her behaviour isn't perfect at school as she gravitates towards the cool kids despite being well behaved at home, so I guess I'm worried that she's impressionable and is there anything I can do apart from open dialogue?
Cats and spotlight it's always hard to come across as anything but black and white in posts as you want to just sum up the problem, hoping people can read between the lines. I've worked with teens for well over a decade. I know that it is a very complex issue to unpick. Some teens are just more self centred and others more interested in the wider world and issues.
I know I have to accept that my daughter is more interested in her appearance at the moment than doing a charity bake, for example and this is where I wonder if it is my fault. Have I been to busy with life to nurture the more caring, outward looking teen that I see so many examples of at school? Teens do have a bad press. I have spent my whole career working with them.
My post is based on the fear that the girls who post these images the most are also the ones who get into trouble. I suppose I'm saying that those who are influenced by peer pressure to look a certain way will also cave in to the peer pressure of behaving a certain way. I see it all the time. I'm not saying that a girl can't be sporty, work hard and do this, as my daughter and her friends are all testament to this but I just find it hard to accept this side when I see lots of girls at school who don't feel the need to go down this path because of a)parental restrictions b) personality c) more secure with who they are.
In case you wonder how I know, I talk about social media a lot with the teens and obviously see my daughter's feed.
I never said (or intended) that I thought that way. I was academic and sporty, but wanted to dress in cute clothes too.
As for 'dressing well' - well, at the grand old age of 30 I'm technically an old fart now, but I do know that crop tops are THE THING right now. Especially with the vogue for fitness (which is better than one for thinness).
When I was 13, there was a vogue for lycra tops with a little slit at the top. I was an early developer, and even though the slit was too small to show anything, these tops definitely made my boobs stand out.
But I wasn't trying to be sexy, have sex, or do anything that harmed anyone else - so to be told off over something I had no control over felt very much like a punishment for the non-existent crime of not growing or dressing to match my 'academic sporty' niche.
OP you seem to see girls who post photos of themselves on Instagram as rather one dimensional, vain and shallow. No one is one dimensional and these groups are not made of clones, they are all individual.
You might not want her to post these photos and that is fine but it doesn’t change her whole personality.
It's not always a reflection of low self esteem or sexualising themselves. It's simply that they see it all around them so they do it. When I was there she I saw freaking Bay City Rollers and Farah Fawcett so I wore shit ugly clothes and flicked the hell out of my hair. But if what I saw was pouting and abs, I would no doubt have done the same. So please don't beat yourself up. Talk with her about how the images might seem normal to her but you are concerned because to the wider audience, they are sexualised and inappropriate. Perhaps suggest she modifies slightly so she errs on the less revealing end of the spectrum. Less flesh.
cats why do you think it had to be a choice between the two when you were a teen? Do you still think it?
And why does dressing ‘well’ for a 13 yr old need to be revealing clothes? And you would have hated and felt disrespected by your mum for saying that your clothes may be too revealing at that age???
DS 15 did a Google search on himself recently. Photos from 10 years ago were the first result (a sports comp, local press) which stunned him. Was a reality check about how you have almost zero control over your digital footprint so think about what you add to it.
For your DD just keep the conversation going. Sit and watch Hidden Figures film together it's brilliant.
Oof, you have to be careful here.
Your tone of 'oh, how disappointing, she's one of those girls' got right on my teenage self's wick.
I did sports, and was top of the year in many subjects. No problem with behaviour. I still wanted to be cool, well dressed and popular as well. I really hated being presented as a choice between the two.
And I really, REALLY hated that my mum would stamp down on things like that, giving me no licence or trust at all - controlling those things really is the good girl's punishment.
Be wary of telling her that as a girl, she needs to change herself, fit into an acceptable mould. That doesn't help ANY of us.
She needs to stay safe, be resilient, and be herself. Don't shut yourself off from her by making your 'disappointment' clear.
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