ABIU to be seriously concerned for my daughter?(102 Posts)
My DD turns 15 this June and I've recently become incredibly worried about her. She's always been a little chubby but has always acted as though she doesn't care about her weight. However when I checked her emails recently (I do every so often to make sure she hasn't run into any creeps, you know what it's like on the internet) I see that's she's been talking to her friend about attempting to lose weight without my knowledge. When I confronted her about it she refused to answer me, instead opting to berate me for invading her privacy. I believe she has changed email addresses now as that account has not been active for around a week but she refuses to tell me her new address. I logged on to her old address yesterday and it seems that just before she changed accounts she told her friend that she's probably only gaining weight, and wants to be able to see her ribs clearly.
In addition to this I recently found that she has gone through 3 razor blades in 3 months, and the last time she took a shower I found a small smear of blood on the edge of the tub, as well as several missing plasters. It wasn't menstrual blood as she finished her period two weeks earlier and is very regular. She wears short sleeves most of the time but never anything shorter than knee length, even in summer. She claims she doesn't have the thighs for it but I think she may be cutting her upper legs. DD is smart and if she were to cut I think it would be an area she could cover without arousing suspicion. I've also been watching her closely and she seems to give up easier than before, she used to be a fighter but it now it she seems almost resigned even though in public she still acts with the same 'f*ck you' attitude.
My mother thinks that DD is just going through puberty and is attention seeking but I am have serious concerns which DH shares. ABIU to be so worried about her? Or am I being stupid for not trusting my gut instinct and taking her to the doctor's office?
from what i know of my dds friends its the ones with the controlling , snoopy parents that are the ones cutting , smoking , meeting random blokes online and hiding it all from them so they have some control in their life , you need to back right off .
Agree very much with random. Given what happened to your sister and your friends I totally understand your concern but she will be feeling very humiliated that you have read personal and private e-mail, telling her about it was mistake no2. Your daughter is growing up now and you need to start showing more respect for her privacy.
If she tells you she's having a period fine but recording it is OTT, it invades her personal private space.
If you continue like this there is a possibility that your daughter will blow up with you in a very angry way to try to create some distance. It will be easier for her to feel angry with you than to feel humiliated.
If you want to minimise the chances of her self harming or developing an eating disorder apologise NOW and stop snooping on her. Try to have fun with her and control your own anxiety so that she can confide in you without you panicking.
If she has a release for difficult feelings she is less likely to resort to unhealthy ways of coping.
The use of the word confront worries me too- chat might be better.
Do be careful here, your relationship could break down over this
3 razors in as many months? Is that the disposable kind? If so, that's not a lot. Packet tells you to use a fresh one every time you shave.
not that I do, mind
I don't think being aware of DDs periods is odd. Keeping track is a tad far but my mum always knew when mine were coming. She was excessively controlling.
I pissed her off one Saturday and she collected me from my friends with a spare pair of trousers and a top ready to take me to my dads. She said to me just before I got out of the car (so that there was no way I could go to Tesco with her) 'oh your period will probably start this weekend' I panicked but thought it would be ok. It bloody did and it went on the outside if my trousers and I had to go with my dad to buy tampons but I was too nervous to actually tell him so I acted all strange and bought loads of other toiletries and hid them within the bag. I was quite young. I think he thought I was secretly buying crack or something...
My mum also read my diary which was very graphic about my recent sexual experiences and talked about who I'd slept with and what else I'd done. I was almost 17 then. She couldn't look at me for weeks. She certainly didn't apologise.
You can turn this all around op, don't worry
re keeping a note of periods I can see why it would be seen as overbearing and interfering, but I can't say I wouldn't do the same with DD. When I as a teen if my mum had done that, or spoken to me when she'd seen that I'd forgotten to take the pill then life may have turned out very differently. If DD turns out as scatty as I was I'd be checking on her periods and contraception use.
My teenage daughter still tells me when she has a period.
They started when she was ten & I wanted to be able to warn her when was due.
I don't make a note anymore though.
P.S. OP, you might find an NHS mindfulness evening course good for you. They'll teach you when to recognise you're catastrophising and such.
I can understand the source of your fear, and hell, if I'd had the same experiences of losing members of my family, maybe I'd be panicking too. But it's negatively affecting your life and your relationship with your daughter.
You need to seek support for you, so that you don't leap to the worst conclusions like this. It's probably annoying for your daughter, but perhaps just as importantly, it must be terrible for you to be feeling scared.
And I thought I had a lot to put up with from my mother as a teen! Missing plasters? Do you count the plasters or something?
Mini skirts aren't compulsory, and if she's realised that shorter-than-knee length is unflattering on her, good for her. She'll be cringing less at old photographs in 20 years' time! You admit yourself that she goes swimming every week with her friends. Doesn't that suggest that her fashion preferences aren't anything to do with hiding cuts on her thighs?!
It's far more likely that your 15 year old daughter finds the thought of going to a public swimming pool with an imperfect bikini line to be horribly humiliating. Much/most of the adult women on MN would probably agree with her. And sometimes, she ends up nicking herself and needing a plaster. Probably like half MN.
Do you open your daughter's post? I wouldn't.
I know it's worrying with all the social media these days, so I would want to be a FB friend if possible, but mail is different.
Plus, they're so IT savvy it is a doddle to open a second account or change passwords on any site that you don't know about.
You really need to start talking.
Also, I do find it odd that She had food poisoning and flu within two months of each other a few years back, she'd lost 30lb and I couldn't see a difference.
Two stone and you didn't notice a difference? I don't mean to be rude, but do you know what a healthy (or otherwise) weight looks like? Would she (and you) join a gym for health (not weight) reasons? Also would give you time together.
And no, her friends won't tell you anything and unless there are really serious concerns, you shouldn't be asking.
Littledid I think that's just fuelling the fire. Most girls who think they're emailing their mates in confidence about feeling a bit pudgy, or who cut themselves shaving, are not about to need emergency admission to hospital, and shouldn't be treated as ticking time bombs.
I roughly know when my dds are due on, just because of the proximity to my cycle
and the arsiness that prevails for 48 hours before but I think the OP is being too controlling here. I think there's a difference between 'I saw some blood and pretty sure she's not on her period as just finished afaik' to 'there was blood which was not menstrual blood', knowing how many razors she gets through etc.
I think this girl sounds absolutely smothered with too much attention and obsession over her weight, her attitude, her shaving, her cycle and her washing. Endless questioning is more likely to push her away than to resolve any issues that might be there.
As others have said - you don't 'stop parenting' when your child reaches 14, but since when did good parenting equate to snooping and obsessing? The way you parent a child changes over the years.
Have to disagree with most of your other respondents; my daughter (now 16) went through a horrific time of eating disorders and very, VERY serious self harm - mostly to thighs (5 x in A&E with overnight stays and emergency psychiatrists called in). She almost starved. Also she got involved with drugs. Your posts rang alarm bells with me. Please approach your DD gently, and perhaps find outside, neutral advice. Self harm and eating problems often go together with teenage girls. FWIW I also went through a secretive diary reading phase... it's no exaggeration to say it may have saved DD's life as I was able to keep her from meetings with dealers etc. Feel free to PM me if you want further advice. Take care, and well done for looking after your DD so carefully xx
I think she's getting a raw deal too, coco. Unhinged? No.
I don't think you are being unreasonable to be concerned, but I do think you have gone about things in entirely the wrong way!!! I totally understand you checking her emails and I will do the same with my kids at that age, but to tell her that's how you found out?? Big mistake, huge classic rookie mistake - what we're you thinking?? Of course she was going to freak that you invaded her privacy! And on top of that will feel humiliated that you read her private thoughts, her confidence will have taken a knock from that pushing her to cut more if that's what she's doing, and to clam up even more so you'll get even less out of her! You said she's a bit chubby, well all 15 year old girls have puppy fat, but if she is overweight and you found out she felt like that you should have gone on a mission to change all your lifestyles together in a healthy way, join a gym together or regular swimming or running, do it as a get fit thing rather than a lose weight thing but at least then you can watch her and control it more. I'm not sure what you expect a GP to do - pump her full of anti depressants as a quick fix or stick her on the year long NHS waiting list for 6 sessions of counselling??? You confronted her, it was an ambush, an attack, she's not going to be more willing to come forward and talk after that! You need to apologise to her, properly, heartfelt and with no agenda. No sorry BUT I was worried. Just sorry, admit you were wrong, promise to never do it again (and get caught!) and acknowledge how it made her feel. Then you have to work on getting her trust back, not obviously, but take her on a mother daughter spa treat or something, or even just a lunch. Hopefully, in time, she'll start talking to you. Maybe grotty kids at school have said something, maybe a boy she likes is dating a skinny girl, the F U attitude is always just a cover and always from the most insecure people deep down. Re the cutting I would try and catch her out "accidentally" when she's changing or something, ask the PE teacher at school if they have seen anything, the spa day or swimming would force her to show some flesh in front of you. For the record I have been shaving my legs for 23 years and not once managed to do it without cutting myself somehow! She could genuinely be worried about her thighs, but even if it is cutting don't panic! It's not nice for your child to be doing that to themselves but as a previous cutter it does serve a purpose and does not automatically mean they are going to progress to slashing wrists! Cutting is a way to release pain, when emotional turmoil is so extreme you can't cope anymore a cut focuses you, stops the pain, calms everything and gets you back on track. She needs to learn other ways to deal with panic and hysteria, try mindfulness, meditation, yoga, again a spa day might have introductions to this and it could be something you do together. If she is cutting obviously she needs to sort out what is causing that pain, and private counselling, though expensive, would be best for that. But it has to be at her pace with her agreement in a way that supports her and builds her confidence, you can't force her with this, she'll just dig her heels in more and be more resilient. Please don't panic, it could be something, it could be nothing, but I think you need to calm it down and back off and bit initially, slowly slowly catchy monkey. Let her feel safe and in control, let her come to you (or your DH or a favourite aunt or grandmother) and then face things with her together. I never cared about my weight really but I did have an "I'm so fat" phase to keep up with every single other girl in the class who was saying that. Ludicrous really.
Op go with your suggestions and it will be fine. Keep talking and listening but most important don't forget to have a laugh together too. It should be fun having teenagers as well as scary you know.
Re the pregnancy thing and recording!
Dd3 is on the pill and dd4 is a virgin. Not an issue here. As I say we talk.
So my teenage dds ask me to record their periods as we are all crap at remembering and need the heads up.
I should say absolutely not as mumsnet thinks it's wierd!
Na, I parent for my kids wishes and needs, not for other parents to judge.
We like being close. We chat about anything they like. I help when asked.
I don't trust her, it's all the other nut cases I'm concerned about.
You are deceiving yourself.
You don't trust her. If you were just checking her emails for messages to but cases, then you have never have had any need to read in detail, an email between her and her friend.
You were being downright nosey and invading her privacy. You seem to think that as her mum, you have the right to know everything that is going on with her and if she doesn't want to tell you, you will just go and find out.
I don't blame her for changing email address. You have a lot of work to do to have any hope of getting her to confide in you because it is you who has proved to be untrustworthy. Any information that you find by snooping, will be of no help because she will never discuss it with you, she will push you further away and she will become more secretive.
Apologise big time. Tell her you were worried about her and acted completely unreasonably and promise that you will never go snooping again. Slowly you can try to build a bit of trust by taking her out for a coffee or shopping. She might start talking to you.
As for recording periods, that scream of waiting to suspect you daughter might be pregnant.
DamnBamboo, knowing the relationship I have with him, I don't think so. I honestly don't.
We don't live in the same world we did when we were teenagers. Information is soooo easily shared now, be it true, false, helpful or damaging. Kids today are exposed to so much more. That, in itself, needs watching.
My parents and I had that kind of relationship. They trusted me to know what to share with them and when. I trusted myself to know what to share and when. It doesn't always work out that way.
You just foster the kind of relationship where checking isn't required!
No need to be sneaky.
But on the other hand, there will be teenagers who wish their parents had checked their emails or phones. I wish mine had even if it meant breaking my trust.
Parents can't win though, can they? You check, they'll get angry. You don't check, they could wish you had.
Gerty, if your boy finds out you're doing this, you will find it very hard to repair that kind of abuse of trust.
And when he finds out, he will go underground.
If he knows you check his stuff, you can bet he's got accounts you don't know about.
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