How much of a private life should a teenager have?(16 Posts)
I am friends with my best friend's DD on Instagram. She's 13.
She has her main Instagram page, but also another one that I am pretty sure my BF doesn't know about.
It talks about how she is trans/genderfluid and how she wants to cut her hair short and isn't into traditionally girly stuff. It also says her parents are transphobic and judgmental (they really aren't).
I don't think I was supposed to see this page. I found it because she shares it with a schoolfriend of hers who liked a comment of mine using it, so I saw it. Her schoolfriend is gay and 'gender fluid' and hasn't come out to her parents (she calls them homophobic because they won't buy her boyish clothes). I don't know them, so can't tell you how accurate this is.
My BF and her husband are exceptionally chilled people. They wouldn't judge their daughter about anything like this. I'm far more TERFish (not really, but I am gender critical).
It upsets me a bit, because this is a kid I have known since she was born. She's always had a good relationship with her mum. I guess I know teenagers need a space to rebel, but if she is genuinely feeling like her mum won't listen to her, that can't be good.
(I don't believe she is trans for a second BTW. I know this girl almost as well as I know my own DD, she has NEVER wanted to be a boy, she has NEVER expressed any body dysphoria.)
So, do I STFU, or talk to my friend?
(P.S. This isn't another trans thread really, although it does worry me that it seems to be a 'trendy' thing to be and I hate the narrowing of gender norms. But really, I just want some friendship/parenting advice).
At 13 irrespective of content the parents should be aware of all social media accounts IMO so I would make sure they know she has two
If they are chilled and wouldn't judge her, why do you need to step in here? Unless you see something worrying or harmful, you should feel free to butt out in my opinion.
Sometimes teens say things on forums like that which aren't true - e.g., my DD 16 will say that I don't allow her to drink, I don't let her go to parties etc., when in fact she doesn't want to go to parties and drink. So its easier to paint me as the bad guy and I am fine with that.
They say all sorts of bizarre things on their instagram accounts. On the question of should you say anything to her parents, I'd say no.
i If they are chilled and wouldn't judge her, why do you need to step in here?
1. Because I love her very much and I wouldn't want her to go through months/years of anxiety about being honest with her parents when I know they would be kind and loving.
2. Because I'm wary of the online trans movement and how some elements of it seem determined to say that a kid who doesn't conform to gender norms is trans. Instead of, you know, a girl who likes short hair. I'd like her to have sensible adult support.
I definitely think that at that age parents should be aware of every social media account their child has. The child may want privacy from their parents, but there is no such thing as online privacy, and this is where so many teens get into serious trouble.
Then tell them. If you're genuinely worried what's the debate?
Leave it alone. Let her choose her gender and who/if she wants to tell anyone.
I think your number 1 reason is not a good one. It's not for you to decide that a teenager - who is forming their own identity as we all did in our teens - 'has to' think her parents are great people to talk to.
She is putting up an 'image' online with her mates - it's the equivalent of hearing a 13 yr old chatting in a bedroom with her friends - I think it's ludicrous to judge from that that you need to step in and ensure her parents know what is going on.
However - I have to say that at 13 I would want my teen to tell me about social media they use - so on that basis I would tell my friend. But not for any other judgemental reason about the content or how a 13 year old ought to (in your view) feel about their parents/ talk about them to their peers.
TBF I didn't say she 'had to' feel like that. In fact, I was, clearly poorly, wondering if that was an inevitable part of teenage-life to distance yourself from your parents and if this is just a fairly extreme form of that.
If she was moaning about not being allowed to go out late and smoke fags, and about the girls/boys she fancied, I'd leave her to it. But I love her and I hate to think she's hiding something as fundamental as who she is from parents who would be loving and supportive.
A 13 year old should not be coping with any issue without support and simultaneously broadcasting it online, so even if you believe this is "her issue", I would tell her parents.
Can you take her out for the afternoon and have a chat; without breaching what she would (likely) see as her confidence? Test out whether it is just for show and to let her know that you know and there is adult support should she want it?
OP if this were my DD, I'd want to know that she had another social media account and about the trans thing. If this is really an issue for her then she will need her parents support.
I think it's common for kids to set up secret spam accounts where they muck around and they keep their main real account safe as they know parents or other family members are friends are following them. It's not an invasion of privacy, this girl is already bearing her soul on social media.
It's not about the content of her secret account, it is the fact that she has a secret account. Parents should be aware of all social media use but this is why so so many teens have these secret accounts, once you find one you find hundreds. I have teenage relatives and almost all of them have an account that their parents know about and one where they can do what they like because it's secret.
I only discovered this when a girl who is in my younger brothers year and who does a club with him and went to my school popped up on my explore, it wasn't under her name but from the selfie I knew it was her. She was using this account to talk about her eating disorder, obviously connecting with other teens who had similar issues, and I messaged her as I had suffered from an eating disorder as a young teen and wanted to at least offer support if she was struggling. She never replied. However when I looked back over her account it didn't ring true to me as being someone who was actually suffering from an eating disorder, as many of us keep it a secret and try to direct attention away from our tactics. This was pure attention seeking and revelling in being 'different' and playing into the unhappy teen narrative, a sort of fantasy persona of someone with some form of eating disorder. My brother and his friends have never seen her restrict her food or binge as she claims to on her Instagram and they spend 12+ hours a day together in the holidays. I would bet that your friends dd is doing similar, jumping on a bandwagon of gender fluid trans etc because it is trendy and makes you more interesting.
Either way, truly trans or not, tell her parents they need to know what their daughter is doing online.
Can you take her out for the afternoon and have a chat; without breaching what she would (likely) see as her confidence?
Possibly life changing thing, 13 year old child, has posted it on the internet anyway, parents are loving and care about their child. There is no confidence to breach. This is something waiting to be immediately pointed out to the proper person.
OP, you could end up rightly criticized and/or end up blaming yourself if you took it upon yourself to act "in confidence" re someone else's child and there are later serious issues for that child that could have been addressed or averted. Also, would you want a friend who would keep something like this from you about your own child?
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