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13 year old sending pictures over the internet

(4 Posts)
stepmumtotwins Tue 02-Aug-11 15:58:24

Hi all. First post - so bear with me!

Had a visit on Saturday from CID looking to speak with my 13 year old stepdaughter. Apparently she has got involved with a "lady" over the internet and is supplying photographs for an "album" to be a model. This has only come about because SD has passed her friends details onto this "lady" and one of her friends has had the sense to tell someone. Whilst CID were here, we looked through her computer (she is away at the moment at her grandparents for the school holidays) and there are photographs, including underwear shots. CID spoke with SD over the phone whilst they were here and she admitted to topless shots. They have been today to take away her laptop and they are going to get her Blackberry (I am shocked what can be done on a Blackberry - putting parental controls on the laptop was completely useless whilst she had a Blackberry!) which apparently has lots more messages between her and this "woman". Is a complicated story but this is the gist of it.

As if this is not devastating enough, it appears from what I have been trawling through on her facebook etc that she is nothing like what we thought! I am shocked that she smokes. She says that she drinks. Is asking her friends how to self harm (and now I think about it she always wears long sleeved clothes). I am gobsmacked and have not even spoken to her Dad about it yet.

I have thought for sometime that perhaps she needs counselling (her mother died six years ago at which point her and her twin brother came to live with us), I know they had some after she died but at the time they were young and perhaps did not deal with all the issues that are now arising. Their father and mother divorced when the twins were 3 or 4 years old and contact with their father was a bit sporadic until they came to live with us. I find it difficult to talk about their mum, I never knew her, but I always make sure that I mention her in reference to things but I feel they would like to talk more about her but their dad will never mention her. They see their maternal grandparents during the school holidays and are perhaps happier there because I am sure she is talked about frequently. I think that it perhaps does not help that we live in the North and all the families are in the south and we perhaps do not have the support network that we need.

I suppose I feel like we have failed in some way. We are not providing what the children really need - I know that they are nearly 14 and all teenagers are difficult at times which anyone can cope with in normal circumstances - but maybe we are not doing enough.

ImperialBlether Thu 04-Aug-11 15:49:04

It's great that you are trying to help. Why was the contact so poor between your SD and your partner? I don't blame your SD for being a very angry and confused child.

It must have been very difficult for her to leave the South and come to live in the North. How often does she visit her grandparents? Could that be increased?

Luckily the police have caught on to what's happening with the photos before it went too far and she arranged to meet up with whatever pervert was on the other end. God knows what would have happened then.

I wouldn't worry about the smoking - luckily it's the one thing that's immediately detectable. The self harm is worrying - my daughter went to a girls' school and they were all at it, but they seemed to grow out of it by sixth form. When I was at school that sort of thing was hidden, whereas now they talk to each other about it - that seems less of a problem, to me. As far as the drinking's concerned, I would watch where she goes and which families are the worst influence and I would ground her when necessary. God, if you could just choose their friends!

Hope it all works out - it's a horrible time for you all.

daisysue2 Fri 05-Aug-11 17:26:27

Your dsd sounds vulnerable as are so many of our daughters. She has been easily picked up and groomed by this person and is very lucky. A friends daughter had a much worse experience where she was forced into a sexual relationship with a much older man who said he would tell her family about it to keep control over her. I think counselling would give her an outlet to talk openly which could only help.

BusyBodd Sat 06-Aug-11 09:19:24

Please don't feel that this has happened because you haven't done enough; this kind of thing can happen in all kinds of families. It sounds as though your step-children have had a lot to cope with, but hopefully have found some stability with you and their dad so that as a family you can work through it all - would some kind of family counselling as well as her having counselling help? This is a lot of tough stuff for a family to deal with and some support for all of you in that could be helpful, and it might help their Dad to deal with some of the things he struggles with too.

It's interesting too that she has been drawn in by a woman...it's a bit "pop psychology" but is she looking for her Mum in some way? She may be acting like a grown up with the smoking and what-not but underneath she is still a sad little girl.

I'm guessing that there is a lot more to your story that you have room to say, so there's perhaps a lot of pain, sadness and guilt swirling around you all and this must be a huge shock to deal with on top of that. It's a pity you can't send hugs through MN because I would send you one.

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