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12 year olds and relationships- advice please

17 replies

thenewaveragebear1983 · 23/05/2016 14:08

More of a 12 year old daughter has been becoming more 'teenage' in recent months. Stroppy, hormonal,interspersed with immature periods, very jealous of siblings etc. A few weeks ago she cut all her hair off with scissors, (by this I mean cut her entire ponytail off- she has afro hair and his has taken her years to grow, so cutting it was a big deal). I did phone school but she had assured me there was nothing going on at school. Recently I have noticed 'things', items such as a leather bracelet, a little China dog, that I know we haven't given her and she's been very cagey about. I am beginning to think the hair incident is linked in some way to the gifts/items. There was also a birthday card stuffed in her wardrobe with a lot of kisses on it and wrapping paper so clearly someone has given her a card and gift that's she's hidden. I was packing for holiday today and went into her room and there is a very long love letter. I didn't read it but I wanted to (sorry) but the first line says something about being together forever and being the one. Signed James, same as the birthday card.
Now, my dd is causing me some concern due to her complete lack of personal hygiene (by this I mean I have to remind her daily to brush teeth, clean pants, wash her hands after the toilet, etc. She has no hygiene habits) and even today while packing I have filled a wash load with dirty clothes I have found shoved in drawers and behind the bed. I'm becoming really concerned that all these incidences are linked in some way (eg. Boy coming on strong, rebels by cutting hair, trying to out him off somehow by not being clean..??? ). I feel she is immature for her age and possibly isn't coping with this kind of attention.
Would you go into school? Should I tell her I have seen the letter and card and ask her to tell me more? I really don't know what to do and I would love for her to talk to me but she just won't. Any advice?

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pippistrelle · 23/05/2016 20:28

That's a tricky one, and I'd be worried too if I were you. I have a daughter of about the same age so I'm trying to imagine what I could do in those circumstances.

I think I would come right out with it. Tell her you were in her room, found a load of dirty laundry and while you were collecting it, you saw this letter, and you need her to tell you who this person is, did he also give her the unexplained things you mention, and how does she feel about it? I guess there's a chance she might kick off, but even if she does, you'll still have the opportunity to get to the bottom of the James business.

As far as your general relationship with her is concerned, is it possible for you to spend more time one to one with her? Some sort of regular thing you and her do - you know, on Saturdays you head off to a coffee shop, not anything major. You just chat about school or whatever, and with luck, after a while, she'll feel more comfortable opening up about feelings and anything else that might be going on.

lljkk · 23/05/2016 20:52

That's a weird theory that she has come over all minging to try to discourage the boy. If she didn't like him she wouldn't have kept the letter.

thenewaveragebear1983 · 23/05/2016 21:01

I know, it does seem weird even to me as I'm thinking it. She knows I have seen the gifts, and I've asked her about them, and her cagey response is what makes me think there's more to it. I don't want to embarrass her speaking to school, but the same again I don't really think 12 year olds should be giving each other gifts like that, it just doesn't sit right with me. It seems a bit 'full on' , obviously I don't know how full on she is being in return as she hasn't said anything....! I just wonder if she's trying to make him fancy someone else instead? (Thinking of it how a child might?) It does make me feel that she's not altogether happy with the situation though.
Thanks for your input, I appreciate it

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MashesToPashes · 23/05/2016 21:05

Can you quietly approach the school and see if they know who this James is?

lljkk · 23/05/2016 21:06

That level of gift giving would be very normal in my DD's set of friends, between a pair who were 'going out'. Younger than 12yo, even.

It sounds like she hasn't told you anything because she knows you wouldn't approve.

He evidently doesn't mind her being a minger. You obviously do. So right there, he seems to accept her as she is when you don't.

thenewaveragebear1983 · 23/05/2016 21:06

Yes I could, especially as I have been in recent contact because of the hair cutting incident so spoke to pastoral Care a few times.

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MashesToPashes · 23/05/2016 21:12

I would try that. I'm assuming the change in hygiene started roughly the same time as the gifts etc? If it did I'd start wondering exactly what you've been wondering. She might like the idea of someone wanting to send her a love letter, while being completely unable to cope with them in person.

thenewaveragebear1983 · 23/05/2016 21:15

I'm not sure that a mother ensuring her almost teenage child has washed and isn't wearing soiled pants constitutes 'not accepting her as she is' Hmm. Incidentally this is happening entirely during school hours, she doesn't play out in the evenings or weekends. Its not that I don't approve per se, but I think the combination of gifts and letter is a bit serious for their age. Perhaps I am naive about that but it just doesn't sit right with me.

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NewLife4Me · 23/05/2016 21:17

Ok, this is what I did with similar, but dd was more open about the boy.

I talked to her and explained how boyfriends at this age were not the sme as when they were older and that they were mainly friends who really liked her.
i explained that boys and girls at this age are hormonal and sometimes they are grown up because of this and it's normal.
I explained that when she was older she would snog her boyfriends and even have sex Shock
Result, she never wants a boyfriend and realises her boyfriends are just friends.

Maybe a conversation like this may help her to open up a bit and ask her if she has a boyfriend and it's quite normal. Tell her that she can talk to you about it and you won't judge her but help when she needs it.
perhaps she isn't sure how you'll react if she said james was her boyfriend.

As for the stuffing dirty clothes and your comment about being immature for her age is similar to my dd.
It came to such a stage that this added to other organisation problems was enough for school to seek an assessment, which we are going through now.

To me she sounds confused about what to do about this boy. He may not be coming on too strong, she might just need direction and reassurance.

Mine never discusses boyfriends now as she thinks she'll have to snog, she has many friends who are boys and gets on better with them than some of her girl friends.

I wouldn't worry too much, just have a chat and encourage her to open up.

lljkk · 23/05/2016 21:26

I'm not being personal.
Teenagers generally think their parents are interfering controlling critical gits who don't accept them as they are "You just don't understand me....!!" is the standard wail.

Teens look to peers for affirmation. Interspersed with "Gawd Mom, your music is so terrible" and "When are you going to buy me something?"

thenewaveragebear1983 · 23/05/2016 21:39

Thanks new. When you say assessment, do you mean for ASD?

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thenewaveragebear1983 · 23/05/2016 21:42

Thanks lljkk, i know its not personal. The hygiene issue is a daily battle and it's one I won't give up on even if it upsets her because I can't bear the thought of her being picked on for being smelly or dirty.

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NewLife4Me · 23/05/2016 21:47

Op, they are doing all tests.
She was supposed to have her dyslexia one today and didn't see it on her timetable until too late.

The SENCO was pretty much convinced they would look at ADHD or ODD

I think they are doing so many as we have family history of ASD, ADHD, Dyslexia, dyspraxia.
Both me and her Dad and middle son live in a state of permanent havoc. I was only diagnosed in later life.

My dd will shove food, dirty clothes, drinks cartons in drawers, wardrobe, and any nook or cranny she can find.

What is your dd school bag like, this should help you see if it is a huge organisational problem throughout her life or just at home.

thenewaveragebear1983 · 24/05/2016 14:20

Her school bag is chaos! Full of rubbish, no letters make it home, very messy....
We have often thought she had perhaps mild aspergers due to inability to follow instructions, stim behaviours like hair pulling/ knuckle cracking, social 'awkwardness' , and also how bright she is. Perhaps we should pursue more with school although I don't think she'll be too keen to do this.
I have been today and bought her a little 'kit' of teen stuff, face wash and deodorant etc in a little wash bag 'for holiday'. Maybe a week away from social media as no WiFi while we're away might be a welcome break for her too. I'm going to email pastoral team at school as they were involved when she cut her hair and see what their views are, and try and get her to chat with me, maybe while packing for holiday or something so its not too intense. Thanks everyone for your advice. Its difficult because my teenage years were some of the most difficult of my life so I really don't want her to have the same issues, but at the same time I can't protect her from 'life' can I?

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NewLife4Me · 24/05/2016 18:42

OP, she sounds just like my dd and the bag question was to see if she was disorganised for more than one setting.
The SENCO at dd school asked me this, fwiw my dd isn't bright but a very gifted musician. It may be a gifted trait as there are links between the two that can make it difficult to diagnose a sn.

I posted a link a while back will see if I can find it and link for you, it was quite interesting. I would get her checked out if this is possible.

NewLife4Me · 24/05/2016 19:14
thenewaveragebear1983 · 24/05/2016 20:56

Thanks for that, I will have a read

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