Posted by: Lou | 2012/12/13

problem tween

Hi Doc,

I posted a couple of weeks back about my 12 yr old daughter who was having " phone sex"  on a soical network site.
I confiscated her phone for a week and gave it back to her with the internet disabled. I also went through the whole story (again) of what the dangers are, doing this etc. Now with that behind us, the next problem:
Whilst at her friends house yesterday, the 3 friends (all aged 12 and a half) decided they would walk to the local shopping centre (2km''s away). This they did without telling anyone, knowing it was wrong. Thankfully they made it there safely, but I''m at my wits end. I''ve again gone over the dangers of doing this, but I feel like everything I say goes in one ear and out of the other. I''m a single mom, battling to find the right way of getting through to my daughter. Its overwhelming at the moment, and I worry for her to the extent that its affecting my health.
Where am I going wrong? How do I get through to her? Please help.

many thanks

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Our expert says:
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Dont blame yourself. At around hat age, kids believe they are personally invulnerable, individually exempt from the facts of life.
Emphasize to her that the responses you make are because she hasn't grown up enough, yet, to recognize the real dangers in the world out there, like a toddler who doesn't realize boiling water can seriously hurt her, and wants to play on the stove.
I agree with Milla about refusing to allow her to visit the girl she was with then, or any other chum whose mother will not be there to supervise them and to prevent such foolish impulsive actions.
I also like Milla's emphasis on making it clar to kids that visiting pals homes, having a cellphone or web access, etc, are PRIVILEGES, and not RIGHTS, and are conditional upon using these opportunities sensibly, responsibly and safely.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Jenna | 2012/12/13

So now you take away the friends. Ground her for a week or two, and then let her see her friends after the punishment is over.

She is 12- she knows what is right and wrong (as you have said) and you are explaining to her the dangers of everything, yet like you say, it goes in one ear and out the other. The only way she is going to listen is if she is inconvenienced (i.e. she can''t see her friends).

Is she alone during the day while you are at work, or does she go to a grandparent, cousin, etc?

Reply to Jenna
Posted by: Milla | 2012/12/13

I don''t think your doing anything wrong, kids can''t fully grasp the consequences of making dangerous choices at that age, they probably believe that bad things won''t happen to them.

I don''t really have advice for you, but personally, if she knew that she shouldn''t do it but still chose to broke the ''rules'', I would remove her ability to make that same bad choice again by not allowing her to visit friends where she is left unsupervised.

I give my daughter privileges (such as letting her visit friends or giving her a cellphone) and I explain to her how to use it responsibly, if she then shows me that she can''t use those privileges responsibly I take them away for a time.

Reply to Milla

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