Posted by: Robert | 2013/01/08

Teenage daughter is lying a whole lot for strange reasons

I have ''adopted'' two teenage girls (they are my wife''s younger cousins and they come from a difficult background. We took them in in March 2012 and have taken them as our own. The older girl is 19, and is amazing. She doesnt seem to have any problems (unless she hides them well), but I get the impression that she is just really happy with life now.
The younger one is 16, and her and I are always at war. Ironically, we are the closest, and She is always attached to me. I love them both so so much.
I bought them both blackberry''s and have had nightmares ever since.
We just spent a few days on holiday and the Sammy (the 16 year old) got into a mood, and as result never spoke to us for 3 days. Yesterday I went to her and closed the door and we spoke for over an hour. (she hadnt eaten for 3 days and had her head buried in her phone.)

The conversation turned into the most horrible fight, and I ended up storming out of the house and not returning till this morning. Its not something I do, but I got so upset and didnt really know what else to do.
I realised that something was going on in her bbm world, so I asked to see her phone. She knows that I have no interest in reading her messages and stuff, so she gave me the phone confidently, I think assuming I would give it right back, but I didnt.

I left her and went to read, and I was incredibly disturbed. To be honest I thought that I would find talk of sex, drugs, etc, but I found a strange made up life.
She has been lying to friends about me, my wife, and her sister - painting us in such a bad light - as if we don''t treat her very well.
There was a message that her friend was coming to visit today, but I didnt allow it saying " If you cant talk to us, you cant talk to anyone"  - I didnt even know she had made arrangements to meet up with a friend.

Today, things are calm, and she is incredibly remorseful. We had a long talk, in which I found out that the friend that was coming to visit doesnt exist!
She made the friend up as her closest friend with whom she shares everything. She said she did it because everyone else seems to have a really close friend and she doesnt.

On New years morning at 2am, she was having a convo with a classmate about how drunk she was and that she is probably going to pass out outside any minute. But at 2am on New years morning, she was in bed in the room next to mine, as we had just arrived home from friends. I allow her to drink a little with me on occasion. (not a conversation for here if you disagree with me), but she was hardly drunk as I had only allowed her 2 ciders at around 8pm on new years eve. We all toasted the new year with a cup of tea :)

She tells me today she makes up stuff about drinking and smoking weed so that " my friends dont think I am a nerd" 

I should add here, that I am young - not the age of a father of a 16 year old daughter. I do my best with the girls and for the most part things are great. The older one battled with school this past year and is repeating the year, but thats also for many other reasons.

Sammy is/was also dating a boy she hasnt met. She was given his bbm pin and now they are ''in a relationship'' - he tells her he loves her and she seems to believe it and comes across as if she is blown over by him (from what I read)
I talk openly with them about sex, drugs, alcohol, etc and encourage them to speak to me about anything. I feel now as though I am somehow failing..

I really need help here....
I also have something to offer though - avoid blackberry - its a dark scary dangerous thing in the hands of teens. I have taken Sam''s away and she has accepted it.
If your kids, especially girls are using blackberrys, find a way to know whats going on without snooping or crossing boundaries.
If you have boys, chances are, they are trying very hard to get their peers to send nude pics of themselves - its just as destructive.

Thanks for reading..


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Our users say:
Posted by: Mother | 2013/01/10

Hi Robert, I don''t know much about teenagers, except what you''ve pretty much summed up in your posts above.
If you genuinely think you have reason to worry, then you could all go for family therapy?
But it sounds like you have very open communication lines, which is really good and should hopefully come in handy if anything really worrisome crops up. As for the lying about sex and drugs, and the glamourisation thereof by her group of friends, she could sooo easily slip through the cracks and adopt that kind of lifestyle because she wants to feel included (bear in mind that she would make up a friend/story to feel in, and imagine the extent to which she could possibly go with everything else and end up turning the facade into reality, just to be in - not bright, but I think a teenage thing to do.). So if I were you, I''d really try hard to address that and make her understand that being on the straight and narrow CAN be cool! Expose her to different, COOL young people like her current self when she''s not lying about " uncool"  (at least from an adult''s perspective) stuff just to feel accepted. Try to find her " clean"  hobbies that she really enjoys.
As for the moods: as I said, I have zero experience on this one: but I think you might be feeling very frustrated because you haven''t known the child for that long as a parent, so you haven''t seen her develop in this moody, sulky, person, so you have no way of knowing if it''s normal, developed suddenly because of teenage hormones, or she is generally that kind of person in terms of personality. Could you maybe get some perspective from her older sister about the moods (if it''s a sudden change) without sounding like you''re gossiping about her?
Overall, if you''re really, truly concerned that you have bigger problems than you think, then please seek counselling.
All the best!

Reply to Mother
Posted by: Robert | 2013/01/08

The fights have always been about her terrible mood swings and her persistent use of the blasted phone during family time, at restaurant tables, etc. I dont know if its unfair of me to get upset about her moods, because I guess I dont understand what might be going on - but she has never been able to tell me what the cause is. Yesterday, she said to me that every little thing irritates her.
Always at war is hugely exaggerated. We are a really happy family.Sometimes almost brady bunch-like :)
but this mood thing creeps in, and its not just a " im not feeling so great" , its like depression - but its worsened by my reaction to it, because I dont deal well with it. It upsets me so much that everyone is eventually miserable. And it can last for a day or 3.

This one was the worst, but it was so bad yesterday, that she spent the day begging me to talk to her, and we seem to have found something to work with, and hopefully we are going to move forward stronger - but I am concerned about her.

The older one jumps up when she is asked to do something. For Sam, it takes a little (a lot) longer.

I have considered eating disorders, but I dont know much about them. Neither of them are big eaters, and I have sort of made it non-negotiable that they both eat breakfast. (I also dont know if thats the right thing to do.) I subscribe to the " breakfast is the most important meal of the day"  story, but thats probably because I am completely useless if I dont have tea and food in the morning.

She comes from Chatsworth - I am not sure how familiar you are with the way teenagers are living there, but its common for them to be smoking, drinking, engaging in risky sexual behaviour, and it has been glamorised. She still has contact with some of them and they are portraying an amazing life with drugs, alcohol and boys.

The other problem with Sam, and not at all with Shanice, is that she gets bored so easily, and I cant seem to find something that she enjoys doing, or a place she enjoys going (except go-karting - which is massively expensive!) We go out as a family, and within an hour, she is sulking or withdrawing, and I guess I am trying to figure out if thats normal behaviour, and how I am supposed to best deal with it without causing huge fights.

Reply to Robert
Posted by: Linus | 2013/01/08

Rob - when a child acts up like this its normally because they have a need that is not being taken care of  I think that she has something going on like a psychiatric condition and she is trying to put a mask on herself so others cannot really see whats going on - it also could be delusions but you are right in being concerned. So you as her caregiver cannot help her until you understand her and whats going on. I would take her for an assessment but it is pretty hard finding the right doctor. Does she display any signs of ADHD or ADD? how about eating disorders? you say you and her are always at war - what do you mean? does she argue with you or defy you and resist from doing what you say daily? what is there in her behaviour that you think is different to her sister? what does her teachers say about her behaviour? it could be that she struggles in social situations and cannot make a real close friend and there are a good few reasons why this is the case - You need to get all the answers on whats going on with her before you can help her...

Reply to Linus

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