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Checking Digital Devices

acook's picture

Over the past year we have noticed a change in BD attitude.  She has this major lack of happiness and she seems to be struggling more socially and withdrawing into herself more as well. If we dont sorta force her to interact when we have her, she will spend all her time reading books or watching television.  If we plan fun activties or trips she drags her feet and mopes most of the time.  PLUS, she went from a 3.5 gpa student to a 2.25 student and continuing to drop lower. 

Awhile ago she and her mom cooked up a scene and she refused to come to our house like she was scheduled to for the weekend.  They said she was too afraid to come home. We allowed her to stay the first night there, but her Dad picked her up the next day and spent hours just talking with her. Later, we all talked as a family about what her biggest issues were and she told us she hates how we handle her grades, she dislikes that we think she is lieing all the time (i will get to that later) and how we dont always believe she is sick and misses school (BD has a long history of faking sick to miss school, so much so her bio mom actually has her other child verify temp and symptons before she can be called in) she feels we dont get her sense of style because I guess 1 time I wouldnt let her buy a crop top and a pair of 90 dollar jeans.  She also felt we pushed her too hard to get over her fear of food and textures We ended up talking in length about how we will reshape some parenting to make her feel better.  It seemed like for the first few weeks afterwards that things were better, but genuine happiness still wasnt present. 

After our talk, we no longer force her to do the homework, she knows that is our wish, but she knows we are not forcing her. But we will check up on her grades and discuss and try and get her to see the path she is on is not the path that will get her to ultimate goal in her dream career path.  Recently we discovered she has over 15+ missing assignments and is now at 2.0 gpa.  She swears up and down that all the assingments were turned in.  Nowing that she wants us to belive her, we asked her how we can help. Can we talk to the teachers, can we set up meetings, get an appointment with the guidance councler and etc. It was decided she  would send her teachers emails asking them when they will have her work graded and that by not having them graded it is affecting her grade. WE stressed  and stressed that she was to not send anything untruthful; that she better make sure its factial and truthful.  She sent the emails... as I am sure you can guess, she was lieing.  Big time!  And after getting caught, she kept lieing. Trying to dig herself out of it. Then lied again about that.  It is endless. 

Fast forward, the otherweeked I could not sleep well.  The stress of why is she lieing so much, how can we get a hold of it and stop it, how can get her happiness back, what the hell is really going on, and just all around very scared we are missing something big that could be dangerous, I peaked into her digital device.  I didnt discover much, pretty much what we suspected that was going on. She is not telling the truth in almost all everything that comes up.  I was realived to see that although she might be a little depressed and maybe she is having some anxiety, she was not in danger of hurting herself.  Not to say she couldnt use counceling but I was really scared we were missing something bad.  I dont know if she woke up and saw me, although i am pretty certain she was asleep we get a very angry text from her biomom in vulgar language why i was going through her phone.  

I dont feel bad I did it. I do feel bad I may of put my husband in an terrible spot, so how do we deal with this? Do I say I'm sorry, I made a terrible decision or do we stay quiet and let it blow over, or do I step in just explain it all.  She wont believe me so I feel like i would wasting my breath.

Rags's picture

Screw her feelings, for that matter screw feelings in general. Deal with the facts.

The facts are:

* SD is a liar. She can whine about how she "feels" that you and her dad don't believe her. Those are not feelings. Those are facts. You don't believe her because she is a liar and nothing she says will be believed until she stops lying and tells the truth from here on out. I would set a period of 10 years without a lie being what it will take for her to build a level of trust that she is not lying. Put her behavior firmly on her shoulders and do not let her weasle out of the fact that she lies like a rug.

*Fact.  she was an A/B student and now she a C/D student.  Her performance has shit for nothing to do with her feelings and everything to do with the fact that she isn't performing. And ... she is lying about it.

*Fact. She is rarely sick, she does fake sickness to miss school... and SHE IS A LIAR!!!!!  She either has a fever,  has broken bones or is bleeding or... she is not sick and she GOES TO F-IN SCHOOL!!!!!  Screw her feelings. 

I get all torqued up over the default about feelings. Feelings solve nothing, mean nothing and should not get any focus when it comes to behavior and performance.  While I recognize that feelings are in large part the spice of life ... when it comes to decisions and managing life... feelings are useless.  SD's feelings are also useless. The fact that she is an  untrustworthy liar with school performance that is crashing and burning is really all that matters in this situation.  That she is playing the feelings card just makes her more detestable.

The why of her feelings is irrelvent. The what of her performance is what matters. 

That you checked her digital world to determine if there is any indication that she is suicidal makes you an involved parent. There is no need to even bring that up at all.... since there was no idication that she is suicidal.  If there were indications that she is suicidal or using drugs... those facts should be dealt with directly as facts.  How you may have found those facts does not matter. 

IMHO of course.

How old is this kid btw?

futurobrillante99's picture

You did it out of concern. I would not feel bad about it at all. And she is a documented liar. You cannot believe what comes out of her mouth, so you sought to verify it.

All valid reasons. And she's a minor in your home. You have rights. Ignore the wh*re.

amyburemt's picture

My dh and I went through this with one of our kids, we have 4 teens . I think that if you are wanting the complete truth about what is going on in school your dh should schedule a face to face meeting with the school counselor AND have sd there as well. It's a little harder for them to lie to you if they are in the room with the counselor also. And heck yes check her digital world! I have actuallly asked multiple counselors, doctors etc about doing this and they all agree that people should do it more. Child trafficking is huge and people don't realize how huge it is. Our society has blinders on. When we got our teens their phones we told them all that as parents and the people responsible for their safety we will occasionally check their phones and if they don't like it then don't use them. we told them we aren't looking for the stupid stuff that they say between their friends but we will be watching for anything that might be a safety issue. I can literally ask one of them for their phone, look at it, and then hand it back to them with no issues. Sure i see curse words here and there or friend drama but that's not what i'm focused on. You are the child's advocate when it comes to safety. Being a teenager today is hard because of all the digital influence and they are naive in not knowing exactly what is safe and what isn't.