I wish I could say I should have seen this coming…but honestly, I thought my daughter would be more responsible.
I have a 12 year old daughter. She is beautiful. She is talented. She is smart…and maybe not so smart after all.
Her school allowed her (without my permission) to have an email address. I found out about this after she blurted out that she had to email her teacher a report for her keyboarding class. I was not comfortable with her having an email address that I did not know anything about. I checked up on her regularly…but nothing seemed amiss…
Flash forward a few months. She and a neighbor boy are getting chummy. She is 12 and we have strict rules! I found emails between her and the boy where they are professing their love for one another. Now…she is 12. What does she know of love? Not a damn thing. And there in lies one of the main issues. This is more than likely just a crush for her. She’s known this boy for 2 years and they have been involved in many of the same activities. Not an issue. We know his parents…and we basically have the same values… What happens when she no longer has a crush on him?
The second issue…is that she hid her emails between the two of them. After I had already gone through her emails. She moved them into another folder. Well…the girl failed to realize when she left her iPod (which she is supposed to do) that when he emailed her at school that I would see it. I was shocked. I was upset. I wanted to rage.
Then calm took over. This is a very tricky walk for both me and my husband. We can’t tell her NOT to hang out with this boy…he is her friend. BUT…we can limit what kind of contact they have when they are around us. No hand holding, no hugging, no kissing. They are NOT boyfriend and girlfriend. They cannot sit on the couch together unless they have two of our other kids in between them! They are very good friends…and that is where it will stay until we say (or they grow out of it) otherwise.
I then flash back to my 12 year old self. Did I hide things from my parents? Heck yeah, I did! I had already smoked my first cigarettes and got drunk for the first time by the time I was 12. I was not a very good kid even though I got good grades and listened to my parents. I had horrible influences from my brother and sister who were older than me…which is no excuse. I failed them and me and God when I was that age. Heck, I continued to fail them and God and me until I was in my 20’s. I guess my child is so much better off than I was.
I do not want my daughter to be stuck in a “relationship” with a boy in the future because she said things she should not have said because she felt she had to say them so she wouldn’t make him “feel” bad. What a horrible precedent to set! Can you imagine all the relationships after that??? This sends a big message to me and her father that we really need to discuss with her what healthy relationships are…and what are not.
I will be looking for a co-dependency book for teens for my daughter so she can realize and recognize both good and bad relationship behaviors. Ephesians 5:3,6-7 says:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
“Let no one decieve you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (7) Therefore do not be partners with them.”
We want our daughter to stay as innocent as possible without being naive. How entirely impossible is that request? We don’t want her hurt…nor do we want her to hurt others through her youth…because she does not know any better. In these times of change and challenge, we cling tighter to the Lord our God and to one another so we can be each other’s fortress in the storm.
My daughter knew she had done wrong. By keeping the relationship secret…and by hiding her emails. So…not only is her email gone but her iPod is also gone. She is not allowed to go on the internet without our knowledge…and to say my trust in her is a little shaky…well, that would be true. She’s 12. And she’s young…and she’s stupid.
I pray we can continue to talk with her about these things so she can grow and have healthy relationships through her life…
I thank my Father God for showing me patience and giving me peace. Through Him ALL things ARE possible.