Many of you may have seen the recent video uploaded by a Denver mother who found out for the fifth time that her 13 year old daughter had created a Facebook page where she lied about her age, posted provocative photos, and was accepting friend requests from older men. The mother took away her phone over a year ago, took away internet access, and yet, her daughter was still able to create another page while at a friend’s house.
I personally am not a fan of public humiliation as a punishment for my children. Just looking in from the outside, this child seems to have a self esteem issue already if she is seeking this kind of attention from men. I would venture to say that publicly humiliating her would only make things worse. However, I have not had to deal with the extent of this issue with my own daughters and I hope it never comes to this. I applaud the mother for being vigilant enough to actually find her daughter’s Facebook page (which she was blocked from) and taking action to keep her daughter safe. She is obviously at her wits end in dealing with this issue and saw no other option.
The parenting expert in the article disagrees with public humiliation as a punishment as well but offers no alternatives other than taking away privileges and working things out with her daughter as a team.
So, if not public humiliation, then what is the proper punishment for an action like this? Are there other options? The phone and internet have been taken away. She has been grounded for the summer to only staying inside and reading books. So now what?
I agree with taking away what matters to your child. Take away the cell phone, video games, the internet, and set restrictions on when and who they are allowed to go and hang out with. All of these things are great currency for punishments. But, this is the fifth offense for the same crime…..
A positive male role model would probably be beneficial in this situation. This can help tremendously in young teenage girls seeking male attention. I can vouch for this as I was one of those teenagers who wanted male attention (thank goodness social media was not around then!). The mother and daughter live with the daughter’s uncle, so he could possibly be a good source for this.
This single mom is doing the best she can and goes to night school so I am sure it is hard for her to stay involved in her child’s daily life, but knowing the types of friends your child has is important. Teenagers are mostly influenced by their peers. I can’t speak for how their household is run, but I would encourage the mother to communicate more with her daughter on a daily basis and not only when her daughter is dong something wrong. A family counselor would be a good place to start with opening the lines of communication. If the daughter is constantly lying or hiding things, she obviously does not feel like she can come to her mother for advice.
I wish this family the best and they are not alone in this struggle with adolescent behavior and social media. I would love to hear other ideas from parents out there! If you have been in this situation or have some great advice, please share!