Need advice, please!!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-10-2013
Need advice, please!!!!!
3
Thu, 01-10-2013 - 6:13pm

I received a text from my 16 year old daughter's friend informing me that there were explicit pics of my daughter going around the school.  She also informed me that my child has been having sex with multiple boys at school.  I don't even know when or where she would be doing it!  She doesn't really date and we keep pretty close tabs on her whereabouts.  But, that's neither here nor there.  The pictures are what have me completely devastated.  I haven't seen then, but I have no reason not to believe the friend.  I am at a complete loss.  I feel like a complete failure as a parent.  My husband and I have a very open (we thought) relationship with her.  I have been struggling on how to approach her about what I've learned.  I know I'm supposed to be calm, not degrading, etc.  Please, any suggestions? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Fri, 01-11-2013 - 11:18pm

As I thought about you today, it occurred to me that I do have some knowledge and experience in this area that might be of help to you.

I repeat this following story here because I think it helps puts things in proper perspective. I know it has for me on many occasions. A few blocks from our home is White Chapel Memorial Garden. Over the years, on many occasions, I had spotted balloons floating over a headstone until I took the time to take a look one day. She was seventeen when she died. I have no clue what killed her, maybe cancer, cystic fibrosis, auto accident, drug overdose, suicide. Who knows? What I do know is she was greatly loved and is greatly missed by those who loved her. And her parents would love to have had a teen with “explicit pictures” circulating rather than a place to leave balloons. When we’re in the heat of things with our teens, we often lose focus on how fortunate we truly are to have these issues and not leaving balloons on a headstone.

“Explicit pictures” can be anything from soft porn photos like Playboy to hard core porn, which usually means all forms of sexual activity. That is the reason that I would want to see the pictures. And I would only want to see them once. After I handed the pictures to my daughter during that Saturday morning conversation, I would ask her to get up and put them in the burning fireplace or a shredder. Keeping them has no value. And, though hubby should be a part of this conversation, he probably should NOT see the pictures and only here your description of them. These types of things can be very hard on fathers of girls. One set of parental eyes is all that need to view them and only for the purpose of knowing what they are dealing with as parents.

Teen and college girls do lots of very stupid things. Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune let a boyfriend shoot a few nude side shots and her modeling lingerie when she was early twenties. She had even considered being a centerfold girl of the month in Playboy, but did not. However, those pictures taken by the boyfriend did end up in Playboy a few years after she became the letter turner. Maybe thirty years ago, Miss America Vanessa Williams had the misfortune of having a boyfriend sell photos of her to Penthouse that made her look like a lesbian and she was forced to resign her crown. These are the type JERKS that I had as boyfriends. With friends like that who needs enemies? Then of course there are the recent photos of the future queen Kate. Somebody should have warned those two idiots about super powerful telephoto lenses.

There may still be a few old faded photos of me topless on spring break in South Padre Island floating around from back twenty five years ago. Mine were not magazine quality—pictures or subject matter. I told you in an earlier post that I was really stupid.

The summer our two daughters and the guys, which they had been hanging with/dating for 46 months and would marry the following March were all between mid-16 and mid-17, we all went on vacation to Miami and the Florida Keys and stayed in a condo on the beach in Miami. Hubby was at a business conference and I was visiting and old friend, when the girls secretly (from mom and dad) went to the beach wearing dental floss “micro kitten” brand thong swimsuits. There are also areas of that beach that are what they term “top free” which means it is legal for the girls to go topless. At separate times the girls played topless volleyball there. In the process they sun burned the pale areas. OUCH! Neither daughter was seen by the future hubby of the other daughter, but only the guy they were already intimate with and a bunch of strangers. My suspicion is that there may be a photo memory card in the private possession of each couple with pictures of this event. There may even be some other photos of each couple that I would not want to see or hear about them circulating.

As I said above, fathers don’t do well with this type thing, even when they probably shot a few topless photos of old girlfriends or went skinny dipping with them at the lake. Hubby almost went nuclear when he found out. I didn’t like it either, but did not think it was worth of making a federal case out of it and was able to calm dad down with a promise from the girls not to do such again. If they started dancing at a gentlemen’s club, I would go ballistic big time.

My point is that lots of people do dumb things. My guess is that most people have.

When I looked at the photos, I would look for birth marks or moles that you know about or breasts the size of basketballs, as there is always the possibility that these photos are your daughters face or head on somebody else’s body, like a stripper’s body. I believe they call this “photo shopping.” I find what you can do with photos to be totally amazing. Butch, our younger son in law has created some pictures of our family standing in the Oval Office with President Obama—a place we have never been. The closest we got was a few hundred feet from that area on a trip through DC summer before last. There is even one photo of Butch shaking hands with JFK who died three decades before Butch was born.

When you show those pictures to your daughter, you will know if they are fake or real. So, what if the pictures are both real and worse than Playboy and she is having sex with several guys? Along with the parents of the girl with the balloons floating over her headstone, more recently there are the parents of 20 first graders, who died at Sandy Hook Elementary four weeks ago today, that would love to have your problems.

This is clearly a girl that you and her dad love and a girl with serious problems. You want to help her not crush her. That is why I recommended getting total control over your emotions before the Saturday morning “CONVERSATION.” A week or two spent getting control of your emotions and preparing what to say is time well spent. “Conversation” is the key word, as screaming and lecturing will not be as effective as calmly helping her realize that this behavior is not beneficial to her. Be prepared for this conversation to take several hours and be very emotionally draining. And there will be many long follow-up conversations in the days and weeks ahead. As long as you’re talking, you’re making progress.

If she is having sex with several guys, you want to try to explain to her that these guys don’t love her. They are just passing her around like a warm bottle of Gatorade after a ball game. As crude as it may sound, there view of you is the same as their view of a life size blow up doll sold at adult book stores to perverts. You’re just more lifelike. Having been the bottle of Gatorade and a doll with flesh, I know that real love is exclusive with one person and all consuming. I was 35 before I reached that point with hubby.

Just as there is a big difference between gold and fool’s gold, there is a big difference between love and lust. Love is not a bunch of male puppies humping a female in heat on the front lawn. And REAL LOVE is vastly more valuable than GOLD.

It’s past time to take her to an OBgyn for birth control, hepatitis shot, and Gardasil shots for HPV. Make and take her to an appointment, if she hasn’t been yet. A good OBgyn may also be able to recommend a good counseling program. I’m not big on counseling, but this may be a situation that such would be helpful.

So what about her reputation around school? Saint Augustine named after a city in north Florida or vice versa, lived a very profligate life before his conversion. After that conversion, one of the ladies of the evening spotted him and started screaming, “Augustine it is I.” His response was, “Yes, but I am not the old Augustine.” That would not be a bad answer for your daughter to use with these guys. Time heals many things, including reputations.

Near the end of his life, pondering these words ascribed to Socrates, “Know thy self.” Augustine wrote, “I know Augustine to be a great sinner.” That among other things is why they call him a saint and name cities after a profligate sinner.

People can always change the course they are on and choose a better one. That’s all your daughter needs and she needs her parents love and support in doing so. Many of the great masterpieces of art are painted over mistakes by the same artists. Your daughter has much time to paint that masterpiece.

I hope this ramble helps in some way.

Love,

Kimmy

PS: What Musiclover is saying about the legal aspects is something to be careful about and another reason for burning the photos. Even though you may feel like killing the little bastard who passed them around, in reality you don’t want to give him a criminal record and screw up his life. At some distant time he may even be your SIL and father of your grandchildren. Stranger things have occurred.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 01-11-2013 - 1:28pm

I agree w/ Kimmy's advice except that I would not ask the friend to send you the pics by phone.  Depending on the laws in your state and when these pics were taken, it actually could be considered child porn and anyone who possesses or sends these photos could be prosecuted.  We had a similar case in our state involving teens and the DA decided not to press charges because otherwise these teens would be labeled sex offenders for life--that seems pretty harsh, but I did tell my DS about that to warn him not to do anything like that.

I agree that you have to have a talk--tell her that maybe she thought it was somehow great to send a pic of herslef to boy A, who she either liked/was dating at the time, but that considering today's technology, did she really know or intend that these pics would be sent to multiple people at school and now they will be around forever and she will have no control over who sees them?  Probably not.  And I'd say that having sex with a bunch of diff. boys can only have multiple bad consequences for her and you can't (or I can't) think of any good consequences--obviously, STDs, pregnancy, damage to her reputation.  I'd ask her why she was doing this--does she think that no boy will likie her if she doesn't have sex?  Good luck--I know most parents would be tearing their hair out with this news, but it's good that the friend told you--it shows that she cares about your DD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Thu, 01-10-2013 - 11:31pm

Gentle hugs to you and welcome to our corner of the village.

DON’T FEEL LIKE A FAILURE! Consider yourself challenged. She can walk back from this.

Relax, take a deep breath. Yell RAWHIDE! And charge into the fight.

I would ask the girlfriend for copies of the pictures and thank the friend for providing the information. I would tell the friend that I will go to my grave without ever telling where I got them. And I would keep my word—even if water boarded.

I would steel myself with calmness no matter what and this may take a week or so to do. If you have other children, I would make arrangements for them to be at the grandparents or a friend’s house. I would probably wait until a Saturday morning before I brought the pictures up for discussion with my daughter, so that time would not be an issue. I would start by explaining to my daughter that no matter what, she will always have her parent’s unqualified love. Then I would pull the pictures out and ask for her thoughts. LISTEN!!!! Ask questions like: What do you think about these? Why would you do this? Etcetera. Make a list before the meeting.

I’d also ask about the rumors I was hearing about her sexual activities.

I’m not sure where you all go from there, but I would ask for her suggestions, and explain what actions I was going to take and why.
When I was sixteen, I thought I was cool and popular. In reality I was merely easy and available. At 21, with a mild case of herpes, I began to wise up and realize that I was one really stupid little $itch. My parents never knew. Hubby, who I met in college, was a male version of me and it took us about ten years to go through all the baggage we came into the marriage with. We have a happy marriage and are truly blessed.

An old quote from a friend: Nobody ever said being a parent was easy and nobody was certainly correct.

Love,

Kimmy