Should I try to recover my daughter's deleted texts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2014
Should I try to recover my daughter's deleted texts?
11
Wed, 07-09-2014 - 10:21am

I just submitted this as a Q&A and now I found this board, so sorry if this is a duplicate. I'm new here, and feeling a little desperate!

The background: When doing laundry I found a small tin containing two tiny bags of weed and an Adderall tablet. She came clean about it all eventually, after trying to say they weren't hers. This is the second time I have found weed in her possession. The first time she was grounded for two weeks. This time I said she was grounded for a month and I was going to read her texts. She already was aware that I had access to her Facebook account and read her messages occasionally, which was what led to the first weed discovery, and at that time I said I wouldn't read her texts but if I ever had reason to in the future, I would. I said she could text her friends the news and that if they wanted to get ahold of her during this time, they could call our home phone. I sat in front of her as she did this, and she took that opportunity to delete all of the texts from her phone. 

I was beyond furious and still am when I think about it!!! The next morning, I went online to see about recovering the deleted texts. I found and ordered a device that claims to do this. But now I am having second thoughts on whether I should go ahead with recovering and reading the texts she deleted. Should I give her another chance, and just tell her that I will take her phone at random and read the texts whenever I feel like it? What would you do? Who can I talk to you about this?

By the way, my daughter is an honor student and an all-around good kid. She has a job, is active in sports, and is generally great to be around. She is working hard to make it up to us right now, though I have to say I'm not convinced she won't do the drug thing again. Advice please!!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2008

I would take her phone away period and also try to recover the texts. She may be headed for trouble so you need to get agressive. Possession of marijuana is still against the law in most states so she has committed a criminal act. Punish her accordingly.

Brenda

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

Yes, you should try to read the deleted texts. If she deleted them at the point of telling her friends that she was busted then there's reason to suspect there was something she didn't want you to see. And if you tell her that in the future you will check her texts at random she will probably make a point of deleting as she goes. As for "another chance", this IS the other chance because she's been caught with pot before. You have ample reason to suspect that she's doing illegal things so if you started checking more carefully it would be reasonable. While she is a minor supported by you privacy is a privledge earned and lost. 

You might want to just take away the phone, that would probably be a worse punishment than getting grounded LOL. If she needs a phone to call you for rides etc you could get her a cheap prepaid-minutes phone with no texting or data and tell her that it is only for calling you, not for talking to friends. If she uses the minutes with friends then she does chores to pay for them.

You didn't say how old she is and that does make a difference in how things are handled. A 17yo honor student with plans to attend a top university next year might be compelled to change her behavior because of the risk of losing her dreams, whereas a 14yo with less maturity would probably require a different approach.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2014
Just wanted to add: She is 16, and her grounding in both cases include(d) no phone, iPod or computer. Thank you to those who have answered so far!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2010

I agree with the other posters that you really need to be very aggressive in the punishment. She has broken the law twice now that you know of which means there are probably far more instances. Take her phone  and do not cave and give it back any time soon. Remind her that if she were to be caught by the police and sentenced to time behind bars, no phone would be the least of her worries.

Nancy
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

You might want to re-post this question here on the Parents of Teens board. It gets some different members, most of them BTDT, so lots of experience and perspective.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

What would be the point of reading the texts?  To find out who she got the drugs from?  I am racking (Sp?) my brain here trying to think of what other info you would be seeking.  I think that point is kind of irrelevant.  You already know she has drugs so you could just punish her for that anyway.  I haven't had the experience of finding my kids with any kind of drugs so I don't really know what I would do specifically--maybe random drug testing would be involved to gain privileges back.  I also believe in fitting the punishment to the crime, so to speak, so if she is doing drugs, I would be more concerned about her going out of the house in order to get/partake of more drugs--I would be a lot less concerned with her using phone/computer.  I think going w/o the phone for a short time is a good punishment but it doesn't address the real issue which is how to get her to stop using drugs and realize the dangers involved. Maybe she could be putting the home grounding to good use by having to research the dangers of drug use and presenting a paper to you as if she was in school.  She could also research the legal penalties for being caught with drugs.  I would also show her that college students can be denied student loans if they have convictions for drug possession or use--I guess it doesn't bother the loan people if they rob a bank or something, only if they use drugs.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2014
Thank you for your response. The point of reading the texts would be to find out what else has been going on that we don't know about--to see if it's a bigger problem that what we are currently aware of and to take actions accordingly.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2014
I will do that, thank you!
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

Music, the reason that I thought she should read the old texts is to see if there are other behaviors the mom ought to know about. Sometimes kids can be doing much more than the parents ever suspected. 

I like your suggestion of having her write a research paper on the dangers and penalties associated with drug use. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2000

So sorry.  Would she be willing to meet with a counselor, assuming that you can find one that is covered by your insurance?  I guess the key reason to seek the texts would be to find out which friends are supplying her and, perhaps, attempt to restrict access to those people when possible.  Are there ways to appeal to her sense of the future life she wants that could be helpful in encouraging a change in behavior?  I mean, if she wants to go to college, but is caught with illegal substances during HS, she may not be able to get in.  Also, are there things that interest her a lot that she can get more involved with - dance classes, volunteering, etc?  Sometimes being heavily scheduled can be a good thing.  Again, so sorry this is happening in her/your life right now.  Sending virtual hugs.

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