Don’t we all want to have the perfect life? The beautiful home, the studly husband, great kids that never fight or do anything wrong, enough money to be comfortable…You get the picture. Do you find yourself looking at other’s lives and thinking, “Boy have I got it good” or “If only I had that”? Are you the person that walks through the mall looking at other families teenagers thinking “My child will NEVER dress like that, look like that, act like that”? Have you ever had a small portion of your “perfect” world explode in your face, making you wonder where you went wrong? Tuesday was that day for me.
I received my cell phone bill online on Tuesday. I opened it up and started looking at how many minutes the 5 of us used, who text messaged the most, just did the basic review. Upon my inspection I found that my 13 year old daughter had 13,664 text messages. About that time I started thanking the Lord that I had signed up for unlimited texting. She in the past had her phone taken away for having excessive text messages. I wasn’t looking forward to talking to Craig about it but another part of me was glad for the support.
After really digging into the bill with him, we had a list of numbers that we wanted to know whose they were. We had also noticed that she was text messaging as late as 1:30 am and that it appeared that she would start receiving messages at 4:30 am. At this discovery we started to realize that this issue is more then just the number of texts that she is sending and receiving. When was she sleeping? I felt like a failure when I looked at that because I live right here with her. I still tuck her in and check on her before I go to bed.
When Hope got home on Tuesday from school she threw her backpack and stuff on her bed and came in to tell us she was home. Craig asked her to sit down and started talking to her about her text messaging. I got up and went to her room and got her phone. I rejoined the discussion and started going through her phone. (I know it is almost as bad as reading her diary. Oh Well!!) When she noticed what I was doing she told me that I was not going to like some of the stuff that I would find on her phone. Don’t you love an honest child….Boy was she right!!
I found texts that were sent to her from the 14 y/o daughter of a good friend telling Hope she had slept with 4 guys. Other texts with questions about sex. Picture texts of boys standing in a bathroom only wearing boxers really low. Boys texting Hope about loving her and stuff. Just things that are really inappropriate especially at the age of 13. I took lots of deep breaths and said my Thanks Yous to God that Hope didn’t have a camera on her phone.
After having a few long discussions with just Hope and I. I believe that she is still not sexually active. That she may be experiencing crush-love. Also she no longer has a cell phone if she ever gets it back there will be no texting on it. I am going to take her to experience the wonderful female physical with an GYN. We are starting a study together of a book that I purchased last August in Oklahoma called Eyes Wide Open-Avoiding the Heartbreak of Emotional Promiscuity. Hope is close with her Pastor and his wife and she will be seeing him for some counseling sessions. I am praying that the Village of People that I am going to be surrounding her with will help remind her that she is a blessed child of God and she needs to protect herself.
I must admit that the saddest part of this experience is the broken trust that I now have were she is concerned. I love my daughter so much but she has crossed a line with me that will forever make me cautious as to what is really going on in her life. The other sad part was calling my friend and informing her thather daughter told Hope that she had slept with 4 boys. She wasn’t surprised by what I told her and informed me that they had a pregnancy scare last week with her. That broke my heart.
My only advice is if you are going to give your kids a cell phone do one of two things… 1 get the Disney Phone which only lets you program in 4 numbers and nothing else…..2 be nosy, know who they are talking to, know what they are saying and never get them a camera phone or text messaging!! I have heard on the news a lot lately about teens taking naked pics of themselves and sending them to their friends who then send them to their friends and so on and so on.
Just remember….It can be your child. Don’t ever sit back complacently and say not my kid she/he knows better. Hope is an A student, involved in drama & youth group and aside from having her phone taken away for too many text messages, the worst thing she has ever done is have a dirty room.