Parenting --Teens/12 yr old daughter is being way to open with boy friends
I have always talked to my daughter about being careful with what she shares with boys and talks to them about, also what to NOT text or say on email or video phone, etc. Recently I caught video chats of her saying to a guy she likes "let's get naked at boomers" (Boomers is a video game place where they have rides and things for kids). She was going there with a group of friends and a parent supervisor. Is this the type of talk I need to worry about? Should I approach her about it? She seems awfully young to be making jokes like these. I always express that it's important to be careful with what she says to boys that may give the wrong idea and she can get into trouble. I'm confused. Thank you for any help you can give me.
Just to clarify, I am assuming that she knows that you are monitoring her video chats. If not, you need to establish with her that, at her age, you will be doing that. I prefaced my remarks with this because I am about to suggest that you ought to discuss this with her, but if she is under the impression that her chats are private and beyond your prying eyes, then if you do bring the subject up, the discussion will be about why you are violating her privacy instead of teaching her a good social lesson.
Assuming the above, I would think that it is entirely appropriate for you to be giving her a lesson in reality and what the ramifications of that kind of statement could be. My assumption would be that the conversation with the boy was more in jest than reality because they were going to a public place with a parent supervising. So the teaching lesson is probably one of getting her to realize that statements like that can be misconstrued by horny young men to be license to become sexually aggressive with her at times when she might not be a willing participant. Also, she needs to realize that video chats can be recorded and she just might find them appearing on Facebook sometime down the road when her friendship with this guy sours.
While you are at it, it would probably be a good idea to ask if she has ever texted or transmitted pictures of herself in various stages of undress. Hopefully the answer is no. Regardless of the answer, this question and the whole tone of your conversation ought to be of a loving, concerned parent rather than parent, the cop. If she thinks there is a punishment for the wrong answer, you will get the answer she thinks you want to hear and not the truth.
When kids become teens, the days of "do it because I said so" are over. They have to be reasoned with as you would reason with any adult. If there is no buy-in on their part, you can count on their not complying with your order. I reserve direct orders for those situations where their lives are in danger. Even then, I will give an explanation as to why I am issuing the order. As teens grow older, your ability to directly control their actions through direct orders will steadily decline. Use them sparingly.
Bottom line is I think that your instincts are correct. She is awfully young to be making jokes like these and, as I wrote, I agree that they certainly could give the wrong idea. (or in her mind, the, hopefully, right idea, which probably ought to be explored by you, too.)
I hope this all helped. You can always reply with follow up questions if you want or need to. If you go to my website, http://TheParentsCoach.com
There are a bunch of useful parenting tips on my blog. There is also a parents resource page with recommended books. My favorite one, which is required reading for all my clients, is "Parent As Coach." It is low price, a quick read, and it transforms even pretty good parent/son relationships. You absolutely need to buy and read this book. If you click on the title it will take you right to the Amazon.com page to order it.
Jason Wittman, MPS