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Parenting --Teens/How to handle accusations against my child


I have been referred to you by someone who has asked you many questions and respects your answers! I'm hoping you can help me too :) My daughter is being accused of putting "S" for slut on a friends locker. My daughter vehemently denies it but also says she doesn't know who did it. My gut tells me she didn't do it but possibly knows who did. I am friends with the parents and they have been in contact with me about this situation. Of course they are not very happy with this accusation and neither am I. These girls have been friends since Kindergarten. I'm not sure how I handle this? Can you help? Please? Thank You, Kim

Hello Kim,

You didn't tell me how old your daughter is, but I am assuming she's between 12 and 16.

I am also assuming that you want to smooth things over with the other girl's parents, and one way of doing that is to let them know who really put the S on the other girl's locker.

Since your daughter and this other girl are friends and have been for a long time, that is a plus in this situation. While you can't force your daughter to come clean, you can play on her emotions (by the way, this is an emotional situation. Who ever put the S on the locker was probably mad at the girl and did it without thinking too much of the potential consequences). Since you didn't tell who made the accusation against your daughter, I will again assume it was the friend or a mutual friend or acquaintance. Presumably, your daughter is upset by the accusation. If she is upset, again, that is favorable in this situation.

In talking to your daughter, you should emphasize how upsetting this is for everyone. That would include you (embarrassment to have your daughter accused), the other girl's parents (who are probably sad about their daughter being harassed), and the other girl (who is undoubtedly angry as well as likely being ashamed of bring called a slut, and perhaps sad that a friend did this). These are things you can  tell your daughter to help her realize the depth of the consequences. But, then, I think you should ask her what she thinks she could do to help bring about a resolution in this situation. Encourage her to come up with some ideas as to how she can help everyone to feel better -- or at least get through this crisis. While you should not tell her what ideas to have, you can push her to come up with brainstorms that would help lead to a rectifying of the situation. To do this doesn't mean she has to reveal who did it or confess to the "crime"; just to help her friend and her friend's parents to feel better.

By getting her involved, it helps her to see (without you telling her) that she has some responsibility in the situation.

 Then see what happens. If you have any questions, please let me know. And let me know what happens.

James Windell

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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