Monday, 4 February 2008

"Teenagers Scare the Living s*** out of me" - My Chemical Romance

I've just told Potty Mummy that I would Blog about this later, but I'll get it done now, I'm feeling raw emotion about this one and I want to move on and no keep going over and over it in my mind.
My teenage daughter, beautiful, stunning, lovely teenage daughter was left standing on the side of a busy main road one night last term after school. Her friend didn't go home on the bus and she assumed I knew and would pick her up. She stood and waited until I realised something was wrong and drove like a bat out of hell to find her. It frightened me beyond anything I've known, I gave her my mobile phone there and then. She had lost hers and I was determined she could go without for being so irresponsible with her belongings. If she'd had a phone,, if I'd not been so stubbborn over, lets face it, a few pounds, she could have phones me and it wouldn't have happened.
But that's not what's ripping my insides apart today. On Saturday I borrowed my phone back from my daughter, travelled by train to South Wales to a friend getting married, Darling Husband and the girls were driving down later in the day and meeting us at the Church.
As soon as I sat down I realised I'd forgotten something, opened the phone to call home and ther it was, a name in the phone that I hadn't heard of. It wasn't one of my customers or one of her friends. I called home, asked for the forgotten item to be brought down and asked her who it was? She said It was one of her friends' friends. OK, I rang off, and I'm ashamed to say I was suspicious, and read the texts.
The person is a 42 year old Irish man. My daughter had, quite innocently texted the wrong number, got two numbers the wrong way round and sent a message to this man. He politley texted back saying she had the wrong number.
She sent a text thinking her friend was being stupid and pretending to be someone else. A few texts went backwards and forwards and once she knew it was someone unknown to her, she apologised and said, please don't block my texts, it kind of cool to text someone I don't know. He replied by asking if she like the Irish?
This is where I got the phone.
So I'm in agony, my husband is furious and can't bring himself to have a conversation with her, he's polite and says the normal things, but he's gutted.
Nothing has happened, nothing awful has come of this, no improper suggestions have been made, this man could have been completely innocently being friendly. But why would she be so bloody stupid to want to do this, haven't we told her enough times about the dangers and phones and emails.
My wonderful friend had me burst into his house on his wedding day and have to listen to me. He took the phone and sent a message pointing out there was inappropriate texting going on and would be taking legal advice. He sat me down calmed me down, listened, sorted it out and stopped it continuing. All this on his day, a total rock, I love him for it.
My daughter has been told this man is 42, has been told he could be anyone, a nice guy, a child molester, we don't know. She could also ruin this mans life, he could have replied in complete ignorance and if we had called police in hysterics, his life would be ruined.
This happens to others, I'm a responsible mother, aren't I? Or am I setting a bad example by Blogging with people I don't know? Am I not giving her enough attention, maybe I shouldn't have sent her to a private girls school. I'm not coping with this and nothing's happened really. I'm not in a good place with this.


She's like the wind said...

This is a hard one, I'm with you. You always have to hope you have given children enough guidance that they will do the right thing. If she doesn't give away any information then perhaps she thought it was harmless, maybe encouraged by her friends, who knows, but now you can raise it and deal with it and hope she learns from it. Children have no fear.

Good luck x

Expatmum said...

Oh Frog, I am so with you here. I have a very innocent teenage daughter and the IM'ing, Facebook etc frightens the life out of me, to the point where she shows me what she's doing just to shut me up.
As bloggers, we know that there is something nice about talking to people you don't really know. However, you are right to be on the alert. Given the situation though, it's obvious the Irish guy didn't initiate anything and was probably horrified by your friend's last text.
Withouth terrifying your daughter, it might be worth finding some stories of how people lure young kids via the Internet - first by chatting, then by making friends etc. It's amazing how much information young kids give out. I would be happy to help you.
The chances are she'll be fine though. Instead of being in a huff, your husband should talk to her. She's obviously oblivious to what he's thinking (aren't they always) and it might spoil their relationship if he doesn't say something.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Difficult. I was a complete rebel in my teenage years and put my parents through hell. Times were different then of course but there were still the nutters out there. Mobiles of course weren't an issue and neither was blogging. However, isn't this just a learning curve? Don't we all learn by making mistakes first? It is perfectly understandable that your husband and you are not coping with it very well because you have had to come to terms with the fact that your daughter can make her own decisions and can live inappropriately just like everyone else on the planet. You are a great mum. You love your kids, you would do anything for them. What you can't do for them is live their lives and make their mistakes.
I hope it all works out for you. Take care and keep us posted as to what happens.

Crystal xx

Rachel said...

Your daughter is a teenager. You are not a bad mother. You have to bring up your child to be aware of risks but allow them to make the decision to avoid them on their own. It would, I think, be far worse to wrap them in cotton wool until they are adults.

She obviously thought she was doing nothing wrong as she sent the texts from your phone and did not delete them before handing the phone back to you. I expect when confronted, which must happen, as she will need to know that such conversations are not a good idea to say the least, she will be upset. embarrassed and annoyed at your invasion of her privacy. You will have to admit that you read her texts but that you did it for her greater welfare. It will not be an easy conversation.

Hopefully she will see past the hurt and embarrassment and learn from it and so will your other children to whom you can explain it in less personal terms. Good luck.

Potty Mummy said...

Good grief Frog. What an absolute nightmare, although at least you caught it before it developed any further. Seems to me your daughter has been extremely niaive (NO idea how to spell that correctly, by the way) in the way that only teenagers can be. She's had a lucky escape, not because this bloke sounds like a danger, he probably isn't, but because he so easily could have been.

Personally, don't know what I would do. But I might make enquiries at the local shelter to see if they had anything to offer in terms of scare stories without glamorising it.

It's a tightrope, Frog. No-one told us this sort of stuff when we stopped taking the pill, did they? (And would we have listened if they had?)

Elsie Button said...

oh frog, what a horrible thing to go through - it must have made you feel sickened to the core. Teenagers do silly things in their naivity/innocence, but i am sure she is not stupid, and would have had the good sense not to take things any further than a few texts. I was a naughty teenager, and might have done something like this in a rebellious kind of way, but would NEVER have actually done anything that would put me in any real danger. It must have been a horrible thing to read/witness and i too would have felt absolutey awful/sick about it, but she has wonderful parents, who have shown her what's right and wrong and when it comes down to it she would, i am sure, do the right thing. Poor you though. Hope you are ok.

Jonny's Mommy said...

Hang in there...I think there is a difference between blogging and txt'ing someone back and forth -- in the blogging world you can choose to accept people's comments and yes, you put yourself out there, but usually, unless a person is interested in what your blogging about they're not going to pay it much mind. It can be dangerous, but we can't live in fear and not reach out to other people. As for your daughter, she probably thinks she's having fun and hasn't really thought about how serious it could be. Sometimes kids just want to do something "crazy" not really thinking what it could really mean. This will hopefully be a wake up call to her.

elizabethm said...

It is terrifying to have teenagers isn't it? I wasn't aware at the time of how terrified I was until I felt the relief that accompanied them having got through unscathed to their twenties.
I don't think you should "confront" her but I do think you should talk to her. Maybe you need to be calmer before you do. If it were me, I would apologise for the invasion of privacy (which teenagers have a big big thing about) - maybe it was accidental or whatever. I would apologise for what an awful world it can be too. Most people are fine, this guy might have been fine, you don't want her to feel the world is a pit, but sadly there is danger and threat and menace and she laid herself open to it. She does need to understand something of that. If you all have a cry at the end (hers should be longer than yours I think) that is probably about right.
God, isn't this hard? She has been silly though not bad, and you love her. I'm sure you will all be fine once you have talked about it.
Best of luck.

Retiredandcrazy said...

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Frog in the Field said...

Thanks, really, It's not been easy to write about and come back to. I've thought about deleting this post but decided to leave it, hopefully it'll help prevent someone else having a 'moment' too.
Daughter has been spoken to(no yelling), lectured, threatened with severe beatings (not really)and no school holiday in the summer to Greece if she tells lies or does anything remotely as stupid as this again.
The phone has been confiscated and will be replaced with a pay as you go, in time. No going on the school bus, Dad is taking her to the door and collecting her. She now realises the implications and awful trouble she could have caused and has said sorry.
She's been so bloody stupid, unbelievably so.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I wanted to comment on this on Friday but my coffee-soaked keyboard didn't want to know. It sounds so worrying, it must have been awful to find those texts. I have to say that I could well have sent texts like that when I was a teenager, the real world doesn't really seem real in your early teens.
I think it's part of the Mum's job description to worry, but you can't blame yourself. Hopefully this will be enough of a scare to tip her into the 'overly cautious' camp. Fingers crossed xxx

GoneBackSouth said...

I've just been remembering on my own blog tonight how bored I was in my teens. I do sympathise with her, as she probably thought this was completely harmless, and I worry about how easy it is nowadays for strangers to tap into young hearts longing for a spark of excitement. I wish you luck, but don't worry, she's probably learnt her lesson!