Aug 26, 2014

My Daughter Has Texted a Nude Photo

Category: Teens
Posted By: Jamie
Question: I need a little help with my 13 year old daughter. She has been diagnosed with ADHD, mild Asperger's syndrome, and anxiety issues. She was always a loner in elementary school. For years she was in counseling and did a lot of work with social skills.

Last year she finally made a few friends. Even though she was never included in most things the girls did she treasured them. I always knew she was the last one they call for anything. A last resort friend I guess. So I tried to give her advice on trust and that she should be kind of cautious telling friends certain things.

She has never had a boyfriend, she had a crush on a boy that was a year older than her. He has told her in every way possible he was not interested. I even blocked her from certain social sites because I did not want her harassing him. (She gets very needy to friends and constantly text and messages them even when they say they are busy).

Last week she came to me and told me the boy kept asking her to send him a picture of her privates, and she admitted to doing it. She was highly upset because she knew it was wrong. We had a long talk about it and she was grounded. I asked her not to tell anyone of her friends at school about it. However, she told one of the girls that she considered her best friend. Tonight she tried to contact the girl through messages and the girl told her to leave her alone that she was not her friend and never was. She was just using her. Then she went on to say she is nasty for sending nudes. My daughter is now heart broken and having anxiety about having to go to school and face this girl because she may tell other people.

I do not know how to help her. She knows she can come to me with anything, she always has. But this time I am lost. With the Aspergers and anxiety I am scared they push her into a depression. What can I do to help my daughter? I know all she wanted was to fit in and to be liked. She made a mistake. And she has told me before that the girls have done similar things.

 

Answer:

Dear Jamie,

I am so sorry about the situation with your daughter, it sounds so distressing for you both.

Your daughter does sound as if she is really struggling with social relationships, understanding social cues, etc.  Added to this, her anxiety seems to be making her cling to peers at school in a way that only makes things worse, not better.  Having a triple diagnosis of Asperger’s, ADHD and Anxiety will really make it difficult for her to manage situations well… as I am sure you are already aware.

In the short term, I think that you and she will just have to brave this one out.  It is such an awful situation for her to have to manage, but you could also use it as a learning curve to help her understand some of the things that went on.  She will be helped to see the extremity of her behavior by the reaction of others in her class.  Although their reaction is cruel and unkind, she might be able to see how unacceptable her actions were seen to be.  This is something that would be really helpful for her to understand early on as she is hugely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by others at present.  Her need for friends, social interaction and attention, means that she would easily be used and manipulated by boys in the same way as you have currently noticed happening with girls in her class.

You can also help her to use it to find the inner strength to face really difficult situations and know that she can manage.  It sounds like you already have done, but I would also recommend using the situation to talk about friendships, trust, etc.  Although the situation is just awful for you both, some of the biggest learning moments in our life often are and it would be a pity to waste this one.

In the longer-term I really would recommend that she receive therapy with someone who is trained as a child psychotherapist, preferably with a leaning toward psychoanalytic therapy.  You have mentioned that she has had counseling and work on social-skills but it doesn’t seem to me that this is the right way around to tackle things.  Your daughter first needs to understand her behavior and what drives her to act as she does with peers, only then can she be helped to behave differently.  It also really sounds as if she could do with a second person to speak to and that this might stop her talking so openly to untrustworthy girls in her class.  I would recommend finding a woman, someone very well trained and professional but still quite young that your daughter could feel she could relate to.  Hopefully they could also offer you some support and advice at times when things are very difficult to manage.  As you are in the US I am afraid I wouldn’t know anyone to recommend but I do recommend that you look for someone who will help your daughter understand her emotions and feelings rather than focusing on a behavioral or social skills approach.

I really wish you luck in managing things.

Very best wishes,

 

Ryan

 



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