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When To Listen not Lecture

Updated on March 7, 2012

Parenting is tough. There are ups, downs, tears, tantrums, joys, hugs, runny noses, up all the night with fevers, graduations, proms, art projects, Sunday night homework marathons, bullying, dirty rooms, parent teacher conferences, etc. Each year you think, "If I can get thru this, next year will be a piece of cake". It never is, but thank goodness we live day by day and every day is a fresh new start so to speak!

When kids are young, the problems are just as big as when they are teens. I was always at a loss, frantically going backwards just to keep up! Parenting does not come with a training manual. As they get older, and your kids get more independent and start thinking for themselves, then comes a whole new set of problems. It's exhausting. LOL.

My teen daughter has always been a champion for the underdog. When she was in elementary school, her best friend was allergic to peaches and peanut butter, therefore my daughter stopped eating both altogether at home and at school. We read so many food labels that year it was ridiculous! Another time she saw another girl take someone's lunch money and went right up to this bully and demanded the money be given back. My kid gets along with smaller children and adults much better than her peers and always has, so what school friends she has I try to encourage as much as I can. There is a friend in this group that has me concerned.

For the last year my daughter has been telling me things that I don't always want to hear. Her friend takes naked pictures of herself and texts them to ?,her friend has girlfriends and boyfriends, and that her friend thinks she might be a vampire.

I have listened to the above as an impartial judge and tried to go over our values as a family after each discussion. My daughter doesn't think some of these things are "bad" but that some aren't age appropriate. However, lately her friends actions are really concerning me. My daughter told me that her friend cuts herself. I listened and asked if she has told her parents, my daughter says that no one knows...the next day, not knowing what I should do, I called the school counselor. He advised he would talk to this friend of my daughter's. I put this conversation out of my head since I thought it would surely be handled properly by experts.

But her cutting got worse, and then she showed my daughter the marks on her body. (this REALLY freaked me out) I asked my daughter what she thought should happen. She said "mom I will take care of this, don't worry" The next day, my daughter came home and said that she had taken her friend to the school counselor and stood there until her friend confessed the cutting was still going on. I congratulated her on being a good friend but she was still worried that everyone would call her a tattletale. I asked her if that would bother her, she said no because she did the right thing. (somehow I have managed to raise a good egg)

Last night was the final straw for me, my daughter came home and we were joking around about us needing to lose weight so we can fit into cute clothes (we both need to work on our self esteem) and she said not so and so because she's anorexic. I said What? My daughter looked startled and said "nothing" I asked her what she had said again, she finally said it again and told me that she wasn't supposed to say anything.

I had to sit down. I have no idea what to do. I don't know this kids parent's, and obviously telling the school isn't working. My daughter is afraid she got her friend in trouble, I told her that her friend needs serious medical help before someone gets hurt. I need to do something soon, but I'm not sure what.

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