Our 13 year old daughter just found out, advice please
We have been in a poly relationship for about six months with a young man.
My daughter got hold of my wifes cell phone and was snooping in her text messages and found a new message about our next scheduled encounter.
Well as you can imagine there was crying and screaming and accusations.
We sat down with her and tried our best to allqy her fears that we are going to get divorced, that something is "wrong" with us, etc.
We explained that there are many kinds if love and relationships, that we are happy, that we love each other very much, that nothing is going to change in her life, etc.
My wife is worried that we have permanantly scarred our daughter, we think we have done and said the right things, but would welcome any advice from people who have been through this situation.
Do you have any other children?
I had thought I had a similar situation noticing my daughters open hostility but then it spiraled into something way worse with the aid of graphic emails and photo's.
The "professionals " told me that because of the age ...and the development there own sexual identity that there is a list of things going on...and now this new list which could be in conflict to what she thought her reality is/was.....people she thought she knew one way are presented in a radical incomprehensible way.
My daughter has changed ...she's lost (rejected) her mother. Groups of boy come by to hang out and do stuff but she has no interest in boys ...one on one ...even when all her friends do and some of the boy are actively trying to develop something.
It may take some time for her to process all of this ...I keep a close eye on her. Look for behavioral changes ....grades, appearance, friends change,
Yeah, it's not the best age to find out that one's parents are 1) sexual, and 2) unconventionally sexual.
That said, I do think that telling her there are more many ways to be married (maybe make an analogy to same sex marriage if that seems right to you) and many ways to be in a relationship. You've already started doing this and I would continue talking about those points. I would suggest emphasizing that all involved have explicitly consented and that everyone knows about everyone else. This will be good for her to know right now about her parents but I also think that consent and openness/honesty should be emphasized to all young teenagers. You should still be her role model in how to be in relationships.
I would also emphasize that this will not change her life - just her perception of her parents. You two are not divorcing, moving in with your other partners or anything like that. Her life will not change. And, as her life doesn't change and she sees that you and your spouse are really still the same in daily life, she will likely relax some. Or not. 13 year olds can be so hard core!
She may have lots of questions and not know how to ask. Or she might want to know inappropriate things, like what you 'do' with your other partners, etc. You and your spouse will have to think about how to handle her appropriate questions, encourage her to ask questions in general, and how to tell her gently to back off when/if she asks something too private. Talk about that now between the two of you.
You will also need to think about how you want her to tell, or not tell, other people. Some people that age are completely incapable of keeping a secret or being discreet in general. So you will have to figure out how to handle telling her what she can disclose and what is inappropriate for others. I would NOT treat it as a secret, never to be told to anyone, ever. That way it appears you are shamed by what you and your spouse are doing with your other partners. And no one can sniff out shame and hyprocrisy like young teenages. But she may well get the idea that what you two do, and with who, is your business, and no one else's, and so does not need to broadcast to all. Again, the gay analogy - no shame to be gay but the only person who can decide to come out of the closet is the person in the closet and that it is wrong to 'out' someone against their will - may be helpful.
Finally, have you dealt with the snooping issue? A very human thing to do but also totally unacceptable breach of your privacy, in my opinion.
I bet it"s hard and scarcy for the daughter too
When we decicded to be Ploy and our Wife moved in with us, we sat down and talk with our 13yoa daughter. She expressed fears about being shunned by others and her status in the family. within 6 months it was very different. She had another mom to get clothes from and do all things young ladies like to do.
Our then 9yoa, boy have cared less. He liked having another mom to do all the mom things do for young boys.
Just being open and even getting some family counsoling would help I bet.
One of my best friends in high school accidentally found out that her parents were swingers when she was 15. She also found their "toy chest". She was seriously creeped out but grew up just fine and has a great relationship with them.
How true about finding your parents toys, I was slightly shocked at 16yoa myself.
Mu daughter at 16yoa has a fear of the penis, which is good from my father point of view:) she has even wrote papers at her high school about poly and it's pro's and con's. She has become a very mature smart young lady.
Now the son is almost 12yoa, he thinks all families should have two moms.
As I have said open communication in every relationship whether its with your kids, family or someone else. Just have to use alnauge that is proper for age and status within family.
I love my family and even the kids support our choice for two live in moms. Even the Moms love it:)
I think it would've been easier to find out my parents were non-monogamous than just "Oh, yeah, your father's cheating." I would've trusted him more if my mother had given him permission.
I was a weird kid.
Thank you all so much!
Thank you for so many good talking points.
I think she is creeped out by two things.
1) That we are sexual beings.
2) That we are sexual beings with other people, especially her mom.
Her mother made it very clear to her that she is not ashamed of her lifestyle and that as an adult who is 46 years old and happily married that she can make decisions that are absolutely not appropriate for a young teenager.
We will continue to press the issue that her life is not going to change, but I think it may be a time will tell thing for her.
The snooping I have to deal with, I just did not want to mix it to seem like you caught us so we are punishing you!
Will write more later.
True, being open and honest with children is the best approach, they can smell a smoke screen like adults and their parents shouldn't lie to their kids that is what damages those relationships as well.
We don't lie to our kids and we tell them in terms they will understand and let them ask any questions they want and we answer it, even if it is uncomfortable for us to answer. This builds our level of trust.
But what works for us might not work for anyone else.
How true about the sex thoughts of our children like us having the thoughts of our parents!
Snooping thing is something that has to be fixed, I did forget about that. Our kids have had those discussions about adult stuff/business and their place in our house. Us adults are higher on the food chain and they do have to do as we say.
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