Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone! - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

It's been a while since I've posted. Last time I was here I had caught my husband in and EA possible PA. We've since divorced. We did an in home separation for almost a year while he said he was looking for a place to rent. I finally decided to move out of the family home after months of waiting for him to leave. The tension in the house was palpable and it wasn't good for any of us. Also, wehad been sleeping in different rooms for a few years prior and I felt bad about the kids seeing this example of marriage. So, as usual, I took action and moved in July 2016.

A few months prior to actually moving, I had developed a close relationship with an old co-worker. We saw each other ocassionally for lunch but mainly texted or emailed.

My 11 year old daughter saw me texting him one day and decided to watch me enter my password and later use it to get into my phone and read our text messages. I found out later when she asked me about the messages. I was intially very sensitive to her concern because of the upcoming move (which she was aware of) and changes in our family. I tried to explain that while her dad and I lived in the same home, we were no longer a couple and that this person was not my boyfriend but someone I liked talking to.

Now, almost 9 months later, our relationship has progressed. We are seeing each other exclusively but only during the times when my kids are with their dad. Usually two days a week. On occasion he has come over while the kids are here, and twice brought dinner. The visits are short and we do not show any affection in front of the kids. My 11 year old will not speak to him and has mostly stayed in her room the few times he's been here. My 14 year old daughter is a bit more accepting but doesn't love the idea of me having anyone in my life.

Over the last few months she has continued to use every opportunity she can to snoop in my phone or review text messages on my iwatch. She once even took my watch when she went to visit her dad, I think in an attempt to keep me from communicating with my friend. I have told her that it is an invasion of my privacy and that she is not to read my messages without permission. I have taken away her own phone as a punishment but it doesn't seem to phase her.

I'm looking for advice on how to handle this. Mainly her repeated invasion of my privacy. It is my feeling that she doesn't believe I should have a life separate from her and that she should know where i am and what I'm doing at all times. She says she doesn't like my friend, that he is ugly and nerdy and she just doesn't want him around. Usually, if she is staying with her dad and I'm spending time with my friend, I don't tell her about it. I've reassured her many times that she and her sister come first.

I've tried to be understanding in the past because I realize that the divorce, and the changes that come with it, are hard for the kids. But I feel like perhaps I'm not being harsh enough because I almost feel like she wants to keep tabs on me and try to control what I'm doing.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:18 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

Who is the parent - you or her??

Tell her in no uncertain terms that if she does it again, she will be PUNISHED. Obviously taking her own phone away isn't punitive enough so you're going to have to come up with something she really hates. And then DO it. She's just becoming a teenager - if you don't nip this in the bud now and step up as the parent, she's gonna run ALL OVER you in a couple more years. Stop trying to be her friend and nice to her - that never works. You have to be the mean mom.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:36 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

Ooooh child the kind of licking I would have gotten if I had ever tried this. Would not have even fathomed doing this to begin with.

@Sparrow77 clearly the phone punishment isn't working. There needs to be harsher consequences for her actions. Also, what is her father's response to this? He should be working together with you on this, especially that instance where she took the phone when heading off to his house. I hope he's not encouraging this behavior in a subtle way. Like getting her to spy on your interactions with the man you're dating or suggesting bad stuff about him or you in general for dating.

Also, did you or her father allow her certain privacies and then invade them later? I'm trying to figure if maybe the repeated invasion despite your corrections is an example she learned at home...
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:41 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

I agree with Hope. But there is another issue here as well.

It is really way too early for you to be brining another man around your children. They are having a hard time adjusting for good reason. The last thing they need is to have to deal with a man in your life.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 04:00 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

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I agree with Hope. But there is another issue here as well.

It is really way too early for you to be brining another man around your children. They are having a hard time adjusting for good reason. The last thing they need is to have to deal with a man in your life.
This. You weren't even legally separated before getting involved with this man, which makes it technically an affair. I don't mean to be harsh, but your daughter is enforcing stronger boundaries than you did. I understand you were in an unhappy marriage, but even a legal separation does not mean you were divorced and single. Many marriages turn around after the wake-up call of separation. In fact, Dr. Harley (His Needs, Her Needs) recommends separation for women who are neglected by their husbands, or whose husbands have anger problems. In no way does that mean it's time to date others.

I'd listen to your daughter's complaints and apologize to her for betraying your then-husband, as well as her.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 04:10 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

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I'd listen to your daughter's complaints and apologize to her for betraying your then-husband, as well as her.
I disagree with this. It's none of the daughters business really and if she apologizes to them then it gives them power over the situation. The OP is the parent and doesn't owe them an apology.

OP-I certainly hope that you changed the password on your phone and that you're now more protective of your watch. You'll have to be on guard for the prying eyes & sticky fingers. Also, it is my opinion that you're introducing them to the guy a little too early. Back off on that. You do what you want to do when they're not around, but don't bring him to the house when they're home. Full disclosure-I don't have kids.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 04:21 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

@Sparrow77, how long have you been divorced? I noticed the last time you posted was back in 2014, and in MC. I'm not going to say that 9 months is too soon to introduce your SO to your kids because that depends on the couple, IMO. My brother-in-law was a friend of my sister's for a few years before she divorced her husband over his infidelity, and he was around regularly. And I don't see anything wrong with having dinner a couple times either... JMO. But, I do understand why some don't agree with my opinion on that matter.

But, I do agree with what Hope said. YOU are the parent... you are not her friend. Your daughter is having a difficult time adjusting because, first, you are being a friend to her. Second, she has gotten confused because of all the living arrangement changes. You slept in separate rooms for years, and then divorced. From the timeline, it seems you were divorced, but still living together? No wonder she's confused!

You have been seeing him, exclusively, pretty much since you moved out of the house. How do you think she sees this? For that matter, your older daughter may see it similarly. No, it does not excuse her behavior, but it does give you a look at what she is thinking.

As for the password and devices... For goodness sake, change your passwords and make sure she can't see them! And don't allow her access to YOUR devices.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 04:33 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

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I disagree with this. It's none of the daughters business really and if she apologizes to them then it gives them power over the situation. The OP is the parent and doesn't owe them an apology.
A child's family IS their business. Her mom was living in the same home with her dad and seeing another man. Her daughter has every right to be concerned and upset, as she obviously is.

I see we are going to have to agree to disagree here but on behalf of the OP's daughter, I do feel the need to say something. A child's family and their parents' marriage is 100% their business and can affect everything from their personal life to their ability to succeed in school.

And many children have felt the need to take sides when one parent is cheating on the other.

OP, I recommend you talk to your child. She may be feeling very insecure about her family life and need you to explain things to her, and I still stand by the fact that you might want to seriously consider her feelings about finding out that you were involved with another man before divorcing her father. *Also, you might want to get the kids into family counseling to deal with what happened.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 04:57 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

I'm sorry, but I disagree with the notion that the OP should apologize to her child, or children, for talking to a coworker before moving out of the house. They were separated (you can be separated and still live under the same roof, in some states). Many people do date while separated. But, the way she wrote the original post, he was dragging his heels on moving out, so she did it. The timeline is unclear, but if they actually were divorced already, when she moved out, then her dating the other guy makes no difference anyway. But, considering her ex-husband's infidelity started this whole thing, I, personally, don't see how you can even think she SHOULD apologize for starting to talk someone just before moving out.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:03 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

The daughter needs some care and attention, but NOT about the phone issue. That has GOT to be a line in the sand. OP has been trying to be her friend because she feels guilty about 'breaking up the family'. BAD idea. The children need a strong mother, not one trying to please everyone and int he process pleasing no one and putting herself through the wringer.

The kids need counseling. From someone who deals with marital break ups. At the very least they should be in a group like this one

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:10 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

OP, does your daughter know about your husband's infidelity? If not, I'd want to discuss it with her with a good therapist.

I see a child who is very upset with the turmoil in her family life and is likely very confused about what went on and why. I do think kids need the facts (in an age-appropriate way). It seems like she's trying to intervene to keep her mom from having a relationship with this guy, and she needs to understand why her mom was in contact with him to begin with while still living with her father.

I understand some couples do in-house separation, but they are still legally married, and the whole situation is confusing for adults, let alone children.

I don't think harsher consequences are what's needed here. Set boundaries, yes, but after you've addressed your daughter's very real issues about her family life and security exploding.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:19 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

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I don't think harsher consequences are what's needed here. Set boundaries, yes, but after you've addressed your daughter's very real issues about her family life and security exploding.
I totally disagree. Kids issues are NEVER fully addressed. A parent has to start from a position of power. As the parent you have GOT to be respected by your kids, or you'll lose them. Being their friend and letting them get away with crap because they've had a rough go of it are NOT doing them any favors.

The trick is to do it assertively, not aggressively. You don't have to whack them over the head with a 2x4. You have to gently but FIRMLY let them know what's what. The best way to do this is to lay out the consequences and then FOLLOW THROUGH on them. Nothing loses kids respect more than telling them something's going to happen and then not making sure it does. So for the phone, the daughter must NOT be allowed to think her mom is going to let her get away with stealing it and snooping. It HAS to be non negotiable. And by implementing a consequence that the daughter doesn't care about (taking her phone away) mom HAS made it negotiable. Rather than saying "If you don't stop snooping you're going to lose your phone" you have to say "Snooping on my phone is NOT allowed. What kind of punishment am I going to have to dish out for you to get that?"

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:40 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

she nine yrs old. wondering whats up. mom moved out what do you think she thinking? usually dad moves out. now mom got a boyfriend fairly quick! and dad probably has been wondering the same thing maybe aloud where small ears could hear accidently on purpose.

have a talk and keep your phone locked down better.

parent or not if you want respect you have to earn it. Just because your a parent doesn't mean you get unconditional respect from your children.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 06:10 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

I absolutely agree that neither of your daughters should be reading your phone messages/emails etc. You need to change the password and/or keep them on your person so they can't get access to them. You need to set a clear boundary and then enforce a consequence if that boundary is breached.

I also agree that your poor little girl is so terribly confused, and grieving the loss of her family. It's very confusing for children when their parents separate, let alone continue to live together. Kids don't understand this, I don't either quite frankly.

Kids aren't stupid either - you did your girl a disservice when you told her your boyfriend was just a friend...she knows there was more than friendship going on. I don't know why parents do that. I mean, I do know why but it rarely works, as I said, kids aren't stupid - they know.

You moved out of the family home only 9 months ago. You may be ready to move on, you probably have been for some time and I understand that but your children are not. In their eyes, the separation began when you moved out, not a year prior when mum and dad were still living in the same house. Give them some time to catch up. See your boyfriend when the girls are with their father and don't have him come to the house until they've adjusted to the situation.

Divorce is incredibly traumatic for children, their worlds are torn apart. They need time to come to terms with the enormous loss of their intact family.

Last edited by frusdil; 03-16-2017 at 05:50 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 07:14 PM
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Re: Need parenting advice. Daughter snooping in my phone!

She punishes you because it makes you scramble and puts her in control. Otherwise, you are in control and she doesn't like who you spend your time with, because it's not what she agrees with. Even negative attention is still attention.

Unfortunately, she doesn't know that it doesn't matter what she wants. There's what she wants, then there's what IS. The world does not cater to her.

Therapy will help her to learn what she can and cannot control. There's a lot of anger and resentment aimed at you. It's misguided. Don't expect this will just blow over. It will take Hope's recommendations mixed with therapy. Your daughter has zero respect for you.

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