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Old 03-14-2005, 07:17 AM   #1
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14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I don't know where to begin.

Saturday night, as I was putting something away in the computer desk drawer, I spotted a notebook. The temptation was too great - I read my daughter's diary. It had maybe 10 or so entries.

My daughter has always been well behaved, good grades etc etc. She's smart, sensitive, and attractive. She has always listened to direction and caused us little trouble.

I am fairly strict but not suffocating. My husband is somewhat difficult. He's not very sensitive to people's feeling sometimes and has a hard time in the past few years relating to our daughter. I do think lately he has been better with her - she even said so. He's been talking to her much more. He is a responsible man though and spends a lot of time with us. We have two boys with ADHD so our home has been stressful. They require so much energy. I am a loving mother but I am not perfect. I especially get stressed out with the boys. I try to spend quality time with my daughter. I take her shopping, talk to her, drive her to activities, and share with her some of my youth experiences to help her. I go to Church and she is active in the youth group/sunday school. It's a fantastic program that really works on living a wholesome life including abstinence. We casually drink in our home but not to excess. We do love her and tell her so.

I don't even know how to say what I read. I'll just say it.
Her diary indicated three things. One, when she babysat her brothers for us, she had a boy over and did some heavy petting. Two, another time, she mixed a vodka and lemonade while she was babysitting. Three, she's "made out" with 2 of her girlfriends. This happened right in my own home during her birthday sleepover.

She said in her diary that she wasn't bisexual, that it was just fun. She also said that she knew that drinking the vodka lemonade was wrong. I believe she regrets the incident with the boy as she said in the diary that she didn't want anyone to know.

We live in a beautiful town, have a beautiful home. Unfortunately, this affluent town has a lot of teen drinking/drugs. I talk to her all the time about not drinking, doing drugs, respecting herself etc etc etc.

She has been very emotional lately so I guess i now know why.

It just so happens that she is away on a church trip so my husband and I have a chance to think this though before talking to her.

(1) We plan to remove her access to these girls - cell phone/computer.

(2) There will be no more parties/sleepovers and our liquor will be locked up.

(3) Her only outside activites will be church youth group and family.

(3) Get her a therapist -immediately. I told my husband that this will probably
include family therapy.
(4) We are thinking of sending her to a private high school.

How do I tell her I read her diary? I NEVER snoop in her room or anything.

Do we tell the other girls parents about the making out? I hesitate on this as I know how these girls are going to be angry with her at school. I feel she is already tormented and I don't want her to go into depression.

I know that this child is looking for something and that she's not "bad" person. I really think she's a good person. She is considerate and sensitive towards others.

Our children today are so sexualized. They are bombarded with images. I have tried to teach her to be wholesome, as I am wholesome, but it obviously hasn't worked. I guess it doesn't matter how it happened, but rather, how to help her now.

I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

Last edited by DawnP; 03-14-2005 at 07:30 AM.

 
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Old 03-14-2005, 07:55 AM   #2
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

DawnP, I'd like to encourage you to wait a couple of days before you implement the sanctions. Personally, I think they are a bit harsh.

It seems to me that what your daughter did was experiment a little bit. I don't think that her experimentation was unusual for a 14 year old. I would try to NOT be as alarmed as you are. I don't think she did anything earth-shattering.

I don't know that I would tell her that I read her diary. I would do 4 things:
1) lock up the alcohol
2) not invite the girlfriends for a sleep-over again nor allow them in the house when you aren't home (but then, I have a "no friends over with no adult home" policy anyway)
3) remind her that she is to have no guests when she is babysitting (see policy above). Tell the boys to call you if she does.
4) try to get her to talk to you, but don't pry. Just let her know that you are there if she wants to talk. Maybe take her to lunch, just the 2 of you.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I have to say I agree. If you come down this harshly... in my opinion you are only going to push her away. And will only make her go behind your back and rebel. I would try and encourage her to talk and confide in you. She hasn't gone over the top in her experementation and if she wrote that she regrets the alcohol and the boy incedent it sounds like she has a pretty good head on her shoulders. I think a no parent, no friends over rule is a great idea. But I do think you need to tread carefully here and try not to over-react. good luck

 
Old 03-14-2005, 12:01 PM   #4
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

This is a tough situation for me.... my mom used to read my notes, email, diary, etc ALL the time. All it did when she confronted me with issues was make me hide my activities even more. I felt violated and mistrusted and it really damaged our communication lines. But I'm a parent now, and can see things from the "other side" too, so it's hard to say where I stand on this.

I would crack down on having friends over with noone home, and lock up the liquor. (I experimented with a tiny bit of alcohol at that age. I don't see it as that big of a deal) What you don't want to do with the alcohol is make such a huge deal out of it that it adds mystery and excitement to drinking, or she'll go nuts drinking the minute she has freedom outside your house. (Like in college. Take it from me!!) I too was raised in a Christian regular churchgoing family, and am raising that type of family myself, but in the teen years, pushing them too hard and expecting too much can make them rebel even more. I would no doubt begin to really open up communication lines, remind her of morals and how important it is to save herself because she's special. Alot of girls begin making out at that age out of a low self image (just comes with the age!) and trying to find acceptance. It doesn't take long to figure out how to make a guy like you, and you feel really "cool" for a while. And if she regrets it, maybe she's learned her lesson! I don't know that that incident requires punishment. Sometimes shame and guilt is punishement enough. As far as the babysitting issue, I don't know what to tell you, because that was a cardinal rule in my code of ethics at that age that I never broke. I would never have had someone over while I was babysitting. But if you "casually" bring up not having people over, I think she will be suspicious and know you have probably read her diary. (My mom tried that one a few times too, and I always knew there was something more to it.)

But if she suspects you have been reading her diary, she's very likely to become more subversive and more rebellious. It's a delicate situation, because you don't want to condone her behavior. Maybe you should just watch her extra closely from now on, and see if she's learned from her own mistakes. At her age, nothing short of restricting her to your supervision 100% of the time is going to guarantee she doesn't experiment, and even then kids have ways sneaking at school, etc.

We are planning on sending our kids to a private school anyway because I despise the type of sex education they are exposed to in public schools. I want to be 100% responsible for teaching my kids about sex. The only thing I want the school to handle is the physiology of reproduction.

Good luck and God Bless!
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Old 03-14-2005, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I'll agree that you're over-reacting. I remember when I was 14 (I'm 56 now) my best friend and I practised kissing. I've been heterosexual all of my life. Also when I was 14 I went to a party in a friend's basement and I "made out" with a boy. Basically, it was all part of trying to find out what the big deal was and how a kiss actually feels.

Please don't tell her that you have read her diary. My father read mine when I was a teenager and I still have not forgiven him.

Do lock up the alcohol. That's just a normal thing to do. And remind her that the rules are that no-one comes over when you're not at home.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 12:15 PM   #6
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I agree with the other posters. You are being WAY to harsh about this. You have already said your household is strict, and if you don't give her some room to grow, she will do these things anyway - Totally behind your back and probably worse.
I realize it's harder on kids today than it was when we were kids. Alot more choices and society is so different than it used to be. But you have to teach your kids right and wrong, and pray they know the difference.
Your daughter is not the first 14 yr old to try alcohol or have a boy over or kiss someone of the same sex. She is 14 and learning about life. Freaking out on her and sending her to boarding school is not the answer. The more you forbid her or restrict her activities, the more rebelous she will become. It's like putting a jar of cookies in front of her but forbidding her to have one.
You have to set boundries and make rules, but she doesn't sound like a bad kid. Alot of kids do things growing up that they hide from their parents. Lord knows I certainly did and I turned out just fine, because my parent's taught me the difference of right, wrong & illegal.
I would just observe her activities and keep your cool.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I really appreciate everyone's insight and help.

I am having a truly hard time relating to this as I never did most of the things she is doing. I agree that experimentation is normal and that it comes earlier than it did for me. (I'm 43)

I re-read her diary(I was shaking as I read it the first time) and I now know that she also skipped a class at school. She called me that day with this elaborate excuse as to why she wasn't in class and I believed her. She also had an entry about a day I took her to a friend's to do a homework project. As it turns out, there was a boy there that she unzipped his pants and "kissed him all over".

I feel also that she has manipulated me. Or dog was trying to lick her mouth the other day and she said to him "I don't want my first kiss to be from a dog". I thought to myself at the time "Oh, good, she hasn't had her first kiss". How stupid do I feel?

Also she told me recently that she is never going to drink alcohol.

There is also some sad poetry in the diary that she wrote about putting on a smile and faking it and about people staring at her.

I see a girl who feels bad about herself and is heading off a cliff. I think she sees this sex thing as a way to get attention/love from boys. I don't think she's learned any lesson. I think she's going to continue to do it. I am hoping that therapy might help.

Also, the incident with the other girls was more than once. She had planned to go with one of those girls to camp this summer. I can't see letting her go.

I really don't want to tell her I read her diary because I don't want it to affect our future relationship but I don't know how to correct this or help her without telling her. Perhaps we will just give her more limitations. I can't just set her free to be with boy after boy. These are just random boys not even boyfriends!! The next thing we know, she'll be pregnant. I just don't get this casual sex thing.

I know that she will just rebel if we choke her but I can't see that giving her freedom has worked. She needs to be repaired on the inside.

I am also really having a hard time with the lies and manipulation. I feel I can't believe anything she says.

This is so painful.

Dawn

 
Old 03-14-2005, 04:26 PM   #8
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

Hi Dawn,
I agree with the other posters, about being too harsh....

Welcome to the Teenage Years! It's ALL about THEM and the lies that they will tell - OMG, where do I begin...Your a good mother and your daughter IS GOOD....Your just trying to KEEP her good, but it's the OUTSIDE world that will damage her....Sure, you can send her to a private school - YA think that will stop her? Hello - kids in private school are NO better in public school..
Matter of fact - More goes on in Private School....Sorry

You can tuck that diary back where you found it and not say a word.
BUT at least YOU KNOW, then you can continue to read it - that's right, I would keep reading and snooping her room...Sorry again, but it's YOUR HOUSE, your room, and your kid....You wanna keep kids safe today - talk talk talk - and SPY...We don't have saints of kids anymore, we can try our hardest to keep them safe, give them direction, educate them, tell them what we DON'T want them to do, yada yada yada but it's still TOUGH and it sucks....It hurts and it's painful....But no matter what she's your kid....

When my son who is now 16 1/2 was arrested just before turning 16 without a drivers license - (he was two weeks shy of starting drivers ed)
at 3:30AM - I was so outraged that HE DID THIS TO ME - I was a basket case that MY SON was arrested - He knew better how could he do this..
BUT, as everyone told me...He's a boy, he's a teenager, yada yada yada
they do stupid things - I didn't want to accept that - but I tooked a good hard look at things, My son, my perfect baby - He does LIE, he has tried pot, he has had (protected) sex and he has tried beer, he has skipped school without my knowledge - I am not exusing anything he has done, he has been punished for things - as for trying dope and drinking a beer, NO -I did not punish him because HE TOLD me - then We spoke about it - I don't want him doing pot, drugs, or drinking, what mother does??? I keep talking to him, I listen to him - but DON'T always believe everything he tells me, I check his room, his emails, his backpack, I am a Snooper Mother and when I need to confront him - I do and I let him no I snooped..
Of course we agrue but they are not FIGHTS anymore, they are discussions and just when I think he's over stepping his boundries - I turn on the screaming MOTHER act

Talk with your daughter about the dangers of drugs, drinking, and sex. Ask her if she has any questions for you....and Don't ever stop asking her questions....Hope this helps...sorry so long...

 
Old 03-14-2005, 05:49 PM   #9
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlHarley


You can tuck that diary back where you found it and not say a word.
BUT at least YOU KNOW, then you can continue to read it - that's right, I would keep reading and snooping her room...Sorry again, but it's YOUR HOUSE, your room, and your kid....You wanna keep kids safe today - talk talk talk - and SPY...
I agree with that quote... I think the trick is (My DH's philosophy for the teen years and what his parents did to him, unbeknowst to him!) to make sure you don't blow your cover over things that aren't super important to you, because if you do, you will never get your hands on that diary again. LOL. That's where my mom went wrong. She was always confronting me about the smallest of issues, until I made sure she had NO access to my life and shut her out completely. (Not that I ever did anything in highschool that would be considered bad by todays standards.) Where my DH's parents spied on him for years, and found things like cigarettes, dirty mags, and evidence of him making out with girls and drinking a little... but they weren't about to blow their cover over these more minor typical teenage things. They were out to make sure they didn't find drugs or proof of illegal or dangerous behavior. He didn't know about any of that til just a few years ago, as a result, he was always careless about leaving things in his room where they could be found.

Am I making any sense here?

It's so hard when you want your children to become moral wholesome young adults, but there comes an age where you have to trust your parenting and allow the kids to make some decisions of their own. Some kids only learn the hard way. My mother tried to prevent me from making mistakes by being overly restrictive. All that did was cause me to move out as soon as I could and go nuts drinking and making out in college. Even so, keep faith in the morals you have instilled in her.

I was doing things that were contrary to everything I'd ever been tought by my parents and my church about 3 or 4 years ago. But you know what? I knew the whole time they were wrong and I learned alot from my mistakes. Some of them have left me scarred and regretful, but they also left a lasting impression and made me realize that my mother had always been right!! I turned out just fine because I was raised the right way. Have faith in your parenting and in God. Keep a very close eye on her activities, and hold on tight for the next few years!!!
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DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005

Last edited by siren1024; 03-14-2005 at 05:55 PM.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 06:26 PM   #10
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

Instead of telling her you read the diary, maybe you could tell her one of the other kids parents called to let you know what had happened. Your daughter sounds like a typical teenager that definetly needs some guidance, you just have to be careful about how you go about giving it or she may shut you out.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 08:10 PM   #11
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

The only thing I would be worried about is the part where she is inviting guys over when she is babysitting and of course the part where "she kissed" a guy all over when his pants were down. I suggest you just have a talk about sex, drugs, and alchohol with her. Your not saying you read your diary and your not punishing her but you are getting your message across to her. Remeber teenagers(me) do listen to our parents even though it doesn't sound like it. Now when it comes to kissing other girls you really shouldn't worry. Some find it to be fun while others like to be sexually active but don't have to worry about getting pregnant. Most girls do it because they are sexually attracted to them. I mean come on when has no adult female not ever have a fantasy of not having lesbian sex? I'm not saying what she is doing is right but what I am saying is that her lesbian activites are completely normal for her age.

Now of course when you do plan on talking to kids about drugs, alcohol, and sex you always talk about the dangers with them, one thing though to remember is not threaten her if she gets into a situation that involves sex, alcohol, and drugs. Like for example don't tell her that if she goes to party and there are drugs and alcohol there that you are going to "kill her" , tell her that if she ever gets into a situation like that and she wants out of the party to just call you and pick her up no questions asked. You wouldn't believe how many teenagers would make the right choice of not doing those things if they only had a exit out of the party so when they don't have an exit out of the party they just get pressured into doing those things they know they shouldn't be doing.

So basically ya just have a talk on where you stand on drugs, alcohol, and sex and if she goes to a party and she doesn't feel comfortable there and she wants to come home just tell her to call you and pick her up and you won't ask questions.

 
Old 03-15-2005, 06:56 AM   #12
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnP
I really appreciate everyone's insight and help.

I am having a truly hard time relating to this as I never did most of the things she is doing. I agree that experimentation is normal and that it comes earlier than it did for me. (I'm 43)

I re-read her diary(I was shaking as I read it the first time) and I now know that she also skipped a class at school. She called me that day with this elaborate excuse as to why she wasn't in class and I believed her. She also had an entry about a day I took her to a friend's to do a homework project. As it turns out, there was a boy there that she unzipped his pants and "kissed him all over".

I feel also that she has manipulated me. Or dog was trying to lick her mouth the other day and she said to him "I don't want my first kiss to be from a dog". I thought to myself at the time "Oh, good, she hasn't had her first kiss". How stupid do I feel?

Also she told me recently that she is never going to drink alcohol.

There is also some sad poetry in the diary that she wrote about putting on a smile and faking it and about people staring at her.

I see a girl who feels bad about herself and is heading off a cliff. I think she sees this sex thing as a way to get attention/love from boys. I don't think she's learned any lesson. I think she's going to continue to do it. I am hoping that therapy might help.

Also, the incident with the other girls was more than once. She had planned to go with one of those girls to camp this summer. I can't see letting her go.

I really don't want to tell her I read her diary because I don't want it to affect our future relationship but I don't know how to correct this or help her without telling her. Perhaps we will just give her more limitations. I can't just set her free to be with boy after boy. These are just random boys not even boyfriends!! The next thing we know, she'll be pregnant. I just don't get this casual sex thing.

I know that she will just rebel if we choke her but I can't see that giving her freedom has worked. She needs to be repaired on the inside.

I am also really having a hard time with the lies and manipulation. I feel I can't believe anything she says.

This is so painful.

Dawn
Dawn, I still don't think that you have a major crisis on your hands or that your daughter is heading off a cliff. I think you still have a good girl who is trying to find her way.

In both of your posts, the only thing your daughter has done that would worry me is the unzipping a boy's pants and kissing him all-over. Although, truthfully, we don't know exactly what she meant by that - it's possible that it's not as bad as it sounds.

In addition to the things that I suggested before, I would add that I'd make sure she knows that the "no friends over when the parents aren't home" rule also applies to her friends' houses. She has no business being in a house where there is no adult.

And, I wouldn't send her to camp with the girl in question. But, I wouldn't make "a big hairy deal" out of it.

By all means, if you feel strongly, seek counseling. But, I wouldn't present it as "we have a crisis and YOU have to go". I'd be more inclined to present it as a chance to improve communication skills in the family.

 
Old 03-15-2005, 09:31 AM   #13
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I agree with what the others said. I think you're going too far with the punishments. You said before she seemed sorry for what she had done? Correct?

I think getting a therapist and completely cutting off her social life, except church activities and family, and changing her schools is wayyy too much. She's 14, that is a very hard age for people. She's going through alot, there is alot of peer pressure. It sounds like for the most part your daughter is a good girl, and will pull through this. Almost everyone goes through a "rebellious" stage, or does something they aren't proud of. It's part of living and learning. When I was that age I did so many things I'm ashamed of, and by the time I was 15 or 16 I realized I didn't want to do those things, turned my life around. That included finding God, and realizing He's the only one I needed to copy.
I hope you really think about what you do, before you do it. If you get that strict with her, it could cause her to completely rebel against you, or really cause you problems for awhile.
She IS your daughter, however, so I hope that you do what you believe and know is best for her.
Blessings to you and your family-
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:52 PM   #14
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

I am so grateful for all of your replies and help! I am obviously very upset about all of this and it helps to read your posts.

You have helped me to see that maybe my expectations are too high for her. I am still just so shocked as I had NO IDEA.

She and have spoken recently about her seeing a therapist which I actually think she is open to. It was even mentioned in her diary. I really do think she is in turmoil. She, just last week, told me that she is very unhappy but refused to tell me why. She said that girls her age aren't supposed to talk to their mothers. I do think the therapist is a good idea. I told her it would be private and that I would not know what they spoke about. I am hoping it might help with her self esteem.

As far as grounding her from everything, I guess that's not a great idea. I still am not going to be comfortable with her going to these girls' homes at all, though. Study/project groups will have to be at our house - out in the open. If I don't tell her I read her diary, she's surely going to wonder why I've changed what I'm allowing her to do. Why do we tell her we've changed her mind about camp? I had already told her she could go. She will really be disappointed.

I also now have the problem of my husband. He wants to tell her we read the diary and give her the consequences. Another battle to fight. It will be difficult to convince him that we should not give her consequences for her actions. (we won't be able to give her consequences if we're not supposed to know)

For all of you that said to discuss the dangers of sex, drugs, alcohol. I have reminded her many times. She knows what she is doing is wrong. I will continue to tell her but I feel it has fallen on deaf ears.

I know that private school isn't any safer but thought it might give her a new start away from these girls that she's been friends with.

Index - I really appreciate that you think she's not falling off a cliff - that this is somewhat normal. It makes me feel better.

My sister has a 17 year old. She is top of her graduating class, a national merit scholar, good at everything she does, and is very wholesome as well. She respects herself and would never do what my daughter has done. It really makes it hard for me to know this. I feel like I've done a lousy job.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought I should be able to trust that my daughter was safe to go to a friend's house to study or whatever. Now I know that's not the case. How do I let her participate in activities knowing that she might repeat what she's already done?

Thank you again. You're all a blessing.

Dawn

 
Old 03-15-2005, 02:15 PM   #15
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Re: 14 year old daughter in trouble. I read her diary.

Here is my advice. Leave the noebook out on the desk. This way when she gets home she will notice it out. My mother did this to me all the time when I was a teen and I always panicked. "Did I leave this out?" "Did someone find it?" "Did my mom find it and leave it out to let me know she found it?" My mother would never say a word about it and I would always wonder. Let the guilt build up. She may slowly start to repair her lies, and maybe she will even come clean with you. Its about time someone talks about the birds, bees and birthcontrol with her. If she wants to experiment with sex then she just may do it no matter what she is taught. Therapy does sound like a good idea because putting on a smile to cover up the insides is never a good thing.
Goodluck
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