I have never posted a question on a site like this before and never thought I would but I need some parental advice so I will just jump in...
Christmas morning my ex-husband (who I get along horribly with but share custody of my 10 yr old daughter) called me irate that he had just found his digital camera hidden in B's (our daughter) room without battery's.. To his shock and horror when he did put batteries back in the camera there where naked pictures of my daughter's privates.. she had taken these pictures of herself by herself and when I questioned her about it of course she lied and said no she didn't take them, they aren't of her and that her friend who had spent the night had taken them of herself.. When we called the other little girl and ? her on x-mas morning she confirmed that B had showed them to her and that she didnít even know when B had taken them. I began to worry that someone had molested one of these two girls and questioned my daughter about it... she then saw this ? as a way out of being in trouble for the pictures and began to tell me the story of how a "deliveryman without a package" came to her dadís house (while her dad wasnít home, but her 13 year old step brother and his friend where home watching her and a friend) and that this man molested her. I was hysterical instantly!!! My mom (who B is also very close with) was also at my house at the time for the holidays and we began to ask her what happened ... as we began to get the HORRIBLE story of how this happened we began to realize she was lying to get out of trouble. She gave me details that will forever ring through my head..... brown eyes, blue jump suit that were all from direct ?'s from either myself of gramma... To try to wrap this up she went on and on about how this happened and we were waiting for her father (who would NEVER molest his daughter) to get to my house to call the police when I asked her to start from the door so I could understand how none of the other kids in the house heard the doorbell, this man, or this take place I realized it was ALL A LIE when she said ďI told him my dad wasnít home that he could wait in my roomĒ... As thankful as I am that it is all a lie I need to make her understand the severity of this accusation if it's not true... I have questioned and questioned her about has someone ever touched her or done anything inappropriate to her since this conversation to make sure that it was all a lie and not coming from some where else. I am now secure in saying that it was all a lie and that no one THANK GOD has ever touched her in an inappropriate matter and that she was just trying to use this to get out of trouble.. Looking back over it now I was asking leading ?'s and didn't realize but she still created a child molester!!!! I am looking for some advice on an appropriate punishment for this lie... so far:
1. returned all x-mas presents (so hard!!!)
2. enrolling her in counseling - I need to make sure nothing else in going on (cant hurt counseling is good for everyone)
3. taking her to church (shame on me she hasnít been yet)
4. grounded her for life!! we all know I can't keep her grounded for life but I am not sure how to handle this..
I can't believe she would tell a lie of this caliber to get herself out of trouble.. I am not really even angry about the pictures at this point children will be curious I would have never photographed myself but kids will be kids I guess.... I know everyone reaction is initially this little girl has been molested and no one knows about it yet, but in my heart I donít believe that to be true I do believe she was just trying to figure a way out of being in trouble for taking naked pictures of herself. Any advice on how to handle this????
You are absolutely right in the fact that kids do explore their bodies, they do experiment and they do lie to get out of trouble. BUT, at the same time, at 10 years old, your daughter is old enough to understand what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. She is certainly old enough to know that taking pictures of her privates is not acceptable, lying about her friend doing it is not acceptable, and making up a horrid story about being molested is not only unacceptable, but could lead to major consequences not only for her, but for anyone she chose to accuse of such a terrible thing.
I totally agree with the counselling. This way, if there are any emotional issues that need to be taken care of, they can be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, kids these days are exposed to so much sex, violence, drugs- you name it way too early. It's everywhere. You can't even buy a video game without checking to see the rating and content. Kids know way too much, way too early and it gives them a false sense of what may or may not be appropriate behaviour when it comes to sex, drugs and violence. It's all been sensationalized and romanticized as if this is a good thing. No matter what kind of guidance you give them at home, you never know what they are hearing and seeing at school and at other children's homes.
I know you are mortified as we all would be if we were dealing with this, but just stay vigilant in your efforts to monitor what your daughter sees on t.v., the music she is listening to and also the friends she spends time with. Talk to her about these things openly, but in a manner that is appropriate and understandable for a 10 year old.
Please keep us posted. We are all here for you sweetie. Good Luck with this!
Thank you for your advice and for taking the time to stop and give it... She has a counseling appointment next week and church on Sunday.. If only me and her dad could agree on how long to keep her actually 'grounded' .... thanks again
Being grounded for several weeks might be sufficient. It depends on how much of a consequence your daughter perceives it as; also, there may be other issues involved and you don't want to make more problems than needed. This might be a way of your daughter getting attention, punishing you or her dad, proving to you or the dad that she is a bad girl....could be any number of motivations involved. Because this it sounds like this is the first episode of this nature, a good solid open minded open hearted talk is called for; that might be enough for her to get it that this is very serious stuff and it cannot be tolerated. Kids of this age often lie. Her lie was a big one and a serious one and she needs to understand the consequences of this kind of thing. But, again, if this is the first episode of this type of behavior, it should be looked upon more of as a learning experience than a blatant disregard for established protocol. Counseling is a good idea too. I think the most important thing is to help your daughter develop a sense that she can tell you anything without being punished for it. She can come to understand that there are natural consequences for some behaviors and those will need to be enforced; but that you will never get mad at her if she tells you the truth. If you would like to learn a bit about very good communication styles, I recommend the information on Nonviolent Communication which can be searched and read about on the net. Good luck.