Reagan lied to us. She asked to go to her friend Ashleley’s house and we said “Yes. Are you going anyplace else?”
“No,” she assured us, “just Asheley’s.”
She and Ash met up with two boys that are in their grade and they walked around town. Ash is dating one of the boys; Reagan is not.
I found out when Ash’s mom called to have me send her home.
Yes, the heart-stopping call in which you realize your child is not only not where she is supposed to be, but also, you have no clue where the child might be. Or what she might be doing.
47 minutes of non-stop worry.
The admissions came slowly, first “we went on a walk,” then “we went on a walk with A. and N.,” then, “Yes, we went in A.’s house, but his mom was home.”
Feeling suspicious and distrustful, I checked her myspace page. Her status for the day said “Going to A.’s.” Obviously the deception was planned in advance.
She was extremely upset about my checking her myspace account, which made me MORE suspicious and MORE distrustful.
Curious, I started with her inbox, nothing interesting, then decided to go to her “sent mail,” normal stuff, a little bad language, a crush on a boy.. nothing major.
Then Reagan came back in the room and said “I need to talk to you privately.”
Oh, shit. What does she want to confess before I read it?
We sat, she cried and said that she has been really stressed out. That she is “ALWAYS in trouble!” That her brother “NEVER gets in trouble!” and that she has too much homework.
And that the night before she had considered killing herself.
(BTW, this was the same day she attended a suicide prevention program at school.)
I calmed her down, talked to her about being stressed out, suggested dropping a couple of activities, then ran her a warm bath.
Once she was in the tub, I went back to the computer. Her myspace page was still up. Her friend Ash was online.
All of her “sent mail” had been deleted and her inbox was rapidly disappearing.
Yes, my daughter used the threat of suicide as a ruse to distract me so her friend could erase the messages.
Of course I am relieved that my daughter isn’t actually suicidal. However….
How exactly does one punish such a deed? It’s, it’s, it’s…
Currently she is grounded for a month. But it doesn’t seem like enough. I’m not sure if I’m overreacting… her initial wrong-doing was pretty common for her age. But her co-opting a tragic occurrence (suicide) to manipulate me, well, it’s horrifying.
I feel like I need to do something more, something bigger, to somehow make her realize how wrong, how horrendous her deceit was, but I just can’t figure out what.