Spreading her wings and flopping to the ground

Having a 13 year old is never boring. It's the constant up and down of the roller coaster; brag a while, vent a while, brag a while, vent a while.

This week's issue is (drumroll) Sydney's laptop. Sydney was given my old laptop when I bought a new one. She has two id's, each with a password and only one is supposed to have internet access. She only has the password for the ID that can't access the www. But, a few weeks ago, I logged her main ID into the internet for her and thought that when I shut down, she'd lose her access. But, she didn't. And, like any smart 13 year old, she created a facebook page and an email account. And, like most of those other 13 year olds on the planet, she made every bit of her personal information, name, address, dob...available to anyone and friended everyone that bumped into her site, whether she knew them or not. She did everything that we would have explained not to do...if she'd just waited for us to grant her internet access.

Rob and I feel different. I think his feelings are hurt that after 4 years, she still doesn't trust us to watch out for her best interest and protect her.

Me, I gave her the tools she needed to make a decision, even tho I didn't mean to. The decision she made proves she's not ready to make decisions on her own.

And, that's how I explained it. And, how I explained her loss of the laptop. And, how I will explain her lengthy list of upcoming chores. And, that's about as much attention as I can give this right now. I have my own stuff going on.

My mouth surgery is this week. Oddly, I'm not nearly as upset as I was when I first heard I needed it. But, I read about it and mentioned it to my regular doctor and her response was "Oh, getting older, huh? Isn't that nice." She and I are very nearly the same age and for her to think of it so unimportantly made me feel so much better. If it had been anything, she'd have leapt on it like a duck on a junebug. Mainly, I'm just relieved that in a few weeks, I won't have to spend as much effort caring for my teeth. In a few weeks, my mouth can be back to "normal" and I can go back to just brushing and flossing like everyone else.

Thanks for your nice comments on yesterday's linus quilt. I looked at it again last night and it certainly is much more cheerful than that picture looked.

I also got asked if I was going to teach Sydney to sew. Ongoing effort. Right now, her feeling on sewing is "I don't want to be like you and just sew all the time. I wanna do stuff!" Okay, well, I asked you to make me a potholder, so we'll just let that drop now, won't we. She has pieced two quilts. One is waiting for her to piece a back and then I can quilt it. It would be nice to get it finished for vacation as it's a great size, but we'll have to see. She tried to get me to "make" her sew on it a while back, but I confused her by folding it up and putting it in the closet instead of fighting. Parents need to be unpredictable.

Right now, she has me over a barrel. If she sews, she hates it because I'm making her do it. If she doesn't sew, then she's taking a stand against sewing. Funny thing is, she really enjoys it, so she's the only one missing out. Sewing clothes for her is why I started sewing clothes. We've already explained to her that I can make nicer clothes than I can afford to buy, so it's in her interest to get me sewing for her now. But, even that, I had to threaten to stay in JoAnn's until she picked her first pattern. Who knew she'd pick two more in rapid succession.

I guess I should have. That's my girl. Always unpredictable.

Incidentally, I've never liked roller coasters. But, I kind of enjoy this one now that all the shouting has stopped and all we have to do is be unpredictable...in very predictable ways.

Is anybody else having trouble commenting? I've read some really interesting posts lately, but I haven't been able to comment on some blogs. Not ignoring it, but I need to figure this out and that starts by figuring out if I'm the only one.



Andra Gayle said...

You should have been in the store yesterday when I was trying to get my 13 yr old to buy sandals for an upcoming trip to an amusement park. I want her to have nice functional, my- feet-will-dry-after-the-water-ride-sandals but she moaned and groaned about how ugly all of them were and we came home with none. guess she will just have to be miserable in wet tennis shoes...

Moneik said...

Comments that embedded below the post with word verification don't work for me in IE. I've been going to Firefox to comment on those blogs.

Anonymous said...

Having been a teen girl myself at one point and thought I was far more ready for things than I was, I think you are reading the internet issue correctly. This isn't about Sydney not trusting you to look out for her, this is her thinking she's ready for more than she is. It's pretty standard for her age. I would have thought about if I would get in trouble for something, I would have thought about what my friends are doing, I would have weighed the likelihood of being caught, but I never would have interpreted boundaries as "I trust them to protect me". I trusted them to love me, but sometimes that was getting in trouble or hiding things so I didn't get in trouble.

LynCC said...

The Internet and young teens is scary, but my philosophy is that at this age, if we don't help them navigate safely, they'll find ways to navigate anyway, and they'll be unsafe (be it sneaking at home or at friends' houses or at the library. . .).

We have very strict rules for our 13yo. She is allowed to have a Facebook page, but she cannot change her password without us doing it, and both parents know that password and have the right to go into her account at any time and see what she's been doing, who's she's been talking with, etc. She cannot add any friends until we give a thumbs up, and she cannot complain at anything we choose to do (such as pop any friends or liked pages right off of her list without even asking if we want to).

Also, she cannot be on the computer anywhere but out in the public parts of the house where anybody walking around could easily see over her shoulder what is going on. We don't get all Super-Creep on her and stand there watching the whole time. Just the knowledge that we could oversee anything "whenever" keeps her more careful about what she chooses to click on.

Oh - and the private info part is SCARY!!! So we make her do those pages with one of us sitting right there to guide her, because a 13yo really has a very difficult time finding a balance between putting enough info up there for their friends to find them and knowing what's not so wise to list (like their town or school name).

It's all a bit of a pain, demanding our personal time to supervise. But how else will she learn if we don't? Somewhere around 15ish is when I started letting her older sisters add their friends without requiring a pre-approval (but I'd occassionally go through their lists from my own page and ask about ones I didn't recognize), and somewhere around an old 16ish is when I quit actively policing what her older sisters did, when I was fully confident that they'd learned all the lessons of keeping safe (from predators and from viruses) and of behaving wisely (if it's something that you would absolutely DIE about if a family member saw you looking at, you have no business going there in private either). I never did allow computers in bedrooms. Best rule we ever came up with!

Practice is what teaches us - not an innate sense of good and bad ways to be there (I know 40-year-olds who are insane online).

p.s. I've seen folks who've had trouble posting comments say that they've had success by clearing their browser cache, then when re-signing into Blogger, unclicking the "remember password" type option.

Paul said...

Like LynnCC I too have a FB page of my own. Not because I wanted or needed one, but because I am a "Friend" of my boys and I can see what they are doing on FB.

About once a week, I take his laptop and look at what he is looking at. He doesn't know I do this, but he knows I have the right to. So far, I haven't had to admonish him for any bad choices.

When he set up his FB page however, he did have way too much information out there. We sat together and removed unnecessary information.

I am looking for software that will allow me to monitor the internet in our home without having to actually get on each of the PCs in the home. I work for a computer retailer so I get great deals from time to time and therefor PCs and laptops get "handed down" all the time.

As for commenting, I have heard a few others making the same observation as you. For what it's worth, I use Firefox and I have never had an issue posting comments.

Take Care,

DreinPA said...

Tight restrictions can always be loosened, but loose ones can never easily be tightened. The internet things is bad, but wait till you have to set restrictions about who and where with CARS. At 13 she is somewhat physically restricted, but at 16, she and her friends will be mobile. Trust and respect are earned- not granted automatically.

Crunchy Diva said...

i applaud you guys in taking away the laptop. internet & kids is very scary & you are right she isn't ready just like you said. i think you guys did the right thing.

Vesuviusmama said...

I've been unable to comment if I log in and check the "keep me logged in" button. If I don't check that, I'm fine.

Pauline said...

Your punishment of chores can backfire, she will hate chores which will lead to not doing them unless forced which leads to a vow of not doing them when she's older. You may be opening a can of worms. Removing other privileges may make more sense. A first time offence doesn't call for a hanging.
And, no one should live with their sins forever. There should be a light at the end of the tunnel.