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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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I found out my 13 year old granddaughter went on Facebook against

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I found out my 13 year old granddaughter went on Facebook against my wishes with an assumed name. I can't believe the foul language and deplorable conversations. I have taken her phone and computer away and she is furious. She wrote a letter stating that she is contemplating suicide because I have taken her away from her friends who are the only people who understand her and love her. I am heartbroken and worried. Does she need to see a doctor?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I'm glad that firm limits have been set regarding the PRIVILEGE your granddaughter has been granted to be on Face book, a phone, and computer access. I would continue to talk to her about the kinds of behavior specifically, that will allow her to EARN BACK the privileges. It isn't clear in reading your post whether you implemented the limits or her mom did. The key thing her mother needs to be doing is to continue to maintain these consequences, but at the same time, try to engage her daughter in conversation about expected behavior and some form of restitution. So for instance, if she is grounded, what can she do to get ungrounded e.g., specific series of chores or work-help around the house, or perhaps compose an essay about problems some teens get into when they go on line, etc.

I don't know what taking her to the doctor would do. If she is truly suicidal or talks of specific plans, she should be taken to the emergency room of the hospital and checked in for an inpatient stay and observation. However, if she is simply very angry and is actively protesting the punishment and the communication between her mom and her has broken down, an offer to talk to a family counselor together might help. Her mom can try to convince her that going to the family counselor TOGETHER to help improve communication and reach new agreements about expected behaviors will get her privileges back sooner.

I'm going to pause here and solicit your feedback. I'm very concerned that this girl may not have a healthy, supportive strong paternal (fatherly) influence in her life (?)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm the grandmother. Her mom is the one who is disciplining her. My granddaughter has never has a great relationship with her father. He either kills her with kindness and gifts or he's yelling at her for being disrespectful and uncooperative.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
I'm going to read between the lines of your posts and tell you I suspect that the mother and father aren't really on the 'same page' about how to parent or discipline kids. What is their marital relationship like? Have they ever been to marital therapy or couples counseling because of disagreements in the past?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You are absolutely right. My daughter suggested counseling and her husband vehemently refused.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
When parents can't fully agree on how to manage their children's behavior, you see the sorts of alarming internalization of values and beliefs you see portrayed in your granddaughter's internet behavior. The inconsistency is very clearly linked to feelings of insecurity, because this girl doesn't really know what to expect in response to her behavior, for better or worse. I suspect that individually, her mother and father think they are pretty clear and consistent with her, but a "martian" looking in on this family objectively would quickly see that since they aren't on the same page here, things would seem inconsistent and unpredictable and thus, 'insecure' to a child. Now, I'm going to go a step further and speculate that this couple needs marital therapy for other issues as well regarding their relationship. If they are smart, they will in part, interpret their daughter's behavior as a clear symptom that the marital relationship and family is not functioning well; she is like the canary in the coal mine, so to speak. You can share these thoughts with this girl's parents if you wish, of course. I am simply offering some hypotheses here based on your story, and I do confess that I may be in error; but this is my genuine view of things. And the fact that the father refuses to go to counseling is an indication that this isn't a healthy, well-functioning marriage. A father who saw this sort of behavior in his daughter and who had a healthy relationship with his wife would be so alarmed, he would be ASKING to go to couples therapy to learn what might be wrong, what might fix things, etc.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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