I just found an email exchange between by 15 year old daughter and one of her female friends. The context was very sexual. It was initiated by the friend – I’ve always known that girl was racy. My concern is that my daughter is participating in this banter to climb up the social ladder in her high school as her friend is very popular and has all the girls chasing after her, willing to do anything for her. My daughter has very low self-esteem and will do anything to be liked. What should I do?
Though I’m tempted to start by confronting you for reading your daughter’s emails, I’ll start by helping you to figure out what you’re upset over.
Is the issue that your daughter is engaging in a sexy email exchange, or that her email exchange is with another female? Would you feel differently if the exchange were between her and a boy?
Most fifteen year old girls are becoming curious about their sexuality and plenty are experimenting physically. I’m guessing that the physical alternative isn’t more appealing to you. Ask yourself what a better solution would be…
Regarding peer pressure: I’m here to tell you with complete confidence that unless she’s going to an all-gay high school, she stands to gain few popularity points by flirting with girls. I understand that social power is the currency in a teenage girl's life, but same-sex hookups are (sadly) not main stream and, thus, unlikely to push her up the social food chain.
Now it's time to address your email snoop. I don't care how you gained access to her account (her gmail was left up on a shared computer, you found her password, you hired someone to hack into her account) - it's WRONG and it teaches her that the way to get information in life is by sneaking around and playing detective verses asking direct questions. And trust me: She will catch you, because she's much more tech savvy than you are and even if you've hired someone to play computer detective, you're not going to spend the amount of money it would take to stay one-step ahead of her forever.
If you have so much to be concerned about that you're tempted to read her emails, either she, you or both of you need to see a therapist. So stop reading her emails and schedule an appointment with a therapist pronto. Let me know if you need some names.