my daughters emails/IM messages
Help, I am confused on which way I should continue to handle my daughters IM's /email to her friends. her father and I have been monitoring these eversince she confesed to a friend via email that she has been doing self injury for 2 years, and has had thoughts of suicide "daily". her friend then sent us an email of this conversation and told us she has mentioned suicidal thoughts to her before. We were well aware of this, but had been watching her carefully. she has been with a counselor since this was discovered about the self injury. when we were notified of the suicide thoughts, we contacted her counselor that recommended she be taken immediately for an evaluation by mental health facility. That turned into an admission due to the thoughts. unfortunately she was discharged stating she was stable. We still monitor her emails since she likes to confess her feelings to her friends. now she has notified her counselor that she knows we have removed sharp objects from her room and that her diary that was under the bathroom sink,(public property) is now missing and she has an all out war planned for me when her father gets home from being out of town. according to her email to her friend, her counselor told her that "I am way out of line" with looking at her things. I find this inappropriate for a counselor to tell her this. I feel since she has made comments to friends of suicidal thoughts, that we have the right as her parents to continue to monitor any suspicious behavior. we have found notes that she wrote 2 years ago about taking a lot of advil to ease the pain. this is scary as a parent. should we call the counselor and discuss this? should we await for our daughter to "attack us"? if so how do we handle that? if we call the counselor she will know that we again have been monitoring things. I thought counselors were to work with the parents too. we can't change because our daughter really likes her.
You need to immediately call the counselor and ask for family sessions to deal upfront with these issues. The fact is that most of what parents read in spied-upon emails is not really true; however, you can't take that risk when it comes to life-threatening issues.
I do think that you need to 'fess up about having taken her diary and monitored her E mail, and apologize for having done that. Plead "guilty but insane," meaning that you are insane with worry for her safety and state that you want to find ways that you guys can respect her privacy (to which she is entitled) and at the same time feel confident that she will not end her life. Put that out as a challenge to the family to solve in family counseling.
As you can see, relying upon spying does not really fix things. The real problem is the relationship between you guys, and that will require family work to fix.
Keep us posted.
Dr. Mike Bradley