Yes, I Read My Daughter’s Texts {and no, it isn’t because I don’t trust her}

When I read my daughter's texts it is less about trusting her and more about trusting God and His Word.

Yes, I am that mom.  Every night, I read my daughter’s texts and log into her social media accounts to look at the direct messages and friends lists. I am the one who “stalks” anyone on those lists I don’t know.  I am the mom who knew about Yik Yak two days before a student used it to make a bomb threat at my daughter’s school because I was checking texts.

When I read my daughter's texts it is less about trusting her and more about trusting God and His Word.

One of my girl’s friends said to her mom, “Mrs. Teri Lynne knows everything. She might even know before it happens.”

As much as I’d like to claim prophetic power and insight, the truth is, what I know is less about being social media savvy and more about being sin savvy.

I am an often weary warrior in the battle between flesh and Spirit. And because I know the war waged in my own heart, I don’t doubt for one second the same struggle is very real in the heart and mind of my daughter — because she is made of that same broken, fallen, human DNA I am.

When I check her phone or stalk her friends, it isn’t really about trusting her … it’s about trusting God and His Word. And Scripture is clear we have a very real enemy.

When I check my daughter's texts it is less about trusting her & more about trusting God & His Word. Click To Tweet

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Y’all, I believe every word of that verse. The devil is real and he is our adversary. Just as God is FOR us, Satan is AGAINST us. He prowls around LOOKING for someone to devour. I’m going to stand between him and her as much as, as strongly as, and as confidently as I can.

Our adversary is real and he is active ... and I am going to stand in the gap between him and my girl as best I can.

No, I can’t make her decisions for her. But I can be wise and discerning and actively involved in what is shaping her worldview and her choices. And I can point her to the truth that we are to be vigilant about what what we allow in our hearts and minds.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23, NLT emphasis added

When I check her phone, I don’t do it in secret. She knows and, yes, it frustrates her. And I’m okay with that. I have had to be okay with knowing there will be days when she thinks I am the worst. mom. ever. I have had to learn to accept that she views me as mean and overprotective and strict. But, I also know this, those texts and images and conversations I’ve been concerned about have opened the door for conversations about the very real struggles she faces every day. We’ve had honest conversations about why boys feel like it’s okay to ask girls for nude pictures … and why girls send them. We’ve talked about why texting leaves so much room for misinterpretation and why some conversations need to be held face-to-face.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you ben tempted beyond your ability, but WITH EVERY TEMPTATION he will also provide THE WAY OF ESCAPE, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV emphasis added

We talk about how my constant checking of her phone gives her an out. I can be the means of escape God uses to keep her from giving in to a sinful temptation. She can use me as the reason to remove herself from a group text when she isn’t comfortable. She can use me as an excuse for not visiting a website everyone else is checking out. She can blame me for the fact she isn’t allowed to have certain apps or social media.

As moms, we can be the means of escape God uses to help our kids avoid the temptation of sin. Click To Tweet

I’ve learned this, my girl isn’t looking for ways to be foolish or make mistakes. She deeply desires to be an example for others and to love the Lord well. But she isn’t always sure how to face the pressure the world is putting on her. She hasn’t always found her voice for standing strong. She’s only 15. And yes, she is just three years from high school graduation … but she is still a child and she still needs her mom to be both her advocate and her protector. And sometimes, she just needs me to be “the out” when she’s struggling.

Being a mom is hard. Most days I am certain of this: I am not enough. But even in my not enoughness, I also know this, I’m the only mom she has. Yeah, I mess it up all. the. time. I speak too soon and listen too late. And sometimes I forget who the real enemy is. But I also lean hard into the Word and I pray earnestly for wisdom.

Yeah, I’m the mom who checks her phone. But I’m also the mom who knows this is true:

The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10, ESV emphasis added

The enemy of my soul is also the enemy of hers. His mission is to steal her joy, to kill her spirit, and to destroy her life. So I stand in the gap with fervent prayer and prayerful action. Because I cling to the hope and promise of Jesus and the ABUNDANT life He has for her, I will continue to be the mean, overprotective, strict mom. I will check the phone and have the hard conversations and share my own sin battles and tell her that the Bible is true and that God is faithful.

I'm the mom who checks my daughter's phone but I'm also the mom who leans hard into the truth of Scripture.

And to you, mom deep in the trenches, don’t give up! Keep battling on behalf of your child. Know the enemy and teach him or her to know the enemy as well. Lean into the Word and pray for wisdom. You are not alone!! And if you want more verses you can pray for your child, check out this list of 31 verses to pray for your girl. {The prayers can be adapted for boys too, I promise.}

xo,

Teri Lynne

To the moms deep in the trenches, don't give up! Keep battling on behalf of your child! Keep praying and teaching and leaning into the Word! Click To Tweet

Join the 3000+ moms who are praying Scripture for their girls and investing in their spiritual lives … learn more and sign up at Prayers for Girls!

 

12 Replies to “Yes, I Read My Daughter’s Texts {and no, it isn’t because I don’t trust her}”

  1. […] Yes, I Read My Daughter’s Texts {and no, it isn’t because I don’t trust her} […]

  2. This is a great article, thank you. I’m not a mum myself but I know that it’s imperative that parents guide and guard their children. There are things I had the freedom to do as a child, certain music I was innocently allowed to listen to, movies I was allowed to watch, that I wish I wasn’t because as an adult now I see how they’ve influenced my mind and affected me in ways I can do without!
    I am not a mum or even in a relationship with anyone. I’m still young but i like to read up the thoughts and strategies of godly woman to prepare myself and to help out young girls in my vicinity who may not have godly parents to point them in the right direction.
    Thanks again.

  3. and yes! They do come back and say, “Mom, thank you for ____. You were right and I’m so glad you said no and you led me in the right direction.”
    Those words have come from my now adult daughter.
    YES! Be diligent, mommas!!

    1. Oh I hope so, Kela! But {for today anyway} I’m okay with just knowing I have done what I could do. You are such a sweet encourager to us mommas who are coming behind you. Thank you!!!

      1. Thank YOU for encouraging women along the way!You’ve been a blessing to me for many years!
        Oh the trenches and God’s grace to see us through!
        You know, even before I understood that word (grace) even a little, I relied on it when asked, “how do you do it?”. My knee-jerk answer was “only by the grace of God.” Oh, sister, if I had only known the desperateness of that statement, I would have accepted all the grace He had for me. But I’m learning…and so are my children!

  4. THIS IS PRICELESS. Every Mom needs to read this.

    1. Thank you, Susan! I appreciate your kind words!!

  5. I love this! I have a teenage boy rather than girl and he is a little slower to the whole world of texting. I do check his phone each night, however it is in secret. I hesitate to let him know that I do because I’m afraid he may delete things. He is aware of the fact that I have said ultimately it is MY phone and I can check it at any time I decide to. He freely gives his passwords to everything and like your daughter, he has given me no reason to not trust him. His world is basketball and Jesus right now! I am glad your blog was the one I picked from the Facebook #RaRa today! I’ve pinned a couple of images from here and will tweet and post to facebook!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    1. I totally understand the fear of something deleted! For us, it just worked to tell her we were checking it and give her opportunity to “come clean” if she had deleted anything. Which has happened a couple of times.

  6. I applaud the choices you have made to raise your teenage daughter in an era of social media, with lewd temptations around every corner. Navigating the teenage years can be really difficult and confusing. However, I must tell you, I took a completely different approach when it came to my daughter. I sat her down in her preteen years and told her that I was giving her a very precious gift. That gift was my 100% trust. I would not read her text messages, emails or violate her privacy. However, I let her know that I can only give her that gift once. If she betrayed my trust, she would lose it all. That trust was so very valuable to her, especially since she had so many friends who didn’t feel trusted by their parents. She cherished it and it truly shaped her and guided her every choice and step she made. She even became the voice for positive choices for her peers! Today she is a college freshman who isn’t afraid to let others know about her faith in God and still tells me how much it meant to her that I trusted her and how she values that trust, even to this day.

    1. Cindy, thank you for sharing your experience. I love that there is no “one size fits all” parenting approach. All we can do is seek the Lord and believe His promise that when we ask for wisdom He will give generously {James 1:5}.

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