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I found out my 10 year old daughter(11 in 3 months) told her two best friends she is a lesbian. One friend is a boy who's been her best friend since they were 3 and the other is her best girlfriend. The part that bothers me is she didn't tell me, I saw it on her messenger kids which she knows is supervised by me.(I work cyber security and protect youth from online predators).

I'm a single mom, her brothers are in their 20's, her dad abandoned her so many times & now by his choice hasn't seen her in exactly 3 years, he doesn't try and she doesnt want to as now she doesn't trust him with her heart, and we are a communicative and very open/non judgemental family who have gay and straight friends and have always talked about Anything.

I spoke with her(she's 10) & said I love her no matter what she is and chooses in life, &
I asked when & how she knew and she understandably said she doesn't know. I also did say she is too young for sexual activity and asked why she didn't tell me, she first straight out lied when I first asked a few days ago, until today I said I knew what she told her friends. So we talked a bit as to how there's no difference in gay or straight(judgement wise & individuality) and she really had nothing to say.

We mostly focused on convo about open honesty, be proud to be you and she can talk to me about anything. (She's Never been one to talk feelings) She seemed perkier. Her answer to most questions is "I don't know".
I hugged & kissed her head before she went to bed and I also reminded her I love her unconditionally.

What did I do wrong for her not to tell me and to lie until she realized I learned from messenger kids (which she even told a friend that mom reads these.)

In 3rd grade she had a crush on a boy.
I'm just wondering what signs I missed & feeling crappy that she felt she couldn't tell me.

What do I say & do going forward?

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    Welcome! I am putting this on hold for a moment - as for all Stack Exchange sites we need a clear question. “Any feedback, advice and guidance” isn’t. We feel your pain and confusion, but that’s the rules. Please see How to Ask, then edit your post accordingly and we can reopen.
    – Stephie
    May 26 at 11:39
  • It might be able to be reopened if it's edited to have a clear question, though.
    – nick012000
    May 26 at 21:48
  • Ok, thanks, I'm new here. I deleted that part and asked as a question
    – JustAHuman
    May 27 at 16:33
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It sounds to me like you are doing everything right.

Its interesting that she wrote this on a space she knows you read, but then denied it. It sounds like she wanted you to know the bare facts, but not to discuss it further. The trouble from a child's point of view is that an "open honest conversation" with a parent can feel more like an interrogation.

Part of adolescence is gradually separating yourself from your parents and family, and starting to grow up as an individual rather than an adjunct. So no matter how open and non-judgemental you are, your daughter will start needing a private space in her life that isn't being overseen by you, just to give her that sense of being her own person. She will still talk to you about stuff, but increasingly she will be editing things out that she doesn't want you to know.

I'm guessing a lot of the "don't knows" you got are really "no comment".

Giving children this private space is scary; you worry about what might be going on there. You can imagine all sorts of mistakes she might be making, and the disasters that could flow from them. You want to help, advise, and caution. Your work probably makes on-line risks particularly worrying because you see them every day, and it's all too easy to look at a case and imagine your daughter in that situation.

But there isn't really an alternative to gradually letting go. If you hover over her you stop her from developing, even if you don't say anything, because your presence is always there, and to her it feels like "Big Momma Is Watching You!".

So you have to back off gradually. I don't know Messenger Kids, but it sounds like a reasonably safe space. If you have seen that she is using it responsibly and safely, maybe you could stop monitoring it (and if possible lock yourself out, so she knows that).

Obviously 10 is too young to stop all control and monitoring; like I say, its a gradual process, and possibly one to consult your daughter about. Ask her what parts of her life she would like to keep private, and see if you can reach an agreement that makes you both feel comfortable. The act of asking also signals that you understand her feelings and think her opinion on the matter is important, which will help too. Also, next time you want an "open, honest conversation" about something, make it clear that she is allowed to say "No, thankyou".

If you don't give her a private space then in a year or three she will start carving out her own space anyway. On-line by getting email and social-media accounts that she doesn't tell you about. Off-line by lying (or not telling the whole truth) about where she is going or who she is meeting. It would be better to work with her on this.

(BTW, you probably don't need to be told this, but don't be tempted to spy: if you don't find anything then you are simply violating her privacy. If you do find something then you have to choose between destroying her trust by admitting that you spied, or stewing on it in secret. None of these are good outcomes).

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The whole journey from birth to adulthood is a journey of ever-growing autonomy on the side of your child and letting go on your side. And privacy is a part of autonomy. Therefore it's only natural that your child wants to determine who has access to certain private information. And everything around sexuality can be considered private. Therefore it's ok that your child didn't want to share this information with you (and the lying would be a way to try to enforce her boundaries). And it's ok that she'd rather discuss certain feelings with peers than with adults.

On the other hand she's still young and you have to protect her. But only from inappropriate things.

Therefore I wouldn't force her to talk about her feelings, her identity, but encourage her to come to you if and when she is ready. In the meantime you should talk about the ground rules (everything from "you're too young for sexual activity" to "every identity is valid", or "I'll still read your messages, but I won't question you about it, unless there's something problematic going on") and talk about these topics in a general way, but respect, if she doesn't want to talk about herself. Show her that you respect her growing autonomy, but are there to guide and help, where guidance is needed.

It's difficult, because what was right yesterday might not be right today. That's part of your child growing up. But be grateful that your child has two good friends who she can open up to.

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