Normal? Problem? Normal Problem?


Hello! I'm worried about my almost-14-YO daughter. Her grades remain good and she is still on her soccer team. She does not have a smartphone or tablet. Our wifi is off every night starting at 10 until 6 the next morning. If asked, she tells her dad and me that she's happy at school (which she attends in person, for now, every other day) and still enjoying soccer and that she's mentally/emotionally OK amid COVID. She has been quite moody, has been reluctant to exercise outside of soccer practice/games, which will end soon due to the weather (as a little kid she loved running around and she's always loved sports--now she just wants to loaf around the house, mostly in her room with the door closed), and so I've been worried anyway. But mostly I've been writing it off to her age (I was quite unhappy at that age 34 years ago). Then today I found a journal she just started keeping and read some things that sent that worry into overdrive. She wrote that she misses her friends painfully and that her "anxiety is on overdrive", misses being in a big "puppy pile" with friends to watch movies (she actually said she misses "touch"), and that she's been reading "Heathers" fan fiction online (she and her brother each get a set amount of computer time on a single machine in our living room where their dad and I can see everything they are doing--but we did not know she was reading this stuff). In the journal, she mentioned friends from school whose names I've never heard and said she's "worried" about them (at least one of these friends is now using "they" pronouns, so I suspect these are girls and maybe boys who think they are trans and are using different names). Maybe all of this is typical middle-school drama, but what concerns me is the difference between the face she presents to her dad and me and the things she wrote here. If I hadn't already been worried, if she acted happier more of the time, I wouldn't have read her journal--but I did because I wanted some insights into what's going on in her head. I don't want her to be unhappy, especially as a lot of this seems like invented drama. It also makes me dislike these "friends" who I'd always thought were normal teenagers, too. I'm SO worried about her, and I don't know how to help without making her withdraw even more. This site has never let me down. Please help!

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