teens reading morbid books - FamilyEducation
teens reading morbid books
12/22/2007 at 19:52 PM

Hi All

I am seeking advice on my 16 year old daughter who is not good at making friends. Who prefers to  watch television and read. She is not well coordinated and is not involved in any sport or club. She has no interests bar reading about serial killers, murder,and thriller novels. She loves  watching "Cold Case" and "Bones" on the television and though intelligent does not work hard enough at the moment to get into a career in the medical field that she claims she wants. I am worried about her especially since she can be so nasty to her younger more vivacious sister and her older sports man brother.With both myself and my husband she can be very moody and manipulativ. Is this a phase which will pass?


Kids have different levels of sociability, but the interest in the macabre and being nasty to siblings would not be allowed to pass in my home. I have some kids who had real problems with depression, so I am sensitive to these things as clues. It might be a phase, but it might be something that she needs help getting past.

You've asked the million-dollar question:  is this a phase which will pass?  Gail Hanson astutely suggests that you pay close attention to what could be signs of depression, because you need to be asking,  Does your daughter need additional help?

The problem is that being a 16 year old, middle child with vivacious and sporty siblings might be giving you an unclear picture of what your daughter is going through.  And it might be useful to everyone--if you have access to a couselor of some kind--to have her talk to someone outside the family.  

Finally, because children strive to carve out unique places for themselves within the family--it's not unusual that your middle child would consciously strive to be different.  It might be useful, too, to have her explore ways to be very different from her siblings with an activity or hobby that  clearly sets her apart from the others.  (Possibilities range from radical vegetarianism and photography clubs to fashion design and theater.  The point is to have her engage in something that helps her define herself as someone different, unique, and valued in the family).

Good luck.


I would address the issues of where her interest lie.  Reading the type of books she is reading, is that aimed at solving crimes and the forensics end of the crimes or is it aimed at the way the killer killed his victims, from the criminal side of it.  Is she withdrawn and introverted?  You need to get "inside her head" and see what is going on in there.  If she is nasty to her family - like cold and emotionless - then there is something in there that may need to be addressed by a professional.  Sorry in today's world where some terrible crimes are committed by teenagers, you really have to get inside your childrens head.  Approach it as warmly and lovingly as possible.  I do not think it is a phase, it is the beginning of her social behavior and how she will function as an adult. 


These days, we are giving our children so many mixed messages. We have major TV shows such as bones and CSI, and somehow, the horror of death does not seem so bad because we are being conditioned about it. We are getting so used to seeing mangled or horrifically mutilated bodies through shows like this. [I have to say I am a big fan of CSI though, especially Miami]
You said your daughter has ideas about studying medicine, so perhaps this is the area she would like to specialise in if her dream comes true. If this is the case, I wouldn't worry too much about her reading habits.

As for her attitude to her siblings, you haven't specified any incidents so it is difficult to make any judgements on that. How are their attitudes towards her?