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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
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Our 14 year old daughter is not making good choices socially.

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Our 14 year old daughter is not making good choices socially. Her adjustment coming from small Catholic school to public high school has been hard. Although she was already in counseling and has had a psychiatric evaluation, we have also now started family therapy after an incident at home in mid October where she slapped her father. Today we caught her making plans to meet a boy from school she isn't allowed to see outside of school. He has been arrested, gets into fights at school, and has been in a lot of trouble otherwise. We know not to make him the "forbidden fruit", but we don't allow her to get together with him outside of school. Today I heard her confirming plans to meet him when she went to a movie with another guy friend. When I confronted her, she said no but then admitted she was going to. Since her other friend was already on the way to the movie, her father went with her and she texted her other friend and told him not to come because her parents knew. We will address this at therapy on Wednesay, but what do we do now once she comes back from the movie with her dad? We haven't had this experinece with other children, and don't know what are acceptable consequences.
Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that you are having with your daughter. She already has a great amount to deal with and I applaud you for seeking family therapy to deal with the other issues. When she returns from the movies, explain to her how important it is to develop mutual trust. There is no need to yell and scream. Then because she had originally planned to meet this fellow even though she did confess, an acceptable consequence would be to either take her cell phone away for the rest of the week and/ or prevent her from participating in any activities with friends for the rest of the week. She is trying to assert her independence but her choices are not positive. She must realize that there are and will be consequences for all unacceptable behavior.

Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I agree with staying calm, and we are able to do that. She is not, and here is the part that I have to come clean. We tend to walk on eggshells around her because of her explosive ways and we have too long avoided conflict with her. Part of that is a bad choice we have made, and part of that is the legitimate fear that she will have another "episode" as the psychiatrist calls it. These episodes have gotten smaller and smaller over the therapy and time, but I still (her dad, too) live in fear of her causing havoc on this family. I agree that we need to take the phone. I think we need to discuss trust as you said, but do we say that and let it go? Or do we speak to her again about it after the fact or when she next wants to go out? I guess therapy is a place to discuss that. Do we talk to her about being disappointed that she brought her good friend in on this? Or do we tell her what our impressions of the other boy is (willing to break the rules with her, sneaking around behind our back, etc) and that we are unsure whether or not we can trust her? Do we tell the parents of the friend she brought into all this or let that go? Thank you for your time.
It truly is difficult dealing with teens as their lives seem like a roller coaster of emotions at times. First of all, leave the other friend out of the situation. When she returns home, take her phone away and tell her that you are taking the phone because she first lied to you about the boy and the movies. Explain to her how important it is to tell the truth so that you can trust her in future outings. For now, let it be that simple and revisit the issue in therapy in 2 days. You can discuss your feelings about the boy at that time as well. She is probably going to become irate when you take the phone away because you are taking away some of her power and independence of how she communicates with friends.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay, you give good clear advice. Stick with the issue of trust. When she denies that she was breaking rules and that she "was just getting ready to tell us", then we just stick with fact that she used the phone to make plans that were against our rules and therefore she needs to turn it in? Thank you. Do we let her use Facebook or not? A part of me wants to take that away because I am so angry, but another part of me feels like the phone is enough, especially since she didn't actually get away with it. Thank you again for your time.
This time just take the phone away. Next time it may need to be the phone and Facebook. Just stick to one issue (lying/trust) and one consequence. Too many issues will probably send your daughter into a negative emotional spiral.
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