How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Mark Your Own Question

Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5100
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Dr. Mark is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My daughter, a teenager has a best friend who is angry with

Resolved Question:

My daughter, a teenager has a best friend who is angry with her because she has asked her to stop a relationship with a boy that is a friend but was friends with her friend first. Her friend feels the relationship is dangerous for my daughter. It is a texting relationship only with the boy. I don't know how to handle this.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 9 months ago.

Dr. Mark :

Hi! I'll be glad to help you with this issue.

Dr. Mark :

How old is your daughter? And how old is the boy?

Dr. Mark :

Hi, the system says you're offline. If it closes the chat and reverts to the question/answer format, I'll answer you there, okay?

Customer: She is 14 1/2 and boy is 15 and lives in another state.
Dr. Mark :

I see. This is a very tough age, for sure.

Customer: That's for sure
Dr. Mark :

How is she in general? Meaning, how is she doing in school? How is she doing at home?

Customer: In general very well but she gets sad and angry with her friend when she feels she is limiting her autonomy. She is very teary tonight.
Customer: They had an episode about a year ago similar to this and didn't speak for six months
Dr. Mark :

You mean, I assume this particular girlfriend. But in general, over the last year or so, she's doing okay in school and at home, right?

Dr. Mark :

You seem to have a good relationship with her.

Customer: Yes and yes
Dr. Mark :

Whew, that's wonderful. Because it makes our work so much easier.

Customer: We are very close even through her teen years so far
Dr. Mark :

You're clearly a loving mom and so that she's responded to that positively so far is a fantastic basis for how to deal with the problems of the teen years that are now upon you.

Customer: This is very different than my relationship is/was with my mother. It hard to know how involved to be in this
Customer: (Situation)
Dr. Mark :

It is true: parents today have a different world that you have to try to navigate with your teen than your parents had with you.

Dr. Mark :

However, the principles are there.

Dr. Mark :

And when you have a child who's doing well, like your daughter, and who's

Dr. Mark :

trying to navigate her new and continually changing feelings in today's atmosphere,

Dr. Mark :

you're ahead of the curve.

Dr. Mark :

The biggest difference that kids today live within is that they have a tremendous peer pressure to form alliances outside of the family.

Dr. Mark :

And those alliances can involve sexuality.

Dr. Mark :

Not as in already doing anything, because most still don't, but as in creating some identity, some sense of being in relationship, boys.

Dr. Mark :

And so friendships become very complex, like with her friend.

Dr. Mark :

Your role has to be much more of a guide than a director today.

Dr. Mark :

The difference is:

Dr. Mark :

a director tells the actor what to do: the parent tells the child what to do and makes sure the child does it.

Dr. Mark :

A guide watches over the activities of the child and is there to advise when asked and steps in only when necessary.

Dr. Mark :

A guide allows the teen to make mistakes and only steps in when those mistakes clearly violate boundaries that are dangerous.

Dr. Mark :

I see you're typing. Go ahead.

Customer: That makes sense. I just have a hard time with her texting a boy she has never met and sounds troubled.
Customer: For example he was suspended from school in 7th grade for starting a trash can on fire at school
Dr. Mark :

Okay, let's practice it, then.

Dr. Mark :

If you were going to guide her rather than direct, you would want to ask lots of questions. Why?

Dr. Mark :

To find out what is her internal compass that is pointing her in the direction she's going in so you know how she might need help. With me?

Dr. Mark :

So, what question might you begin with in discussing it with her?

Customer: I don't know but I'm sure it needs to be non confrontational?
Customer: Maybe ask what is bothering her most about the situation right now.?
Dr. Mark :

To be a guide to kids, you have to show that you're interested in them, not just that you want to solve their problems. That's what their principals and most of their teachers want to do.

Dr. Mark :

They more than anything else want to be valued and treated as if they count, as if what they think and believe is interesting and worth hearing, okay?

Dr. Mark :

So, the question we want to open with is to find out something about her. I would recommend something like:

Dr. Mark :

Wow, you know honey, I'm really wondering how you're feeling about this boy. What makes him interesting to you?

Dr. Mark :

What do you think?

Customer: I like that...
Dr. Mark :

Let's say she answers: I don't know, mom, he's just sort of interesting. I'd ask next:

Dr. Mark :

Wow, I think I could see that. Let's pause. Can you see why he might be interesting to her?

Customer: That is good too
Dr. Mark :

Hold on, my question is to you: why might he be interesting to her? Because if you say, wow, I can see that, you need to make sure you're being honest, that you CAN see why he would be of interest. So why might he be?

Customer: Oh I get it now. I think she has difficulty talking to boys at school as she isn't confident. So far any boys of interest have been ones she won't encounter like justin bieber, one direction, and now this boy who she more than likely will never face in person.
Dr. Mark :

Good. But you must NOT tell her your insight. This is an example of being her guide:

Dr. Mark :

You are learning about her. You have to guide her, not impose things on her.

Customer: Yes I agree
Dr. Mark :

Therefore, your next question might be something like: Now, yes, I can see now why you're interested in him,

Dr. Mark :

He seems to be troubled, though. Do you see him that way? Or do you see him differently?

Dr. Mark :

That might be your follow up. What do you think?

Customer: I am not sure what to think, I think people can make mistakes. I don't know the extent of his "troubles" she never allows me to see what she writes back and forth. But that is probably similar to "note writing" when I was a teen. I wouldn't have wanted to share those with my parents.
Dr. Mark :

No, we know what WE think of him. I meant, what do you think of the question that you might ask her?

Dr. Mark :

Remember: we are not looking to impose what we think. Teens will recoil from that today when adults try to impose on them.

Dr. Mark :

We're looking to give her an opportunity to share with you what SHE thinks about him being troubled. Does that make sense?

Customer: It feels more dangerous tho when they are far away and on the internet because people can present themselves differently than how they are but yes I know we shouldn't impose on them and yes she needs that opportunity to share her thoughts
Dr. Mark :

I want you to notice a few things:

Dr. Mark :

First, notice how slow I'm proceeding with her:

Dr. Mark :

I'm taking a long time to learn what she thinks. Two questions I've had you ask and they're still only at the beginning of finding out what she is thinking and feeling.

Dr. Mark :

I haven't gotten anywhere near the part about what she "should" do, "should" think, etc. See how much I'm putting into giving her a chance to talk?

Dr. Mark :

This is crucial.

Dr. Mark :

Second, I'm keenly aware as you need to be that your influence as a parent today has been made smaller because of the internet.

Dr. Mark :

That's precisely why I'm giving her as much time to talk as I can:

Dr. Mark :

With my kids, I have had to make sure they know that I want to hear them.

Dr. Mark :

Otherwise, they'll find other people to influence them. The internet is full of them.

Dr. Mark :

So, you are not seeking to make this a 1-2 problem solving issue and let's get on with our lives.

Dr. Mark :

This is your biggest opportunity to date to enter your daughter's life, give it time.

Dr. Mark :

You don't have to solve it for her.

Dr. Mark :

You have to help her solve it.

Dr. Mark :

And you don't have to do it in one fell swoop.

Dr. Mark :

It might be a few evenings worth of discussions.

Dr. Mark :

Does that resonate?

Customer: YES! That makes me feel better and makes sense
Dr. Mark :

Can I share with you 2 old books that I think are better than any of the new books coming out today to help parents of teens?

Dr. Mark :

Because you are a really good mom and she's lucky to have you.

Customer: That old be great
Customer: ( souls)
Customer: Keeps changing my words
Customer: I meant to say that would be great
Dr. Mark :

That was fun. Trying to type fast is a hoot, isn't it?

Dr. Mark :

Let me find the links for the books in my files...

Customer: Haha yes. Sounds good
Dr. Mark :

Here it is:

Dr. Mark :

Here is a book that is excellent. How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen so Teens Will Talkby Faber and Mazlish. Here's the Amazon web page for it:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Teens-Will-Listen/dp/0060741260/ref=pd_sim_b_2




These two authors are students of Chaim Ginott. He was a wonderful psychologist in the 1960s and 1970s. He's not permissive, he communicated! You might want to go to his book for non-therapists: Between Parent and Teenager. It's old, but still relevant. Here's the Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Between-parent-teenager-Haim-Ginott/dp/B0007DK0PA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285715554&sr=1-2

Dr. Mark :

I think you will like Faber and Mazlish a lot.

Customer: Great I will definitely give that a try. I appreciate so much your assistance.
Dr. Mark :

Okay, I wish you the very best!


 


My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark :

Hi. I see the chat is still open. If you could give a positive rating before you leave, I'd be grateful. All the best to you.

Customer: Yes I had to step away for a second. I feel very much like you helped me and I will do the positive rating now :) thanks again
Dr. Mark :

All the best to you!

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5100
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Dr. Mark and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/deedeeham/2011-1-24_51523_408.64x64.JPG Dear Debra's Avatar

    Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy's Avatar

    Kate McCoy

    Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    1235
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1215
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/CoachJenK/2012-3-9_31019_Jen.64x64.jpg Coach Jen K.'s Avatar

    Coach Jen K.

    LMSW, CPC

    Satisfied Customers:

    726
    Providing the utmost care and support.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/intrapsyc.com/2012-2-20_161928_RGMTPicturex5002012.64x64.png Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    549
    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HU/hungryjack20/IMG_1281_edit_2.64x64.jpg Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    349
    Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SU/suzmsw/2011-9-2_184634_Thisone.64x64.JPG Suzanne's Avatar

    Suzanne

    Therapist, LCSW

    Satisfied Customers:

    338
    Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency