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My teenage daughter who is in high school is starting to go to parties. I am very worried that she will fall into the wrong crowd or slip into bad habits. Besides having an open relationship and talking to her what else can I do to show her the right track? I do not want the information coming from her "oldfashioned" mom who does not know what is going on.


Gary Pritchard Replied: As far as showing her the "right track"… its sounds like you are on it by your concern (and I'm sure by your example) plus getting good input from different sources is a great start. Here are a couple thoughts my wife and I have used that may be helpful. We always let them know we trusted them to make good decisions (choices). Here's the way I explained it to our kids. "Life is a bowl of choices" all the choices we make develop into our habits.. All our habits are what form our character. When decisions get tough that's when our true character is tested.(practice making decisions is key) One helpful concept: We called it the "wall of trust" …(dialogue went something like this.. "The Wall grows taller and stronger with every situation we trust you in and you make good decisions( more privileges -a little more freedom.), Conversely with bad decisions …the "wall " gets knocked down to nothing (no privileges or freedom) and we start building the ‘wall of trust' once again. We were always sorry when "they"(kids) lost their privileges but reminded them it was their decision(s) and consequent actions that caused the unfortunate setback.(Empowering)- shouldn't blame you Another concept was. "No questions asked" Most kids know in their ‘gut' when they are in a "bad situation". We let ours know there was always a way out. We had an understanding at anytime, anywhere they could call questions asked and we would be there to pick them up..(I suggest picking them up around the corner away from the situation.. less direct peer pressure …and we usually found out more the next day anyway) Have faith in all the "blueprinting" you have done with your daughter over the years .. Yes ,she will probably make a few mistakes and that's how "we" all learn… better practice decision making and learning now because once in college they are basically making decisions on their own. Try not to worry…(easier said.). They always end up making us proud!
Posted On 2008-03-24 20:57:29
Ashley Hammond Replied: Asking questions, insisting on answers and following up on the questions and answers is the key. You are right to assume that your daughter is going to meet the wrong crowd and is going to be put in a position where she will need to make a choice good or bad. Our job is to minimize this risk, give her the tools to say no and offer a safety net when she makes a mistake. Always establish EXACTLY where she is going, no tell no go. Ask if parents will be present. (no go to any party with no parents)Ask for the name and phone numbers of the houses that she will be going to and be sure to call and check before departure. Set reasonable curfews and always go to do pick up. Offer your own home as a venue allowing her and and her friends a "safe" option. Be sure and talk to your daughter after the parties, ask the tough questions about alcohol and drugs, were they present were you offered etc. Praise good decision making and offer alternatives on a saturday night that are also fun with her friends. Remember teenage parties are mobile and will move to any house that does not have parents present remind her that if she goes to a new location then you MUST be called. Assume that alcohol will be involved and at a minimum marajuna will likely be present. Talk to your daughter about these substances. Explain your feelings about these drugs and that you do NOT giver her permission to try them. One caveat... do not be hypocritcal. Many parents go out on a Saturday night to their own parties, enjoy some drinks and readily drive home with too much alcohol inside them. This is too common and causes many teenagers to say look at you... we have no comeback when we also break ther law. Good luck.
Posted On 2008-03-23 07:48:51
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: Your feelings of concern about your daughter staying on the right path throughout high school are, of course, shared by every parent of a teen. But I'm wondering if your daughter has shown good judgment in the past. For example, has she chosen friendships with kids whom you like and whose choices and attitudes you approve of? Has she taken her school work seriously? Has she treated other kids, even those who were not particularly close friends, with respect? Has she been a cooperative and contributing member of your family? If the answer to these questions is "yes"... then I'd say you have, for many years now, been showing her "the right track." I wish I could have a dialogue with you and find out why, exactly you are just now... "very worried that she will fall into the wrong crowd or slip into bad habits." Kids who have a solid sense of self and a strong set of values (which are learned and reinforced by their parents) are much less vulnerable to peer pressure than those who haven't had that kind of parental guidance and support. So... unless you've had warning signs along the road to high school that your daughter has trouble making healthy choices when she's out of your sight, then I'd suggest you try not to let your fears and worries blind you to fully seeing your daughter as a level-head young woman and trusting her judgment. If you've had warning signs, then you need to keep talking openly about your expectations for her behavior... and the consequences that will be enforced should she choose to break family agreements. Of course, modeling the kind of behavior you want her to emulate is, in fact, the best way to "teach" your children. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie
Posted On 2008-03-21 18:20:06
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