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My almost 15-yr-old daughter is an only child. She is a little shy & quiet. So far, she's not boy-crazy like others her age. About a year ago, we moved into a large apartment complex. When we first moved in, I suggested she meet the 16-yr-old girl who lived above us. She told me she knew of this girl & I wouldn't want her being friends with her because she was very promiscuous. The girl wound up getting expelled from their high school shortly after school started for having sex at school. The girl now goes to a school where all the expelled kids have to go which is very strict. Recently, my daughter has befriended this girl. She says the girl has changed & isn't promiscuous anymore. The girl's mother doesn't appear to demonstrate good parenting skills. She is encouraging their friendship because she knows my daughter is a good girl. As soon as we get home, the girl immediately comes over to meet our daughter on the patio. Recently, boys have been coming over, too. I really don't want my daughter being friends with this girl but, I don't know how to keep them apart & control the situation. If we ban the friendship, it'll just make her want to be friends with the girl even more. I certainly don't wanther giving my daughter any advice about boys. I've been trying to find things to do away from home to keep them apart as much as possible but that's not working. We had just signed a new 12-mo. lease before all this started so we can't move. How can I handle this situation effectively?
This is such a tough issue and I can see why you are uncertain as to how to proceed. You are right--if you ban the friendship, they'll become more secretive about it, which can put your daughter in greater jeopardy. I would suggest talking directly to your daughter's friend. Let her know of your concerns and encourage her to give her side and share her feelings. I would let both of them know what your rules are (e.g. no entertaining of boys without supervision) and that if she wants to be welcome at your house, you expect her to follow them. Let her and your daughter know that if the rules are violated, you will be talking with her mother about it as well. Another option include inviting her to join you and your daughter for supervised activities. With regard to information about boys, this is the time for you to start having those conversations with her. One last thought--if your daughter is shy, she may not know how to make new friends. Encourage her to get involved in school activities, so that she can make new friends and not rely solely on your neighbor for socializing. Above all, keep the lines of communication open with your daughter.
Posted On 2009-05-25 23:13:33
You're doing well in not forbidding the friendship, but also wanting to keep an eye on developments. Whether or not you are home when your daughter gets home, you can lay down a few rules, such as no boys inside the apartment (and blame it on you - this can help take the pressure off your daughter - it's not her choice). Also, can you sign your daughter up for some daytime activities that would either get her away from the apartment, or talk to the mom and have both girls sign up for some activity of which you approve, to steer them both into good/fun use of their time? I know summer means more free time but it may open up more outside (away from home) programs to fill the time. Is there a church group where they can volunteer for a summer program as helpers? How about a parks and rec center, or library that could use that age of volunteer to help younger children. And definitely, tell you daughter that you trust and honor her - it's the other girl you can't control, and you want to be sure that your daughter isn't put into situations that make her uncomfortable. And maybe some weekend you and the girls (and the other mom?) could even go do something that works with your value system, even if it's just going out for ice cream. You and your daughter do not have an obligation to be "the good influence" but maybe you can use it to have the upper hand. And all of this may work out - we've had several "friendships" with questionable girls/families, and they petered out after a year or less, as other friends came over and took up free time.
Posted On 2009-05-25 18:41:37
Raising teens is tough. You don't mention any fathers, so I'm assuming you both are single moms as well, another layer of challenge. What's positive, however, is that you sound like a mom who is present and wants to do the best you can for your daughter. Somewhere deep down your daughter knows that, too. I think you're right to think that banning the friendship will make it all the more attractive. And even if you had a month left on your lease, uprooting your life every time you face a challenge won't solve anything. You'll find challenges wherever you go. Driving yourself crazy thinking up ways to get your daughter out of the house isn't going to solve anything either, and will just eventually exhaust and frustrate both you and your daughter.
But the fact that there are no easy answers doesn't mean that there aren't things you can do. Rather than "doing" anything, first off, being in the right frame of mind to deal with the situation is paramount, so try not to be scared or let your mind leap to the conclusion that your daughter's entire future is going to be ruined because of this friendship. Have confidence that you've raised your daughter well and given her a healthy sense of what is right and wrong. You'll need to accept the fact, too, that she's going to make mistakes, that you can't prevent them all and if she's going to grow up and learn how to make good choices in life, you'll need to give her some wings - both to succeed and fail. Too much control and your daughter might rebel, resulting in perhaps much worse mistakes in the long run and a closing off of communication with you. Talk to your daughter and let her know you trust her, but also your concerns. Keep the lines of communication open and let her know she can come to you about anything and that you won't flip out. And try not to let her smell your fear. Instead of whisking your daughter away, maybe invite the other girl to go on an outing with you. That will give you a chance to get to know her better. Keeping her close by also means you can keep a closer eye on the situation. It's immensely better that she's running over to your house rather than the other way around. Perhaps invite her mom over for coffee as well.
Years ago one of my daughters invited about a dozen girls over for a sleepover. One of the girls was acting out and making the other girls cry to such an extent that I finally had to call her mom to take her home. Initially I wondered what kind of family I was dealing with. Years later, I found out her mother was in the midst of chemotherapy, and the little girl was obviously going through a difficult time. While I still think I made the right decision to send the girl home (for the sake of the other children in my home), I realized my assumption about the girl and her family was wrong. The other mom in your story may be going through challenges you don't know about, too. If she wants her daughter to associate with yours, it sounds like she's hoping your daughter can be a good influence and really does want the best for her daughter, too. And maybe your daughter will rub off.
Please don't mistake my advice for any indication that I believe in sacrificing the welfare of our own children or that I believe parents shouldn't step in when necessary to protect children and prevent disaster. Keeping a close watch on the situation is definitely still a good idea as is encouraging friendships between your daughter and other girls with like-minded parents. Maybe look into afterschool sports for your daughter as well. They're a great way to encourage positive self-esteem and keep girls involved in wholesome activities, as are part-time jobs or involvement in volunteer activities.
All the best.
Posted On 2009-05-14 10:22:57
Your daughter showed some great sense when you first asked her to become friends with this girl. It seems that you and your daughter are able to talk, which is great. And I assume that you already chatted about the girl's promiscuity because your daughter tells you that this girl has changed. Is it time to trust her? I know in my own family my wife wanted to control our daughters more than I did and I kept pointing out that if we can't raise them to be thoughtful, careful, and caring, as soon as they're away from us (whether that is at school, on a weekend, or away at college), they'll try all those things they've been thinking about and won't have our guidance close at hand. Question: are the boys coming over when YOU are there? Perhaps you can set boundaries that only one friend is allowed over if you are NOT there and also that she should be the only one at a friend's house if that friend's parents aren't home. This way you might take away the appearance of keeping your daughter from boys while limiting the numbers of friends there when you aren't.
Posted On 2009-05-11 12:21:13