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aconcernedparent
aconcernedp... asks:
Q:

3AM my husband found shoes and keys by the front door, size 13. My daughter was not sleeping but having sex with her boyfriend while we were asleep!

As a 47 yr old parent of 2 girls, I thought we had raised them to make good decisions, think for themselves, respect others and have a moral compass that pointed north. Im not naive enough to think they will not make mistakes along the way, but recently my youngest daughter has been on a campaign to see how many household moral rules she can break in one week. Her father, my husband of almost 20 years, and I have been divorced for 6 years. We have both remarried and take pride in our ability to co-parent both girls while being apart. We communicate well and try to abide by the same rules in each house. Our almost 16 yr old, has been caught in the last year getting drunk, smoking weed, leaving the house unauthorized and lying to us about it. This week, however, she really decided to test the boundaries of sanity. She left the house with my car at night driving around to get food, we found her having sex in the next room with her boyfriend, and just last night I smell smoke and she is on the patio outside smoking cig. She said she needed to relax from all the stress she had been under this week. She has been grounded the entire week at my house; however, she is going to her dads tomorrow and he doesnt know any of this yet. She does seem genuinely sorry, but I dont trust her at all. I am at a loss for what else to do? She obviously isnt planning to obey our rules. I feel like I have been slapped in the face 10 times this week. Any other parents of teenage girls have any thoughts
Member Added on Jun 25, 2012
I spoke with her dad and we had a 2 hour sit down talk with her last night. We took away her permit, phone, computer and she is grounded until we can figure this all out. We have decided to seek help from a local counselor who specializes in teenage issues. She is on "lock down" until we get some help and get to the bottom of what''s behind this behavior. My heart is aching, but we must go through this together if we are ever going to come out with our family and our daughter healthier. Any other ideas would be appreciated.
In Topics: Teen issues, Teen sexuality and dating
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 28, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Hello,

We're so glad you decided to reach out for some help with your parenting issue. As you expressed earlier in your message, it is very important that you and her father are able to co-parent even while in separate homes. Due to this, it is important that he is aware of the way she has been acting. If she has been acting this way in your home, there is a good chance she may test the boundaries are her father's house as well. It's very important that you and dad continue to have similar rules and expectations in your homes, and that you both discipline those rules and expectations in the same way when they're broken. A lack of consistency can create some confusion for a 16 year old, and may lead her to believe that she can continue to push the limits which is definitely not what you are looking for.

Sit down with your daughter and talk to her clearly about which rules she has been breaking. When you have this conversation, be willing to listen to what she has to say. Being a teenager does provide certain peer, media, and social pressures that may be pulling your daughter off of the path of her moral compass. Many parents feel as though, "My word is law, that's final and do not question it." This is an unhealthy way to approach a conversation with your daughter because it doesn't do anything to teach them why those things are bad, what she should be doing differently, and how she can avoid the temptations to misbehave.

For some tips on effective consequences for teens, check out this link: http://www.parenting.org/article/consequences-teens

Remember, if you feel like having this type of a conversation would be unproductive or if you don't feel comfortable in your ability to facilitate that kind of a talk, you could always enlist the help of a counselor to make the process easier and possibly even more productive.

We hope this helps!

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
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