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My Teenage Daughter

Parenting a smaller child involves a lot of running around, sleepless nights, worries about studies and so on, but parenting teens often means a lot of heartache for many parents.

Here are some of the common complaints, and solutions for each situation.

She is always on the telephone

Many parents hate the fact that their daughter spends so much time on the telephone. Not only does thus run up the phone bill, but she also neglects her studies or other things that should be a higher priority. Instead of shouting at your daughter for constantly being on the phone, make it a condition that she should first finish off her homework, her project, or a few hours of studies before calling up her friends. Also, show her the phone bill if it is excessive, and instead of yelling at her, let her know that it is too high, and if she wants to speak for this long, she should get her friends to call her back.

Her friends mean the world to her

Your daughter may be closer to her friends than she is to anyone else. If she has siblings, this will naturally upset parents, especially if she is not spending enough time with them or with her relatives. She may also often resist going for family outings, preferring instead to spend time with her friends.

If your child is an only child, chances that her cousins will stand with her through thick and thin, are slim. Think back to your relationship with your cousins. Perhaps you are very good friends with a cousin, due to which she will always be there with you, but there are so many others who you meet only at weddings or funerals. You know they would pay a token visit if you were in the hospital, if your daughter was getting married, but how many would actually be there, holding her hand, during her time of need? Her friends, or siblings, would be there. True, if she has ten friends how, her friendship with all ten will not last, but two or three friends will stand by her through life. So let her invest in these friendships. Instead of trying to pull her away so she spends more time with you, why don't you try to meet the parents of these friends? Invite them over for dinner, and get to know them a little better.

She isn't very close to her brother/sister

If your child has siblings and they don't get along very well, it may pain you to see this. However, don't force a relationship on them. You will only make the situation awkward. Instead, plan holidays together with the extended family, so everyone gets to spend time with everyone, and leave it at that. Remember, if siblings are not very close as yet, they will certainly rediscover each other when both are a little older and more settled.

She has a boyfriend

Try and be a friend to your daughter. The first thing you need to ask yourself is this: can my daughter confide in me? If your daughter is seeing someone, can she come and speak to you about it? Remember, it is far better that she can come and speak about her troubles to you, that she acts behind your back. Also, wouldn't you rather she take advice about her troubles with her boyfriend from you, than from her friends?

Also, once you know of the situation, you can always lay down certain boundaries. When Madhu's 17-year-old daughter Rhea told her she had a boyfriend, Madhu, although from a very traditional background, didn't insist that Rhea break up with him and focus on her studies. She instead told Rhea that she could meet him when other friends were around, but could not meet him alone. Also, he was welcome to come to their house when Madhu or her husband were home, but she could not go over to his place. Similarly, Madhu didn't ever stop them from talking on the phone. Rhea would regularly let her mother know what was going on, and now, after seeing each other for more than 6 years, they are getting married.

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