Parenting Teens (12-17) Community
Need direction for 14 y/o
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This patient support community is for discussions relating to the challenges of parenting teens (age 12-17), including physical, emotional, and cognitive development, handling peer pressure, activities & sports, choosing a college, and relationships.

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Need direction for 14 y/o

My 14 y/o daughter knows her parents' standards when it comes to dating. We think she's too young and told her we would discuss it when she's 16 and can display responsibility and maturity. I caught her the other day walking home from school hugging and kissing a boy. She later revealed to me that she's been doing this behind our backs for three months. I've since had a sit-down with her reiterating our expectations and she'e no longer allowed to walk home from school for the rest of the school year - someone will be picking her up. Is there anything further I can do to make it clear I don't condone this and to get her to respect our guidelines?
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Don't know what to suggest, as my parents treated me differently than you are describing, when I was 14.  They went over what they expected, but they did let me have a date.  Maybe because they knew I wouldn't cross any line.

Your problem is twofold, the smaller one being that you want her to behave a certain way.  The bigger one is that she has violated what you instructed her to do and has been doing so for three months.  For that latter, I don't see your restrictions on walking home from school as that unreasonable, except that it puts you or your husband into the annoying position of having to pick her up.

If you only had the first problem, that she clearly does not see that the way you want her to behave is how she thinks she should behave, without the violation of trust involved, I would recommend that the two of you have a serious talk.  Some parents don't want their kids to date because they are afraid their child will have sex at a too-young age.  If that's your motivation, you may as well come out and say so.  And then talk, and really listen, to what she thinks about your assumption that she will go ahead and have sex at 14 (she might be offended by your low expectations of her).  Sometimes it is that the parent thinks the child is being led by a horny boyfriend.  If so, again, tell her.  A 14-year-old has no idea what a target they are, and how unconcerned a horndog guy can be about her well-being or her best interests.  You are tossing around phrases like "until she can display responsibility and maturity."  You clearly think she is irresponsible and immature.  Again, talk about this.  Give her actual, concrete examples.  Don't just toss around labels (especially ones designed to offend her).  Show her some material on the maturing teenage brain and point out that what seems right to a younger teenager might be more clearly seen by the same person later as a bad idea.

Anyway, from the way you are saying it, it sounds as though you have given  her a pretty one-way list of instructions, don't do this and here are the rules.  She deserves to know the why and wherefore of each rule, and the consequences, and she deserves to have a say about the rules (even if you don't change them).  A teenager does need her parent's protection and guidance, but that does not mean you fail to explain some of your rationales and reasons.  She will be out of the house in only 4 years.  She needs to be able to understand what is behind a blanket set of rules.
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