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Sneaky Teen

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Dear Life Coach,

My 15-year-old daughter is depressed. She has been sulking around the house for the past two weeks. I prodded her and prodded her until she told me what was wrong. Here is what she said. Her best friend stole her boyfriend from her. She saw them holding hands somewhere while she was on a bus going to town. I did not know that my daughter had a boyfriend. I wanted to ask her if she had been intimate with this boy, but I did not. I was too afraid of what the answer might be.{{more}} I thought we had a very good relationship; we talk about everything (or so I thought), and kept an open relationship (but apparently not). She is usually so quiet and obedient. I trusted my daughter and now I find out that she is just a little sneak. I was raging mad, but I was able to hold it together without doing anything because I wanted all the information from her. I asked her when and where she met this boy and how often she had seen him, and how she got the chance to meet him. It turned out that she was seeing him whenever I asked her to go to the shop, or on the way home from school (she takes the bus). He is a neighborhood boy, about age 19 according to her. He is often hanging out on the road by the shop. I am so upset. My daughter said that she did not tell me because she knew that I would say no to her desire to be with him, and that I would be mad. Now I am scared, because I feel that I cannot trust my daughter anymore. Where do we go from here?

Upset Mother (UM)

Dear UM,

Your daughter having a boyfriend behind your back has been a real shocker for you.

Your Situation:

Several factors are at work here: heterosexual relationship, brain development and emotional maturity, sexuality, sexuality education, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, mother-daughter relationship, father-figure, among others. I will address these briefly.

Heterosexual Relationship

One of the developmental tasks of adolescents is that of establishing heterosexual relationships. This is important since adolescents need to learn how to relate to the opposite sex and later choose a life partner.

Brain Developmental and Emotional Maturity

Research has shown that during adolescence the brain as well as the rest of body continue to develop and that although adolescents are capable of very strong emotions, their brains (prefrontal cortex) are not adequately developed to the point where they can control these passions. So, in essence, adolescents are emotionally immature and therefore not ready to handle intimate relationships.

Sexuality

Adolescents are in the process of sexual maturation. As such, the incorporation of sexuality into their identity is an important developmental task. Adolescents also have an almost insatiable curiosity about sexuality and as a result many young persons become involved in sexual exploration and experimentation.

Sexuality Education

It is important for parents to educate their children about physical maturation at puberty and continue the dialogue on into adolescence, focusing age appropriately on abstinence.

Boyfriend/Girlfriend Relationship

Boyfriend/girlfriend relationships can create problems for teenagers if they are hidden and/or not monitored by parents.

Mother-Daughter Relationship

Conflicts between parents and adolescents tend to escalate during this period of development. So, it is good that you have a relationship with your daughter and some level of communication, even though she has been dishonest with you lately.

Father-Figure

You have not mentioned anything about your daughter’s father. Adolescents need a father or father figure in their lives in order to ensure their healthy development. Girls without fathers or father-figures tend to gravitate more towards intimate relationships with males prematurely, in an effort to fill the void for a father-figure in their lives.

What to Do:

Maintain Open Communication

Although your daughter has let you down, it is important to continue to maintain an open communication with her. Remind her of how much you love her. When you are calm enough, explain to her your expectations for her. Avoid conflicts also, as this will lead to further problems. See more at: http://www.dynacii.blogspot.com.

Sexuality Education

If you have not yet started to dialogue with your daughter about sexuality, now is the time to begin. This should be used for the purposes of education, guidance and the sharing of family values.

Increase Supervision

It is clear that your daughter is in need of increased supervision; going to the shop alone is perhaps not a good option any longer. If she is an only child, going on errands or going to and from school with other teenagers may be a good idea. Also be sure to monitor your daughter’s cell phone and computer.

Freedom/Independence

Allow your daughter some freedom and independence within the boundaries of supervision. Teenagers who are too restricted tend to become rebellious.

Interaction with Positive Peers

Arrange times for social interaction for your daughter with positive peers (both males and females, e.g. family outings/gatherings). Also ensure that your daughter is involved in creative activities with responsible adults’ supervision, e.g. sports or youth clubs.

Father Figure

If your daughter is without a father, ensure that there is a positive adult male role model in your daughter’s life such as an uncle.

UM, teenagers are prone to infatuation; hopefully your daughter will get over this soon.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to dynacii@gmail.com. To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.

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