Young teen act­ing out needs to find new role

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: I am writ­ing re­gard­ing my al­most 13-year-old daugh­ter. She’s a sweet girl but lately has been in­volved in a lot of drama. Re­cently my hus­band and I saw what we be­lieve to be two hick­eys on her neck, one on each side. She has de­nied, de­nied, de­nied it, but we know what we know.

I’m wor­ried be­cause a few months ago she was called into her coun­selor’s of­fice for “roast­ing.” She was asked to roast two spe­cific girls, and the in­for­ma­tion got back to them and back to the coun­selor. Our daugh­ter is not al­lowed to date, and al­though she has friends who started dat­ing at 10 or 11, I don’t al­low her to go to their homes. I do al­low them to come to our home in­stead.

I just need to know how to han­dle this sit­u­a­tion be­fore it gets out of con­trol. I have tried talk­ing calmly and pa­tiently with her, but it doesn’t work. She be­lieves she knows it all and I know noth­ing. — UN­SURE IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR UN­SURE: Girls who mock oth­ers and say cruel things are less “nice” than you would like to be­lieve. It’s a form of bul­ly­ing. You need to nip this in the bud. A way to han­dle your daugh­ter’s mis­be­hav­ior would be to in­sti­tute con­se­quences for get­ting called to the coun­selor’s of­fice and/or ly­ing to you and your hus­band. By con­se­quences, I mean the re­moval of priv­i­leges — cell­phone, tele­vi­sion, in­ter­net, or hav­ing friends over for a pe­riod of time.

Also, if your daugh­ter is com­ing home with hick­eys, she may have too much un­su­per­vised time on her hands. So if you haven’t al­ready, in­volve her in SU­PER­VISED ac­tiv­i­ties such as church youth groups, sports and spe­cial-in­ter­est clubs if her school of­fers them. If she’s go­ing to a friend’s house, be sure an adult will be there.

Par­ent­ing is a full-time job. In time your daugh­ter will ma­ture and this, too, will pass. But for now she needs watch­ing.

DEAR ABBY: My best friend — who is 19 — was con­cerned that she might be preg­nant be­cause her pe­riod was late. She told me that she and her hus­band (yes, she’s mar­ried) have been hav­ing un­pro­tected sex. Lo and be­hold, she took mul­ti­ple tests and she is preg­nant.

I know they are not ready to have a baby, even though she says she’s ex­cited. They are cur­rently liv­ing in a ho­tel, and she doesn’t have a job. Her hus­band’s mom doesn’t even know they’re mar­ried. I feel bad, but it makes me not want to be her friend any­more be­cause of the choices she’s made and where she has ended up. Any ad­vice? — DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

DEAR DON’T KNOW: Yes. If you pre­fer not to be part of her drama — and it doesn’t take a crys­tal ball to see that there is likely to be plenty — back off. And tell her hon­estly that you are not equipped to han­dle her prob­lems right now.

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