"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

16 Year Old Daughter's Continued Rebellion

Question

I wrote a few months ago about my daughter who I caught drinking. It turns out that it wasn't a blip on the radar with her. Given her behavior of late (defensive, sneaky), I tracked her location on the phone today and found out that she went to a 'vape' store instead of a restaurant like she said she was going to. (she knows we track her location). I then reviewed her text messages on her computer and found out that she in fact was going to a vape store and bringing a lot of cash from babysitting. And I also found out that, based on responses to friends, she's been drinking and admitted to smoking pot. It appears she's continued with rebellious behavior, and she's on the path of self destruction. I would prefer not to admit I looked on her device and found out this info. I also want to be sure she pays the consequences for these actions. Certainly, signing up for the drivers license test (she has a permit now) is not happening anytime soon. We've had to recently ban her from driving with friends who recently got their license as well. You would have thought we were pulling teeth without novocaine. She kept telling us, we were the only parents who care and the cops in town don't care either. Well, we care and we are following the laws/rules. I'd love your suggestions on the latest findings today (vape, drinking/pot, accessing her computer). She's been claiming we've been 'up her butt' about everything lately and we drive her crazy and we need to relax. She says she can't go anywhere without us texting her and checking in (this is true, but given her prior issue, we've been more cautious). She also wants sleepovers all the time, either at our house or at others. Thanks so much

Answer

Hello, and thank you for writing back. I'm so sorry to learn that the behavior has not only continued, but seems to have escalated. It looks like it's time to lower the proverbial boom.

She will hate you for a while, but that's okay. Your job, as I wrote previously, is to ensure her safety to the extent that you can. Because she continues to lie, she loses ALL privileges. (Remember that anything beyond shelter, food, health care, education and clothing are privileges she can live without.) No sleepovers anywhere, no parties, no restaurants, nothing. This would be a good time for her to ramp up her babysitting business, as she'll have plenty of time to work.

Please do not feel any guilt over checking her phone/computer. You own those things, not your daughter. As for her complaint that you're "up her butt" ~ well, that's your job and she's given you just cause to not trust her. Whether her friends' parents or the police care is immaterial to your cause.

I hope you can do this for her. I know it will be difficult but, at this juncture, I believe it is the only course of action that will deliver the proper message in a meaningful and memorable way. Good luck, hang in there, and let us know if you need further support.

Warmly,
Wendy Faucett
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
wendyfaucett@gmail.com
Facebook: Love & Leadership Parent Coaching

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