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Monday, May 5, 2008

My child is thirteen and she has begun her independence by wanting individual privacy. She makes decision like parents should not be in her room or that she shouldn’t have to tell us where she is going. Adulthood independence does need to be gained, but as a parent I still feel I need to be a parent and balance her teenage impulses with the respect I as a parent deserves.
For example, I signed my daughter up for Summer Camp and she goes on a rampage. She says flat out that she is not going. She complains that no body ever ask her anything. That we should stop making decisions for her. As far as I see it; if I just leave this child alone she'll sit and watch television all day or spend all her time surfing the web. And I just cannot do that. She has freedom and abuses it. So I suggested sending her to Costa Rica for the Summer? She says no.

Last summer she stayed home and complained so I think she needs some time away. Friends say, I am overprotective and needs to backoff. But how can I? As parent’s our role includes protecting the child at any cost. Knowing where our child is going to be and who he or she going to be with is part of a parent’s protective role. A parent’s role is also to be a friend to his or her child. A friend trusts his or her friends and believes friends will do right by him or her. Discussing with your teenager why you want to know when and where he or she is going can help both you and your teenager realize what each other expects. Let your teenager know that you would like the information for safety reasons and to give you peace of mind.

True, as a teenager she does need to be able to establish her independence and privacy, but I know my child and the activities and friends she is involved with. The stuff she writes and the people she converse with on her IM tells me alot; so then I need to do something. I know right now that, she is crossing the established boundaries, because she is testing limits lately. Oftentimes, I try to reestablish the boundaries. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. But, I try. One of my friends, says, sometimes, letting teenagers commit the mistake before parents step in to be parent can help them learn that there are consequences for their wrong actions and decisions. However, it is also important that the child knows that parents trust him or her to do the right thing.

Well, I try to keep an open dialogue ; especially in these changing times and try to understand the needs of my child from her point of view. It's very difficult but it's helping make the right decisions in being a parent and a friend. Parenting is hard work. Children do not come with a manual.

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