We received this concern form a mother who is worried sick about her daughter and doesn’t know how to react. Being both the parent who needs to set ground rules, ensure her daughter’s safety and do that in a positive manner which will still make her feel that she could confide in you isn’t an easy task. When girls hit puberty, they start to feel emotional as well as physiological changes that stimulate their attraction to the opposite sex. Unfortunately, as a mother, this is when your fears and concerns about your daughter’s safety increase.
In this article, our positive parenting specialist, Rana Hany, gives a few tips on how to react if you find out that your teenage daughter is in love with someone and acting upon it:
- The first thing you should do in this situation is to try your best to befriend your teenage daughter. That way you’ll gain her trust and be able to give her advice that she’ll actually listen to as she’ll feel more connected and comfortable around you and share her secrets.
- As a parent, it is important not to belittle your teenage daughter’s feelings, but instead, befriend and reassure her.
- Respect her wishes if she doesn’t want to talk and do not force her or even punish her by being upset. Instead, make sure she understands that you’re always by her side, without judgment, and that whenever she’s ready she can confide in you with anything.
- Respect her privacy regardless of how you found out she was in a relationship with someone. This doesn’t give you the right to rummage through her belongings or make her feel she’s under your observation. Once a child knows your keeping an eye on them, it only makes them become more cautious.
- Remind your daughter of the importance of boundaries and rules that are not only set within your household but also within your religion. You can set the rules together on the methods appropriate when it comes to communication, going out, or dealing with her boyfriend, and the consequences of breaking the rules.
- When your daughter confides in you, ask her how she feels when she speaks to her boyfriend and reassure her that you believe her feelings to be true. You can even tell her stories of your teenage years and how you felt the first time you fell in love to reassure her that what she’s going through is normal.
- Talk to her about adolescence and the changes that will occur, physical and emotional, from a scientific and logical point of view. This will help her understand what to expect and also consider the fact that these emotions could be temporary.
- Ask her permission to get to know the person she’s in contact with, without giving an impression on how you feel about her relationship. You can suggest meeting him at the club or inviting him to her birthday party along with her other friends to get acquainted with him in an informal environment.
- Try to maintain your quality time with your daughter as it allows you to keep a healthy relationship. Based on positive parenting methods, a child should have quality time with their parent once a month at least where the parental boundaries are put aside and you just hang out together as friends.
- Try to keep her busy with useful things that will take up her time such as sports or hobbies to prevent her from having too much free time on her hands.
As a parent, it’s important to understand that a teenager’s emotions are not yet developed and can be confusing even for them. They don’t always know what they want or what they’re feeling and so, your role as a parent is to support them, contain them and befriend them to guarantee their safety.