My daughter wants more independence...
Written by Felicia Kirk on 28/05/2012
Q. My 15 year old daughter wants more freedom and for me to allow her out more with her friends, she accuses me of being too over protective. I am afraid that she is still quite immature for her age and won’t be able to see danger, she is easily led and I believe quite vulnerable, but she says that I am ruining her life. What should I do? My other concern is she is very interested in boys and I am afraid she will be influenced by them too much. It’s really affecting our relationship as I get angry and upset with her for always wanting to stay over at friends’ houses. She won’t let me monitor her use of social networking sites and says it’s an invasion of her privacy, also her phone. I am not sure whether I should ‘let her go’ and have her freedom because if I don’t she will end up resenting me and being very unhappy.
A. The reassuring news is that both your daughter’s needs for increased independence and your desire and natural inclination to protect her from taking irresponsible risks (as well as your heightened awareness of dangers) are both a very normal part of being the parent of a 15 year old girl! It is perfectly normal for her to be interested in going out more and to be interested in boys of course; she is asserting her independence and this is actually a sign that you have done all the right things as a parent. You have fostered in her a sense of growing self-reliance and self-confidence. Her need for increased autonomy is naturally accompanied by the desire both to connect more with her peer group and to experiment with how she is going to be when away from you.
Trust and communication are key to getting through this. Trust in your own parenting: you have given her a sound moral compass to enable her to navigate new situations in a safe and sensible way. Communicate your expectations and, in a calm and patient way, continue to set boundaries on all the important issues, particularly on the use of social networking sites. She is seeking a greater level of freedom and you will play a vital part in helping her to keep everything in balance in her life – school, friends, boys, social networking. It is never easy and talking to other parents who will perhaps be going through the same thing may also help.