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Daughter lies, skips school, and uses drugs...

My daughter continually lies to us, skips schools, refuses to follow rules, she's already been in drug rehab and I recently found out she was smoking pot, she doesn't want to live at home, she thinks she can live out on her own and she's 16 1/2. Any suggestions?

Hi A.,

It’s O.K. for your daughter to seek independence, but you still need to know where she’s going and whom she’ll be with. Don’t assume every “teen” activity is properly supervised or safe unless you have chaperoned it or have otherwise satisfied yourself. All kids want a little fun, adventure and to “hang out” with their peers. You are probably going to have to work with other like-minded parents to provide safe supervised outlets for them.

Strictly from the standpoint of keeping your daughter out of trouble, help her pick a core group of friends who you are comfortable with. You should know them and their parents. Undoubtedly, next to properly supervising your child, her friends will have the greatest impact on her actions and what she is exposed to.

You don’t have the time -- and she doesn’t have the attention span -- to teach her what to do in every possible situation. She should trust her conscience -- if it feels or seems wrong, dangerous or unfair -- it probably is.

You have the absolute right and responsibility to set the rules. Where she goes, who she goes with, how late she stays out, what she wears, etc.. These are all examples of boundaries. We have all seen the no and low boundary kids. They are the ones who skip school, stay out as late as they like, drink, and experiment with drugs and sex. These kids also have that strong adolescent need for the company of friends. Since most parents have boundaries that prohibit their children from joining them, they are constantly on the look out to make new friends that can join them. Don’t let your child be one of them.

Talking alone is not going to solve all the conflicts that are inevitably going to occur between you and your daughter. But communication is at the base of the parenting pyramid. You can’t set clear boundaries, educate, counsel or coach with out it. There are times and situations were active listening and exploring feelings are appropriate. There are also times were a more directive approach is needed. Remember “out-of-control teens” are experts at verbal judo. Don’t expect them to thank you for your wisdom or see your logic when you have to make an unpopular decision.

Finally, look for appropriate opportunities for your adolescent to start solving her problems on her own. Begin to talk about college, her getting married, finding a job, eventually living on her own, etc. Encourage her independence-seeking.

Much more on this in my ebook:

Here’s to a better home environment, 


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