Please look for these arrows throughout your email for my responses: ===>
First of all I can't tell you what a blessing your website has been to me. I was literally on the floor crying and praying that I would find something, someone to help me with my teenage daughter. I then got on the internet and typed in teen parenting and found your website. What a lifesaver it has been for me. Thank you so much.
Now, the problem I am currently having is....you say to only do one lesson a week. That would be okay but I feel like I'm in panic mode. I need to learn all this stuff really fast so I can start implementing it asap before my daughter totally loses it.
===> Only do one session per week. When parents implement a bunch of new changes overnight, it is often the kiss of failure.
Just to give you some background......she is a 16 year old girl who has decided overnight it seems that life is boring and she needs to spice things up a bit by hanging out with new friends, drinking, totally disrespecting us as parents, etc..... She is in full force rebellion.
When we (my husband and I) found out she was drinking (by reading her texts) we grounded her for a month.
===> As you’ll discover when you get entirely through the program, 7 days is the absolute most you should ground – but 3 days works best! I’m not going elaborate since this is all covered in the eBook.
Now my life is hell. She hates me and has said some very hurtful things to me. I don't like the kids she's now hanging out with, she doesn't want to go to church anymore. She has changed overnight. I know she's planning on sneaking out and/or running away. I took your parenting test and am sad to say I scored a 90.....I've been way too overindulgent. She's the only girl of 4 boys and has been the princess of the house. Now I'm trying to change everything and I am so stressed out. I've been good about not showing my emotions to her but inside I'm a mess.
===> Peer group influence falls into the “pick your battles carefully” category. You will do well to discern what things you can and cannot control …and then focus on those things you can control. Who she is “hanging with” is beyond your control (unless you want to lock her up somewhere).
So I guess the questions I have are.....Was I wrong for reading her texts? Should I continue to do so?
===> If she bought her cell phone and is paying the bill, then yes. If not, then no.
I have now lost all trust in her cause she lies constantly so I feel the need to read them so I can know the truth of what she's up to.
===> The larger issue here (as you will discover) is: What is she doing to EARN cell phone privileges?
Also, is a month too long a punishment for drinking?
===> Without a doubt.
And should I forbid her to see these friends?
===> You won’t be able to sufficiently control this.
What if she does sneak out?
===> Warn her up front that if she sneaks out, you will file a runaway charge.
There's one boy in particular that I'm afraid she'll end up having sex with based on their conversations and right now that's the last thing I need.
===> The only person she will truly listen to will be another female (younger than 21-years of age) who got pregnant at an early age. If you know anyone like this, maybe she can fill your daughter in on the huge responsibility associated with early pregnancy (e.g., immature father who bails out of the relationship due to the stress involved; financial strain; inability to further education, etc.).
===> Here are the stats:
Teen pregnancy is bad for the mother...
· There are serious health risks for adolescents who have babies. Common medical problems among adolescent mothers include poor weight gain, pregnancy-induced hypertension, anemia, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and cephalopelvic disproportion. Later in life, adolescent mothers tend to be at greater risk for obesity and hypertension than women who were not teenagers when they had their first child.
· Teen pregnancy is closely linked to poverty and single parenthood. A 1990 study showed that almost one-half of all teenage mothers and over three-quarters of unmarried teen mothers began receiving welfare within five years of the birth of their first child. The growth in single-parent families remains the single most important reason for increased poverty among children over the last twenty years, as documented in the 1998 Economic Report of the President. Out-of-wedlock childbearing (as opposed to divorce) is currently the driving force behind the growth in the number of single parents, and half of first out-of-wedlock births are to teens. Therefore, reducing teen pregnancy and child-bearing is an obvious place to anchor serious efforts to reduce poverty in future generations.
· Future prospects for teenagers decline significantly if they have a baby. Teen mothers are less likely to complete school and more likely to be single parents. Less than one-third of teens who begin their families before age 18 ever earn a high school diploma. Only 1.5% earn a college degree by the age of 30.
Teen pregnancy is bad for the child...
· Children of teenagers often suffer from poor school performance. Children of teens are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade; they perform much worse on standardized tests; and ultimately they are less likely to complete high school than if their mothers had delayed childbearing.
· Children of teens often have insufficient health care. Despite having more health problems than the children of older mothers, the children of teen mothers receive less medical care and treatment. In his or her first 14 years, the average child of a teen mother visits a physician and other medical providers an average of 3.8 times per year, compared with 4.3 times for a child of older child-bearers. And when they do visit medical providers, more of the expenses they incur are paid by others in society. One recent study suggested that the medical expenses paid by society would be reduced dramatically if teenage mothers were to wait until they were older to have their first child.
· Children born to teen mothers suffer from higher rates of low birth weight and related health problems. The proportion of babies with low birth weights born to teens is 21 percent higher than the proportion for mothers age 20-24. Low birth weight raises the probabilities of infant death, blindness, deafness, chronic respiratory problems, mental retardation, mental illness, and cerebral palsy. In addition, low birth weight doubles the chances that a child will later be diagnosed as having dyslexia, hyperactivity, or another disability.
· Children of teen mothers often receive inadequate parenting. Children born to teen mothers are at higher risk of poor parenting because their mothers - and often their fathers as well - are typically too young to master the demanding job of being a parent. Still growing and developing themselves, teen mothers are often unable to provide the kind of environment that infants and very young children require for optimal development. Recent research, for example, has clarified the critical importance of sensitive parenting and early cognitive stimulation for adequate brain development. Given the importance of careful nurturing and stimulation in the first three years of life, the burden born by babies with parents who are too young to be in this role is especially great.
· Children with adolescent parents often fall victim to abuse and neglect. A recent analysis found that there are 110 reported incidents of abuse and neglect per 1,000 families headed by a young teen mother. By contrast, in families where the mothers delay childbearing until their early twenties, the rate is less than half this level - or 51 incidents per 1,000 families. Similarly, rates of foster care placement are significantly higher for children whose mothers are under 18. In fact, over half of foster care placements of children with these young mothers could be averted by delaying child-bearing, thereby saving taxpayers nearly $1 billion annually in foster care costs alone.
And bad for us all...
· Teen pregnancy costs society billions of dollars a year. There are nearly half a million children born to teen mothers each year. Most of these mothers are unmarried, and many will end up poor and on welfare. Each year the federal government alone spends about $9 billion to help families that began with a teenage birth.
· Teen pregnancy hurts the business community's "bottom line." Too many children start school unprepared to learn, and teachers are overwhelmed trying to deal with problems that start in the home. Forty-five percent of first births in the United States are to women who are either unmarried, teenagers, or lacking a high school degree, which means that too many children - tomorrow's workers - are born into families that are not prepared to help them succeed. In addition, teen mothers often do not finish high school themselves. It's not easy for a teen to learn work skills and be a dependable employee while caring for children.
· The U.S. still leads the fully industrialized world in teen pregnancy and birth rates - by a wide margin. In fact, the U.S. rates are nearly double Great Britain's, at least four times those of France and Germany, and more than ten times that of Japan.
A new crop of kids becomes teenagers each year. This means that prevention efforts must be constantly renewed and reinvented. And between 1995 and 2010, the number of girls aged 15-19 is projected to increase by 2.2 million.
You may want to share the above info with your daughter.
Stay in touch,
MarkMy Out-of-Control Teen