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"We found out she was drinking by reading her texts..."

Hi B.,

Please look for these arrows throughout your email for my responses: ===>

Hi Mark, 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.

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===> 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?

===> Given the severity of the situation, you have permission to "snoop".

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.).


Stay in touch,

Mark Hutten, M.A.


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