How Can I Keep Peace With My Teenager?

Question: Dear Luise: I went to check on my 13 yr. old daughter and her 3 male friends and her girlfriend  in the garage playing with boxes from our move making a fort. I opened the door and the lights were off and they were walking around poking each other with sticks. I asked them what are you doing in here with the lights off don’t play in the dark it looks funny and opened the door and said leave it like that. she said I embarrassed her assuming they were gonna make out or something and now her friends don’t want to come over what did i do and what should i have done. I want her friends to feel welcomed in my home. I also asked for the kids parents phone numbers so I can check on mine when at their houses again mine was outraged. L.

Answer: Dear L.: It’s often very hard to please a teen, especially when her friends are involved in the decisions you have to make and the rules you have to enforce. You have every right to ban playing in the garage in the dark with the door closed and to ask to have your daughter’s friends parents phone numbers but you are not going to be liked for any of it.

There was probably a better way to intervene…like inviting them all in for a treat and then telling your daughter later, in private, that it was not OK and how you could be held responsible for condoning it.

Kids of that age are starting to become self-directed and often resist (and are embarrassed by) parental intervention…but that doesn’t mean they have the ability to monitor their lives very well. That’s your job; no matter what. Blessings, Luise

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