Saturday, May 18, 2024

Doctor Love: Concerned Parent


Readers, email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
I am the mother of a fourteen-year-old girl who is a pretty good kid. She does well in school, is happy and compassionate and has a large circle of friends. Last weekend I was in town late in the evening and I happened to see three of her friends. They were accompanied by a much older boy and they were all very drunk. One girl in particular was being physically supported by the boy and her friend. I approached them and they were embarrassed and they did let me send them home in a taxi. When I casually asked my daughter if she engages in this behavior, her surprise told me that she was telling the truth when she said no. She has a curfew and we have a very open relationship as far as discussions about sex, drugs and drinking. My problem is now I worry about her being influenced by her friends, but I don’t know if I should tell her to stay away from them. I also don’t know if I should speak to the girls’ mothers. My husband thinks I should let it go for our daughters’ sake and I am inclined to agree except I would feel terrible if something happened to these girls and I stayed silent. Help me do what is best for my daughter.
/s/ Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent,
It sounds as though you are already doing what is best for your daughter. Keeping the lines of communication open is the foundation to allowing her to trust you with any problem she might encounter. Tell her what you saw and express your concerns for her. Be sure to let her know that you are there for her if she is ever in a situation that she needs to escape, like being downtown late at night with three drunken friends and an older boy. Make sure she always has taxi money, minutes on her phone so she can call you and be understanding when she makes mistakes. If you support her she will have the confidence to make good decisions in tough situations. Don’t keep your daughter from these girls, there is the chance that she could influence them and help them make better choices.
As far as telling the other mothers, if you want to remain anonymous you could speak to the school councilor or your church minister and ask their intervention on this issue and ask them to keep your name out of any discussion. This protects your daughter from any backlash that could occur, and sets your mind at ease.

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