Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness
8 9 10
Comment: The response was rapid, concise and much appreciated
Subject: Disciplining A 15 Year Old Stepdaughter
Question: My 15 year old stepdaughter ignores any effort to organize her room,and refuses to participate in any high school activities which might help her get into college. She treats me as an outsider who has no authority whatever. Her mother (my wife) is a full time worker who rarely exerts any discipline.
Answer: Dear Allen:
Well it sounds like you have a teenager living in your house. You didn't mention any real devastating issues with your teen however you do use the word authority which gives me the idea you maybe relating to her on a level which is not working for you.
Teenagers really want you to set boundaries however they will rebel if someone tries to control them. Let's start with the bedroom. If she is not hoarding food and rodents in there then just shut the door and don't pay any attention. Eventually it will get cleaned as she brings her friends over. As for high school activities. As long as she is doing well in the classes she does take then be happy. While it might be best for her to do otherwise you certainly won't get anywhere by forcing her to do what you want her to do.
I suggest spending more time on the relationship and getting to know her better. Teens are in the flux of massive changes both hormonal, physically and emotionally. The more she gets to know you as a person and understands why you want the things for her that you do the better she can make her own decisions.
Teens are completing two developmental tasks. They are learning to socialize first with the same sex friends and then with opposite sex friends. The other developmental task is to separate and become independent adults. They separate by making their own choices and some children who feel they are overpowered or overwhelmed by their parents will make decisions in opposition to their parents just so they can feel they are becoming adults. The trick is to give her several possibilities you can live with and every opportunity to make decisions on their own that they can also live with the consequences.
It sounds to me if these are the worst of your complaints with your daughter that you have already done a really good job as parents. Enjoy your fruits!
M Kay Keller
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: My 15 year old stepdaughter's Mother(my wife)has been quite neglected by her mother during the last 7 years, because her Mother needed to work and had to go through a divorce. Her birth father has paid no attention to the stepdaughter and lives in another state 300 miles away. Stepdaughter is continually sloppy, refusing to pick up in her room or make her bed, and does not respond to simple family requests. She also defiantly uses her cell phone at late hours to communicate with a boy friend, despite her Mother's and stepfather's insistence that she refrain from doing this.
Answer: Dear Allen:
Well my answer about the bedroom is still the same shut the door. PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY.
As for the cell phone. She can either stay off of it during nighttime hours or she loses it. Turn it off if you have to. Cell phones are a privilege and not a right.