My teenage daughter faced some problems I never had to deal with and some that have plagued teens since the dawn of time. Dealing with the tough topics fell to me, as a single mother.
Sex and teenage pregnancy
The county I live in has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States. In 2012, 44 out of every 1,000 teenage girls gave birth,
I approached this topic head on. Before she turned 13-years old, I told her about sex and the dangers of unprotected sex. We talked about birth control and abstinence as the only 100-percent effective form of birth control.
Two years later, I felt another talk would benefit both of us. We sat together, and I asked:
- What goals she had in life and how she planned to achieve those goals
- If she thought she would achieve those goals if she had a baby
- If baby would change her life
- Her to describe how a baby would make life better or worse
I listened and gave my opinions and we agreed she would not get pregnant. That meant a trip to the doctor for birth control a year later.
Drug and alcohol use
My daughter began smoking marijuana in her early teens. We had discussed the dangers of drugs several times through the years and she always said she would never try drugs or alcohol.
I caught her and talked about the effect it has on young brains. She said she would stop, but did not.
- I explained how she was unemployable because she could not pass a drug test.
- I refused to take her for a driver’s license, because I did not want her driving while high.
- I grounded her and lectured her
- I confiscated her stash many times
She stopped, finally, stating she finally heard what her boyfriend and I kept saying.
Setting guidelines and following through
Though I do not feel I won every battle, I am not a grandma. I approach the tough topics head on with facts and examples to support my viewpoints.
- I set specific rules that cover the entire situation so she will not use my words against me.
- I tell her the punishment for breaking rules and follow through when she breaks a rule.
- I focus on the topic and do not let her lead the conversation away from the uncomfortable.
Asking her opinions and interpretations of a topic before I talk works the best for me. Knowing her thoughts makes it easier to correct misconceptions she may have and I know if she has faced the situation I want to discuss.