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Raising a Daughter

By Chris Theisen

Raising a daughter is one of the most delightful and rewarding experiences anyone can hope for. Girls tend to be less active, less aggressive, and less mischievous than their male counterparts. Sure, they tend to be more emotional at times and can be bossy with their friends, but I'd take that any day over the alternative.

As wonderful and gratifying as it is raising a daughter, there comes a time when that lovable little girl transforms into a teenager. That's when the pleasure of raising a beautiful little girl suddenly turns into the anguish of raising a temperamental teenager. Many new issues arise during the teen years. Dating, driving, peer pressure and preparing for the future are just a few of the issues facing teens and their parents during the teen years.

Just how much make-up should a teenage girl be allowed to wear? Is it okay for a teen girl to wear clothes that might be considered provocative? Should a teen girl be allowed to date a boy that is more than two years older than her? What should her curfew be?

These are just a few of the issues that the parents of teenager girl are confronted with each day and the answers to each of these questions will vary considerably depending upon the personality, character, and maturity of the girl in question. There are many fourteen year old girls out there that demonstrate a higher level of responsibility and maturity than their eighteen year old counterparts yet aren't afforded the same privileges simply because of their lower age.

As a parent, it is important to acknowledge and reward maturity, responsibility, and good character. This can sometimes be difficult, especially because parents tend to punish negative behavior more often than they reward positive behavior. Most parents, it seems, would rather ground their daughter for missing curfew by ten minutes instead of rewarding her with an extra fifteen minutes since she was responsible enough to come home on time during the previous two months. As a teen, I'd be a bit discouraged.

Here are a few ways to promote maturity, responsibility, and good character from your teen daughter:

  • Notice and acknowledge these positive traits whenever possible.
  • Loosen up on restrictions when these positive qualities are demonstrated.
  • Avoid focusing so much on the negative behavior and try to focus more on the positive.
  • Make sure the consequence fits the behavior. Avoid giving major consequences for minor infractions.
  • Be a positive role model. You may not notice, but your teen daughter is watching you and learning a lot by doing so.
  • It's never too late to teach positive values and good character, though the sooner you begin the better.
  • Encourage your daughter to do volunteer work in the community. You might also want to get her involved in a pro-social club, group, or activity (even athletics).
  • Become connected to your teen. Spend time and develop a trusting rapport with her.
  • Talk to her about the issues that affect her: dating, driving, peer pressure, etc. Don't lecture her but instead provide her with useful advice, including your own personal experiences.
  • Talk, talk, talk! Find out what thoughts, concerns, hopes, and feelings are influencing your daughter each day.

    About the Author

    Chris Theisen has written several articles about child and teen behavior and is the creator of The Parent Coach Plan, a comprehensive discipline plan for parents. His websites offer behavior contracts, behavior charts, and a wealth of information and advice related to parenting and discipline.


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