From Dealing with a Strict Mom to Protecting a Daughter

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”Strict Mom, Is She Right?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I’m 15. When I was young, 11 or 12, my mother had two jobs and she let me stay out till midnight. Now she works at home and is strict with curfews. She doesn’t trust me to go out with my friends alone, there always has to be an adult with us. I hate my mother’s stupid rules. I wish it was like before when my mother wasn’t around. My friends’ parents aren’t strict. My mother says I should speak to a counselor for my bad behavior. I think she’s the one who needs help. What do you think?


Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Upset:

I can’t say that I disagree with your “stupid mom.” In fact, generally when children and parents are on opposite sides of the fence, so to speak, some form of intervention, be it parenting classes or counseling for example, is often a needed step.

That being said, children need to follow rules and ideally parents and children should sit down together and make these rules up. Then children know what is expected of them, and what the consequences will be for non-compliance. And of course, parents are likely to be tougher than children, in terms of their choice of rules and consequences.

As for curfew, I believe that on the weekend 10 o clock is late enough for a teenager to be out, unless there is a special function at which they are accompanied by an adult. On weekdays during the semester teenagers have no business being out, except for a special function. Parents need to know where their children are at all times and who they are with.

”Sweet Sixteen, How Do I Protect My Daughter?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My 16- (almost 17-) year-old daughter would like to ride in cars driven by her friends. I have heard that it’s safest if there is only the driver and one passenger, rather than a group in the car. I have concerns about her riding alone in a car with a boy. I would appreciate your thoughts about this.

Sweet Sixteen

Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Sixteen:

In my opinion, until one’s daughter is old enough to get a driver’s license and drive alone to and from whatever engagement her parents allow her to attend, most driving arrangements other being chaperoned by a parent or a responsible adult designated by the parents, are unsuitable. It is not a stretch of the imagination to see that parents are inviting trouble if they allow their teenage daughter to be in the car alone with a male, or with more than one other teenager.

Possibly, if a teenage girl has a female friend who is responsible and has driver’s license, that may be acceptable for a driving arrangement. However, the teenager’s parents would need to approve of this potential driver’s character as well as her family.

I believe it is also necessary for there to be a definite schedule for the driving — the teenager’s parents would need to know where she and the older girl are going, what they are going to do there, and how long they plan to be there. It is important that the parents set time limits on the experience.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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