Oct 26
Parenting Corner – My 14 year old is Mature Looking

Q:  I’m a worried parent! My 14 year old daughter is very mature looking for her age….and much older boys at school are asking her out on dates. 

A. Great question. Regardless of how mature your child appears, it’s important to know the logical side of the brain doesn’t develop until a child is in their mid-twenties.  This means you, as the adult, must guide her in responsible decision making.  Begin by having a conversation about her reputation – not only as it relates to dating older boys but age-appropriate attire, behavior when she is with her friends, and language/images/videos shared on social media.  Dealing with social media’s impact on reputation is a huge challenge since messages and memes spread fast and never go away.  Share stories about kids who lives have been negatively impacted by their reputation online.  Here is a recent article from NYTimes that touches on the subject – The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers.  The dialogue about reputation must be a regularly repeated message to help kids build the mental muscle and create healthy social habits on and offline.  NOTE: It’s helpful if this conversation begins in elementary school but it’s never too late.

Additionally, setting and following-through with standards for behavior are important.  For example, setting a reasonable curfew and establishing rules around her getting in a car with new drivers often impacts a child’s desire to hang out with older kids.  Remember the goal is not control;  it’s about helping her make appropriate decisions for her age.  Also giving her a choice as often as possible will serve the conversation; for example when asked out on a date her choices are she doesn’t go OR you drive and pick her up by 11:00 pm.  It’s not as cool when your Mom has to pick you up from a date.  The important message is you aren’t saying she can’t go; you are letting her know she can go under certain conditions and it’s her choice.  You can’t control who asks you daughter out but you can help guide her response to the request.

laughing Laura Treonze, serves as Chief Life Strategist with LMT Consulting, which helps executives and teams create massive success through self-awareness. Her life-changing approach has transformed individuals and families and has redefined the way non-profits and corporations “do” business.