Unfortunately time has not slowed and your baby girl has become a teenager — and you’re not quite sure how to grow with her. On one hand she’s still a child, your child, and she needs to follow your rules. You certainly will not buy her space jam e-liquid and allow her to vape in your home, but you can’t keep treating her like a kindergartner either. What can you do as a parent to acknowledge to your baby that you understand that she’s almost an adult?
Let Her Experiment
Clothes, hair, jewelry or shoes — it seems like every day your teenager comes home with some weird new trend. The human brain does an awful lot of development in the teenage years, so do what you can to help her find her way. Instead of forcing her to wear the clothes and accessories that you choose for her, allow her to express herself.
- If she wants to dye her hair purple, buy her a package of wash-out dye to see how she likes it. Her hair will grow back, so why not let her indulge?
- One day she might look like a Disturbed roadie, the next she might look like a Catholic schoolgirl. Don’t give her too much grief about her ever-changing appearance. She’s trying her best to find her own style, just let it be.
- Allow experimentation — but also draw boundaries. She might think that her neon-pink corset from Hot Topic is appropriate schoolwear, but if you don’t approve then you have every right to tell her she needs to change. You might be sympathetic, but you’re still her parent.
Extend Her Curfew
Of course school needs to come before socialization, so if she has homework due then it’s a different story. However, if she has always proven herself trustworthy and honest in the past, why are you clinging to the “MUST BE HOME BY 7:00” rule?
- Make exceptions. Sometimes movies run late, traffic happens and she might be late. As long as she is checking in with you and being honest about her location then you have no reason to doubt her.
- If you’re not comfortable extending her curfew by hours all at once, start small. Stretch it by half an hour every week.
She will always be your little girl, and you wish that you could slow down the hands of time and keep her paused at the age of dimples and Barbie dolls. Show her that you understand she’s a teenager now, and let your rules grow with her.