DEAR HARRIETTE: I thought that my daughter and I had a great, open relationship where she talked to me about if not everything, most things. We have clear rules about what she can and cannot do, and there are checks and balances to ensure that she is following directions. With that, I have given her a lot more freedom since she is in high school and learning how to become independent.
Well, I just learned that she has been lying to me about how she spends some of her after-school time. It all just came to a head because she was in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation between another teenager and his absentee dad. I had no idea that any of this was going on.
I want my daughter to continue to learn how to figure out life for herself, but there must be consequences for her lying. If I can’t trust that she is telling me the truth about where she is and what she is doing, I have to limit her extracurricular activity. I’m not sure how to do that, though, since both my husband and I work. Any ideas? -- Protecting My Child
DEAR PROTECTING MY CHILD: First, let your daughter know the severity of her lying to you and how it put her in a dangerous situation. Make sure she understands that she made bad decisions when she did not communicate clearly with you or follow the agreed-upon guidelines. Next, put an app on her phone and yours that will track her, and require that she keep it on. Popular apps like this are Life360 and FindFriends. I’m sure there are others.
Enroll her in organized, supervised after-school activities. This is why having a sport or a musical instrument or some other engagement multiple times per week after school is popular -- it keeps teens occupied while under adult supervision.
For right now, ground your daughter for lying. Make it clear that lying is unacceptable. If she continues to lie, she will lose the privilege of hanging out with her friends after school and on weekends. To supervise that, you may need to hire a “baby sitter” for a while. She will hate that, but having someone to watch her for the few hours before you get home from work may be required.