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Dear Gurustu - Changing Teen
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Dear Guru Stu,

I'm a single mother of a teenage daughter. Lately, my daughter has been ignoring her household duties, coming home late and neglecting her schoolwork. We've always had a good relationship, but suddenly she's a stranger to me. How can I recapture that special rapport that now seems to be gone?


Concerned Mom of a Teenager


Dear Concerned:

Raising a child in a two parent household is difficult enough (especially when they are teenagers); so kudos to you for doing it on your own.

As far as those chores are concerned, Steve Covey recants a wonderful story of how he helped his teenage son gain personal responsibility in taking care of the lawn in his book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," which I highly recommend reading.

But, what the heck, I also recommend you read my stuff…. So I'd be wasting space here if I didn't at least share some guruisms with you. After all, that is why you wrote to ME.

So here goes…

The act of raising children is "passing the torch"
In the beginning, children need everything from you. As they grow, they pick up all the tools they're going to use the rest of their lives. And it's not exactly like you give them responsibility over time (although you can play a very active role in that). Basically, kids TAKE over their own lives as they grow.

They are changing
Their bodies are changing; they are being influenced by things that they do not control, nor understand. It's one of the biggest adjustments they will make in their lives.

They are trying to find their way
As kids enter the fringe of adulthood, they are trying to define who they are. Every day is a discovery. There are amazing successes and huge disappointing failures… several times a day. They think they're going through it alone; they think no one else (especially YOU) understands.

The best thing for you to do is…

They have to get THROUGH it
So give it time. Remember, it took you time too, and you did get through it… so be patient.

Be there
Listen… don't just give them all your "wisdom." They think it's outdated and no longer applies anyway. So LISTEN more than you talk; ask questions; offer encouragement.

Sometimes they actually DO need to know you've been through it too.

Change with them
However difficult it might be, let go of the past. Trust them enough to start making their own decisions. Maybe you might just discover something new yourself… that your teenage daughter is turning into a beautiful woman… and your new relationship, though different, is equally as wonderful.


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Previous Letters
* Wacky Perception
* Not Yet Mended
* Left and Lost
* Losing More
* Totally Confused
* List All

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