The Cure for 13 is 14

Jul 12, 2011

You’re not the worst parent in the whole world, even if you’re the only one who won’t let your teenager go to the party.


Michelle Mitchell is a former teacher who has recently published the book “What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell Their Parents”. She was interviewed on Life Matters yesterday.

One of the foundational things that teenage girls stop telling their parents is that they love them. The positive feedback “Mummy I Love You” suddenly disappears – our daughters become masters of criticism.

As often stated, Mitchell says it is not the parents job to be the teenagers best friend. Teenagers are not mini-adults – you still need to practice ‘deliberate parenting’.

Parents no longer know what’s going on – in the past, phone calls came to the house. With mobile phones, teens are directly connected to each other.

Mitchell says it can be harder for parents to stay connected to their teenage daughter’s ‘inside stories’, beneath the cover that is displayed to the world. Be prepared to see past the cover that says “I hate you” to what’s happening inside.

“You’re jobs not to trust them, but protect them”. When Michelle asks teenagers would they trust themselves, they look at her like she is a moron.

Teenagers peer relationships are temptuous. Parents need to be the one place where there is consistent love and consistent rules.

Mitchell says you will not know everything that happens to your daughters – but remember that knowing will not change how you parent. You need to know when to let things go.

As your daughters hit the speed bump of teenage years and fly off on a wild ride, remember that the cure for 13 is 14. And the cure for 14 is 15.

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