Parent Forum

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August 2004
A New School Year of Parenting Challenges

by Annie Fox, M.Ed.

Welcome to the new school year and may your sons and daughters grow in positive directions while they enjoy lots of academic and social success. Welcome also to my new online Parents Forum. Studies have shown that the more involved parents are in their student’s school the better those students do. We’re here to strengthen the home-school connection as we strengthen the connection between you and your child.

"Effective parenting of middle and high school students is one of the most important and challenging jobs there is. We’re offering a place to come together in an online parenting education and support network."

Let me introduce myself. I’m Annie Fox. I’m an educator and a writer on teen issues. I’ve also been an online counselor for teens for the past 7 years.

We all know how challenging it is to be a parent of an adolescent. (As a parent of a 25 year old daughter and a 19 year old son, my husband and I have been through the teen years… twice!)

Unlike parents of young children, who have many opportunities to talk about parenting issues, parents of middle and high schoolers often feel isolated. They may doubt their parenting decisions, especially when their son or daughter swears that “No one else’s parents treat them this way!” Coming together and creating a parent support network is what this website is all about.

Every month, starting in early September 2004, we’ll post a new article focusing on tips for successful parenting. We’ll cover issues like:

  • Improving parent-teen communication
  • Teaching respect and responsibility at home
  • Raising kids who care about others
  • Dealing with sibling rivalry
  • Easing the conflicts in blended families
  • Making and keeping agreements with your teen
  • Eliminating the homework wars
  • Helping teens balance their social life and academics
  • Family Meetings

…and lots more.

In addition to the parenting articles, we’ll be providing an Ask Annie feature where you can send your parenting questions directly to me. We’ll post the letters (anonymously, of course) with my responses, so that we can all learn to be more effective parents.

For now, I’ll leave you with this recent email:

Letters From Parents

“Should I let a 17 year old boy date my 13 year old?”

Dear Annie,

I really need some advice before I make a decision regarding my 13 year old daughter and the 17 year old boy whom she likes. He calls many times during the day — including always at 7 am and 11 pm — every day, brings her gifts and flowers. I don’t think it is appropriate for a boy that age to be interested in someone 13. My daughter says they are “just friends, not dating” and that he is her best friend. She refuses to end the relationship. I know I cannot watch her 24/7. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Worried Mom

 

Dear Worried Mom,

You’re right to be concerned. It’s your responsibility to keep your daughter safe. It feels questionable for a 17 year old boy to be “just friends” with a 13 year old girl, but the “many calls during the day” the gifts, flowers, etc, are clear signs that this boy is romantically attached to your daughter. You need to tell your daughter how you feel and let her know that this is going to end. Don’t be afraid to set limits and stick to them. You are the adult here! If she continues to “refuse” to end the relationship, then you talk with the boy and tell him that it’s over. You do not want him calling emailing, or visiting your daughter any more. And you can tell him why. This is your child and you don’t need anyone’s permission to do what you believe is in her best interests. I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie

Got a parent-teen problem you need help with?

Click here to Ask Annie

 

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