Why Is My Daughter Different From Other Teen Girls?
I had a conversation with a young father this week, and he asked me why his daughter is different from other teen girls.
A Conversation with a Young Father
Jean: Why do you think your daughter is different?
Dad: She is quiet and does not like to play with the other kids. When I ask her why, she says she doesn’t know why; she just likes being alone because she feels unhappy sometimes. I have one son and three daughters, and she will not play with all three of the other kids at the same time.
Jean: Will she play with you or your wife?
Dad: She will play with me or her mother but not both of us at the same time.
Jean: What does your wife say about it?
Dad: She said to just leave her alone. She will grow out of it.
Jean: How old is she?
Dad: She is fourteen.
Jean: Has she been like this all her life?
Dad: Pretty much.
Jean: How are her grades?
Dad: She is an A, B, student.
Jean: Can I meet her and talk with her and then come back to you and your wife together?
Jean: Oh, how is her health?
Dad: She complains about headaches sometimes. Her doctor says he didn’t find any reason for the headaches and he sent her to an eye doctor. The eye doctor is starting her off with contacts, for now. Her gym teacher says she plays a super volleyball game.
Jean: Is this Saturday a good time for me to meet your wife and have a talk with your daughter alone?
Jean: Great, I will meet with you and your wife the following Saturday.
Meeting with the Parents
When I met with the parents, I talked with Mom first. These parents were very easy to talk to.
Mom: Was it easy for you to get her to talk?
Jean: It took her a minute to decide if I was the enemy. When she realized I was not there to judge her, she and I had a good talk. We talked about her interest in volleyball, skiing, and flying a plane. She is smart. I saw no signs of her being any different from any other children her age. We as parents feel that we know our children. However, it takes more to get to know some children than it takes for others. We make the mistake of comparing our children to each other. Children do not always reach their intended age developmental stages. And we will address that as we move along.
Here is where we will start.
Jean: First of all, I suggest you purchase my book The Truth About Parenting at www.truthaboutparenting.com and have her read it. Actually, my book will be a great book for the family to read and have a discussion. You have a twelve-year-old, fourteen-year-old, sixteen-year-old, and seventeen-year-old children. This book will be excellent for your family. Also, I would like for you to start to have a family meeting every week or at least twice a month. The meeting will help with some other concerns you may have with all the children.
Dad: So give us an idea on how to get started with a family meeting.
Jean: Ask everyone to write a poem, and use that for an ice breaker.
Mom: What do we know about writing poems?
Jean: A poem is writing about something you like and how you feel about it.
Jean: The book will answer the question on how to start a meeting and many other questions for you.
Also, talk to her about things that she really likes a lot. She shows a lot of interest in water skiing, which is something the whole family can do. That sounds like so much fun. Make sure the other children do not feel the meeting is all about the fourteen-year-old.
I understand your concerns about her behavior. I feel that because of the high rate of teen suicides, we must be as sure as we can about what is on our children’s minds. So, pay close attention to her actions and what she says and feels about whatever you all are engaged in.
Parents, an open line of communication is imperative!
The book can also be found at: