Belfast Telegraph

Disgusted by teen daughter’s diary

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona Hurley answers your problems

Dear Fiona, I recently found my 16-year-old’s diary and was shocked when I read she’s been on dates with a boy and has allowed him to kiss and touch her.

We’re extremely strict with her and have grounded her indefinitely but are afraid the next step with this boy is sexual intercourse.

We don’t know what we’ve done for her to turn into this person.

Mother, Coleraine

Dear Mother,

It's difficult for parents to strike a healthy balance but they need to give direction while also giving adolescents the freedom to experience life themselves.

When the freedom to make choices is threatened, people automatically experience a direct reaction against the rules and this motivates them to indulge in forbidden behaviour.

Your daughter’s strict upbringing may become counter-productive.

Teenage rebellion’s more commonplace in excessively restrictive environments than in more flexible family set-ups that encourage personal accountability.

Be careful not to push your daughter too hard as she may feel overly controlled and become everything you’ve tried to protect her from. And although you won’t relish this, it’s important to advise your daughter about contraception to ensure she’s protected from unplanned pregnancy.

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