My 17 year old daughter is rebellious and has a boyfriend!

The teenage years are challenging for both children and parents. This is also the age when parental guidance is replaced by peer approval. Children are being exposed to various cultures, values and upbringing styles through their interaction with their friends, the internet and social media. The lines of divide have blurred to create a rather ‘global culture’ for this young generation. This can be witnessed in how different festivals are adopted and celebrated by a person from other religions and cultures, which has brought about more acceptance.

However as adults and parents who have been brought up in a certain manner within the boundaries of their religious beliefs, cultural norms and family traditions and values your teen forming a separate and contrary identity can be quite devastating. Its fine to celebrate and participate in other traditions and festivals and its another thing when your child goes and imbibes values that are a complete opposite to what you hold dear to you.

For the child it might be difficult to comprehend what they are doing wrong and their parents explosive reaction, while for the parents it could mean losing respect and dignity in their social and family circles. One such mother had called me recently, sobbing about how her 17-year old daughter was in a relationship, which was unpalatable to them. Their daughter had disregarded their religion, their family values and was with someone totally against their wishes.

I have attempted to help this mother communicate in a manner that would create more receptive listening in their daughter and how as parents you can be more confident and clear in your communication.


1) Parents must explain to their children what their religious followings are, their culture, family values and expectations from their child. Parents must explain all this in a clear and precise manner rather than lectures and long-winded stories.

2) Set clear boundaries in a precise format with no room for ambiguity or negotiations. As a family set up firm boundaries with a soft centre. Example: You might be firm about what time your teen comes home, however you need to be flexible around how she dresses or does her hair. You need to know which boundaries are firm and which you can let go of.

3) State the consequences of breaking boundaries very clearly.Example: when you break the speed limit of 60km/hour you know you need to pay a fine of X amount. So it is clear in your mind that breaking a certain rule means facing the consequence of a fine – no matter who you are, what day it is or what your mood is.

4) Follow through with enforcing the consequences. Do not allow children to negotiate and get out of facing the consequences of wrong action otherwise they will feel that they can push the boundaries and escape the fines which will lead to more arguments at home.

5) Keep the communication lines open so that your teen feels encouraged to seek you and share their stuff with you. Always be there for your child with a listening ear and patient demeanor.

6) Maintain a home environment where that circle of love and respect is ever present to make your child feel secure no matter what. Children need to bespoken to with love and respect. Only when you model it while interacting with them that they will respond in the same manner.

If you are struggling as a parent and want the help of a neutral party to support you, somebody who can talk to your child and help you to build the bridges of communication based on love and respect to book your coaching session NOW!