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Pubescent Priorities

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: How do we deal with our 13-year-old daughter, who has given up all extracurricular activities and is interested only in boys, how she looks, how popular she is, and being with her friends? We want her to have other interests and hobbies. What can we do?

A: Your daughter's behavior is very typical of 13-year-olds, but parents must be the ones to set the limits. Sit down with your daughter and discuss what is going on. Decide if you want her to get involved again in one or two extracurricular activities and let her choose which one(s). If she has developed new interests (drama, computers) in which she wasn't involved before, help her find a group to join.

Remember that you are the one who controls the telephone, computer, and television -- if you need to set time limits for those activities, do so now. You may also want to talk with the parents of your daughter's friends and decide on limits that you will enforce for the entire group.

Talk with your daughter's teachers and school counselor to make sure that her new interests are not affecting her grades or her school behavior. They may have other suggestions for you as well.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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