expert advice MORE
Should 14-Year-Old Talk to Boys on the Phone?
Q: My 14-year-old daughter thinks she is ready to talk to boys on the phone. In the past, she has had some physical experiences with boys. I don't think she is responsible enough to stop boys from talking inappropriately to her -- or maybe she just likes it! Many of my friends think I'm taking this too seriously. I told her maybe when she's 15, but now I'm not sure when. What do you think? Am I being unfair or unreasonable?
A: It appears that there are some greater issues than talking on the phone with which you and your daughter need to resolve. You say she has had some physical experiences with boys and you imply she likes the attention from boys. Perhaps the first place to start is by building up your relationship with your daughter, especially in the area of her sexuality. A good place for moms and daughters to get help in establishing a basis for talking about sexuality are the classes for parents and teens by Planned Parenthood. I strongly urge you to consider enrolling in these classes.
Talking on the phone is a privilege, not a right. Whether teens are talking to boys or girls on the phone, the rules should be the same, so I am hoping you have set up the guidelines in a family meeting, or at the very least in a calm discussion with your daughter. Those guidelines should include:
1) The hours that your daughter can receive calls. e.g. not after dinner, not after 8:00;
2) Telling you the first and last name of who called if you ask;
3) Talking for a limited time -- 15-20 minutes or less; and
4) Privacy for your daughter but with you overseeing the conversation in case she appears upset or confused by the call.
Trust your daughter, but use common sense and your intuition about what kind of conversations are taking place. If you answer the phone and someone wishes to speak with your daughter, always ask who is calling; get the last name if you don't know the child. Hopefully you daughter will trust enough to ask for your help if a caller is out of line.
More on: Expert Advice
Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.