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How can I help my daughter get over this difficult phase in her life?

Q: I have a daughter aged 17 who is studying in Bangalore in a co-ed school and stays in a hostel. Last year, she met another boy in a sports meet and was attracted towards him. They started talking on the phone and met about thrice. He stays in a flat with 2 other boys and goes out a lot and is quite independent. Last I heard was that he broke up with her and she was devastated. She lost a lot of hair and lost interest in everything. She is quite a mature girl and very sensitive. All this has affected her studies and she experimented with smoking saying that it relaxed her. She was caught and suspended from school for 3 days. Basically, she is a very obedient girl who does not break rules. The boy on the other hand has been suspended from his school many times and has been involved in a few brawls outside. They still continue to talk everyday but she now wants to stay in a flat along with a girl friend. She feels that life is passing by and she wants to experience as much as possible. She is a very bright girl but is not at all focused in her studies or her future. I feel that she is very obsessed with the boy and this is ruining the important years of her life. Next year she will be in the 12th. She is an only child and brought up by a single parent. She has stayed in the hostel for the past 3 years and got along quite well. I know that she is going through a difficult phase in her life, which will pass, but I would like her to get over it so that she does not have too many scars from it. She does tell me quite a few things but now she pushes me away saying that I don't understand her. I do not know what to do. I plan to arrange a counselling session for her with a psychologist who might put things in a different perspective. Kindly give names of psychologists in Bangalore. Please advise.

A:It is very important that your daughter concentrates on her studies till she finishes the 12th. I do not think that she should be moving out to a flat that she shares with a girl friend. She looks forward to the freedom, but may not be able to handle it. The hostel rules will at least keep her physically safe. Children do go through specific problems in adolescence, but normally, episodes like falling in and out of love do not generally leave scars. You should spend some time with her and explain your perspectives clearly. I know one person, who is a warm and sensitive person, who will be back from the US in a week or ten days. She will be able to give some preliminary help and if necessary, to suggest names of people your daughter can see. But all this will happen only if your daughter acknowledges that she needs help to sort herself out. In dealing with your daughter, be affectionate and firm. Even if she appears to resent your strictness, she will be grateful in the long run.

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