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How should I handle my daughter having a boyfriend?

Q: How should I handle my adopted daughter who is 17 years old? I was separated when she was 9 years old. I found that she has a boyfriend when she was in 1st year high school. I gave her an ultimatum that if she continues that kind of attitude, she'll have to stop going to school. But her relationship didn't stop and now she's about to enroll in college. I am having second thoughts about enrolling her. I am thinking of stopping her schooling to give her a lesson. What is the best way to handle this situation?

A:First and foremost, you will have to think about the child as your daughter, not as your adopted daughter. Many parents who adopt seem to come upon some problems when the child reaches adolescence, because at the back of their mind, they think some genetic factors are manifesting. The very same problems happen to biological parents. You should not deny her an education as a punishment for having a boy as a friend. What lesson will you teach her? With nothing to do and a lot of resentment at having her movements curbed, she is likely to have more serious problems. Talk to her about herself and her growing up and the responsibility she has to herself for her own future. All parents have to do this, not surrender their responsibility with militaristic ultimatums! Times have changed since we were at this age, whether we like it or not! Youngsters have a mind of their own and will only accept what they consider reasonable. But they need your affection and firmness and consistency. They need discussions to clarify their confusions. An authoritarian approach with rule-quoting alone will not help the situation. At the same time, you have to protect her from drugs and promiscuity, and have patience in doing so. If you handle this sensitive period well, you will have a daughter and friend for life. Talk to a Counsellor or Psychologist, if you need methods of handling the situation.

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