My twelve-year-old daughter has been hanging out with a group of kids lately who I am not crazy about. The girls dress in very slutty clothes and they go to movies that are not appropriate for kids their age. When I question my daughter about where she is going she gets defensive and says, "Everyone does it. They come from good families so if their parents let them go, it must be okay." It's true they come from good families but our values are somewhat more strict. What should I do?
Old-Fashioned Mom (Am I?) in New York
There is nothing old-fashioned about a parent setting guidelines for her child's behavior, whether it be dress, entertainment or anything else. Children look to adults for both personal example and advice, even though, as adolescents, they would never want us to know it! If you have raised your daughter with certain values, she has them inside of her, even though right now she wants to be part of the crowd, which is natural.
She has a real dilemma because she wants to be with her friends and she probably knows deep inside that you are right in your values, especially if they have been imparted throughout her life not in a preachy way but in the natural course of daily living. How about taking her out for an afternoon of shopping and lunch and taking in a movie together which is enjoyable but meets your standards? Use that time also to talk and discuss these issues as a two-way street, not to tell her what she should do. Relax with her and enjoy yourself. Nothing is more wonderful for a teenaged girl than to discover that her mother can also be a good friend who knows how to listen and how to have fun too. You may discover that she can be a wonderful friend for you, too.