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Questions from Readers: Dating, Divorce and Foster homes

Question

My daughter is entering her senior year in high school and is a great kid. She is an outstanding student, has lots of friends and will attend college next year. At home, she has never presented us with any serious problems.

My one concern is that she has little interest in dating. I’ve tried to talk with her about this but I quickly get shut down. I’ve also wondered if maybe she just isn’t romantically attracted to boys. Should I do anything?

Answer

There are lots of good reasons why your daughter may not be interested in dating in high school. Since she is already planning on attending college, she may be reluctant to get involved in a relationship that will likely end in several months. She may view dating as a distraction to her many academic and school activities.

Many teens are just not emotionally ready to date in high school, and prefer to wait until college. If your daughter is attracted to girls rather than guys, she may not want to deal with those issues at this time of her life.

Offer her reassurance that her decision is normal rather than pressure her to date. As always, let her know that you are always there for her if she ever wants to talk.

 

Question

My parents fight all the time. I know they are only staying together two more years until I leave for college. I hate being at home. Should I tell them to get a divorce?

Answer

Whether your parents stay married is their decision, not yours. It’s inappropriate for you to tell them to get a divorce, but you should discuss the impact that the family turmoil is having on you. Don’t pick sides, offer advice, or threaten them in any way. Simply tell them how you feel living in a home with constant arguments. Don’t forget to reassure them that you love them.

Question

I’ve been a foster parent for many years, but I don’t know what to tell my eleven-year-old foster daughter who constantly asks why she is not living at home. Her biological parents both have serious drug problems, and have been in and out of jail for years. She loves her parents and I don’t want to say anything that makes her parents look bad.

Answer

Speak with the child’s caseworker and together have a discussion with your foster daughter. You can tell your daughter about her parents’ drug problems and how it has affected their ability to be good parents. Her frequent questioning suggests a great deal of anxiety and insecurity about this issue. I suspect she is most concerned about whether she will ever live with her parents again and if not, who will take care of her.

This is an awfully tough issue for kids, and therapy may be very helpful for a youngster dealing with these issues.

 

Next Week: Advice For New Classroom Teachers

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