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My teenage daughter has found a boyfriend

Dear Michael,

I am a father of a teenage girl and we have always been very close. The other day she told me that she has found a boyfriend. I’m not happy about it at all. What do I do?

How do I let her know that men are dangerous without affecting our close relationship? She is 16 years old. Thank you.

John.

Dear John,

To be a father of a teenage girl, what a milestone! Congratulations, and you should consider yourself blessed to even know what she is up to. Your daughter has honoured you with the privilege of knowing that she has found a boyfriend.

She is living up to her part of being ‘very close’ with you. Treat that with care, and I suppose that is why you are seeking counsel. You want to rightly protect your precious daughter and still show her that you trust and respect her.

By this point, you have had plenty of opportunity to instill in her what you believe are the values in life and critical elements of conduct.

In other words, you have been preparing her for a time such as this. Or have you? If you have, then it is time to restrict yourself to the corner of the ring giving guidance, tactical advice, and helping her to heal from the inevitable knocks of life.

If you have trained her well, those knocks will not be fatal but invigorating. If you haven’t spent time training her, then the going might be tougher, but need not lead to her destruction.

Understand what she might be going through at this point of her life. Read books, consult your sisters, aunts or female friends if you do not have a wife.

You need to undergo a crash course in relating to today’s teenage girl, and then put your best foot forward in making yourself available to her.

Making yourself available in part means putting aside your personal interest, wants, feelings and being empathetic. It also means that you do as much as and possible to allow her to come and confide in you.