Can teens be trusted?

Dear Parent24

My 15 year old daughter wants to go to clubs and bars but is forbidden by us as we feel that she should wait until she is 17. She feels that we have no right to limit her movements, says we don't trust her and becomes extremely nasty and aggressive. She says she hates us, can't wait to leave home, and is only nice to people who give her what she wants. We ground her and confiscate her phone for rudeness and disobedience. We refuse to be blackmailed or bullied, but the more we discipline her, the worse she gets.
-    Liza

Answer from Parent24 teen expert, Megan de Beyer:

Congratulations that you are setting appropriate and firm boundaries. Teenagers need boundaries especially involving activities that will harm them. She is reacting like any strong willed adolescent girl in the throes of trying to assert her need for freedom. This is the biggest struggle for all parents. How much freedom vs. how much restriction. Freedom needs to come with responsibility.

Right now your daughter is unable to be responsible for her emotional well being and for sensible decisions. This is clear by her reactive, moody and destructive emotional display towards those who care and love her. Therefore the adults in her life need to become responsible for her until she can maturely begin to take the reins of her own life.

One thing that you should be proud of is that you have a teen doing what she should be doing: trying to make her own decisions, asserting her will and communicating her feelings and opinions clearly. She will need to learn how to now regulate her emotions and consider others before she gains her full rights to adult life. Possible reconsider the way you are disciplining and talking to her. Empathise more without giving in and don’t get caught acting like her!

What our bloggers say

Do you know where your teen is?’ asked Parent24 blogger Philip.

These were some replies:

‘My kids - 17yr old boy and 13yr old daughter - are not allowed to go to venues like that until they are 18. Instead we encourage friends to visit at each other’s homes, or pizza and a movie at the Mall . I made these rules quite clear when they were younger and it's not negotiable. There are too many risks especially with girls.’ Madmom

‘My Mum was less strict with me and would take me to and pick me up from certain clubs when I was under 18. She did this because she wanted to know where I was and what I was doing. But so much has changed. Drugs are far more available and teens are far more risqué. I do not envy your situation.  Good luck.’ Damsailor

‘Hello, I agree with madmom. My husband temped as a bouncer for several nightclubs and he says booze and drugs were and are freely available never mind the predator older men! What he saw underage children  getting up to and involved in would make your hair curl! They can wait, enjoy being young and carefree and when they are young adults they can do things young adults do.’ Yvette

Should teens be given more freedom or are they not to be trusted further than you can throw them? Answer in the comment box, or mail your thoughts to

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