4. Telling her secrets. If she trusts you with information, guard it. If you promised not to tell Dad or Grandma, don’t. Because if you tell the little secrets and she finds out, she won’t come to you and tell you the big secrets.
5. Caving in on punishments. It may be inconvenient for you to ground her from using the car and then cart her around town. Do it. No matter how difficult it makes your life and schedule. She needs to know that there are consequences for her actions and that you are willing to inconvenience yourself in order to make her see through those consequences. This is how she learns boundaries – with her peers and herself. Punishment is reinforcement of the boundaries that you, the parent, create to help her grow. If she thinks that your boundaries and punishments are fluid or optional what does that teach her about the real world where they will not be? Seeing those punishments through, no matter how difficult, will adequately prepare her for life outside your home.
6. Gossiping. She learns from you that it is okay to talk about other people, judge, criticize and swap stories. And she hears what you say about her friend’s mom. And she tells. Be careful about what you say in front of her because you are teaching her how to communicate – with peers, colleagues and bosses.
7. Being afraid to say “no”. It’s okay to tell her no. Because sometimes, you just want to have family night. And she is a part of your family. It doesn’t matter that she has a job and pays her own bills. She lives in your house. You make the rules. Letting her always get her way because it’s easy or you don’t want to disappoint her does her no favors. You know what is best – if your gut tells you she shouldn’t go to the party then you are probably right. Trust your instincts. You’d rather have her safe and mad at you. I promise.