Dealing with Worry
It's not wrong to worry about some things like her first serious relationship or her grades sliding in school. But it is essential to make sure you explore if the worry is real. Let's say you're hearing around town that a lot of kids are lying about going to the movies and going to a drinking spot instead. You worry about your daughter. Is she in the safe place you have been told she'd be in? This is a reasonable worry for a night, but if she's an honest girl who has proven her trust, it's not good to latch onto mere hypothetical possibilities. Your excessive worry might lead her to believe that you don't trust her, which can hurt your relationship with her.
Always remember, it's okay to just ask. Never be afraid to broach a subject with your daughter, but be sure to do it in an innocuous and non-accusatory way. Her answer may just take your worry away.
It's not good, either, to worry too much about her future. Easier said than done, but the reality is, if you've given her a good foundation and supported her, she's going to find her way, even if it is not the way you expected (like, say, as a pre-med student at Harvard). Sometimes the best thing parents can do is let go of their own rigid view of how their child's future must go and instead learn to enjoy seeing how she chooses her path in life. With all the crazy pressure around colleges today, this is not easy to do. But the parents who can just may find they learn something about themselves in the process.
Then again, it is not a good idea to live these years with your head in the sand. As you've read throughout this book and no doubt seen in life around you, there are more dangers and issues for our girls than ever before. Going into denial in these years might feel good for a while, but it's not the right choice. Instead, stay up-to-date not just on teen issues in general (as you are doing by reading this book) but in your own community as well.
Start or join a “parents of teen girls” support group. It does not have to be formal; just coffee or dinner once a month or so to swap notes and compare issues. You did it when your daughter was a baby. Do it again now.
It's okay, too, to share your “real” worries with her. You don't want her to leave a drink unattended at a party. You don't want her to get in a car with a drunk or even partially inebriated driver. You don't want her to have unprotected sex. While you cannot drill these worries into her, you can find ways to quietly yet clearly let your real worries be known. She might help you relax about them with her own set of standards. At the very least, you'll know that somewhere, deep down, you were heard by her. Sometimes that is all a real worry needs to ease off, if not go away, from your foremost thoughts.