We've teamed up with our sister magazine Woman's Own and their counsellor Emma Marlin to solve your relationship problems. This week she helps a woman who worries about her daughter's relationship with her friends.
Q My 14-year-old daughter has more drama in her life than a season of EastEnders. One minute she loves her friends, the next she's not speaking to them. They text messages to each other all night and day and some of the messages can get quite nasty! What can I say or do to get through to her when all her friends are acting the same way?
- Elise, Buckinghamshire
You're not alone in trying to work out when to step in and when to stay clear of your teenager's dramas. Hopefully these three steps will help...
Step 1. Listen to her, but don't get involved in the nitty gritty detail. If you feel you need to say something, let her know how sad and disappointed you are to hear she is sending/receiving so many messages and suggest that making a phone call can often sort things out faster than 100 text messages.
Step 2. Instant messaging (IMing) makes it much easier to write something nasty than to say it to a person's face. Stress that you want to support your daughter so that she can resolve conflicts and issues on her own wherever possible, but that you won't hesitate to approach other parents or her form tutor if you feel she and her friends are bullying each other.
Step 3. I recommend you read Help! My Teenager is an Alien: The Everyday Situation Guide for Parents by Sarah Newton. It's loaded with practical information and down-to-earth advice about how to manage the fine line between parent/friend during these rollercoaster years.